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The Best and Worst Menu Items at Moe's Southwest Grill

These custom-made Tex-Mex favorites can keep your diet on track.
Moe's southwest grill restaurant

The moment you step into a Moe's Southwest Grill and hear the cheerful shouts of "Welcome to Moe's!" from every staff person in earshot, you can't help but feel excited to eat at this established Tex-Mex chain. Catering to all palates, the Moe's Southwest Grill menu offers burritos, tacos, and more for anyone looking for quick and excellent meals with a south-of-the-border flair. With so many entrees to choose from and a range of customizable ingredients, building the perfect meal can seem daunting.

In order to create the healthiest items in each menu category, Eat This, Not That! consulted with Eat Clean Bro's very own Hillary Cecere, MS and RDN, on how to concoct the best entree items when you eat at Moe's. Since the customer gets to decide what ingredients go into their meals, there isn't a preset menu option in each category. Luckily, Hillary helped us craft the healthiest and least healthy Moe's Southwest Grill menu selections to help anyone wanting to eat smart. Read on to find out how to construct the best burrito or taco from the Moe's Southwest Grill menu.

Burrito

Best: Whole grain tortilla with steak, pinto beans, quinoa, diced onions, jalapenos, cilantro, pico de gallo and shredded lettuce

best burrito deconstructed
Courtesy of Moe's Southwest Grill
635 calories, 17 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 1,241 mg sodium, 94 g carbs (24 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 37 g protein

"Go for the whole grain tortilla and more fresh veggies to reduce calories, increase fiber and add nutrition," Cecere says.

This wholesome burrito keeps your diet on track for 2020 and guarantees you won't pack on the pounds. With 635 calories, you can feel confident that you won't overeat and 37 grams of protein helps you feel full all day. Keep this burrito on your radar when you want to eat healthily.

Worst: Flour Tortilla with mojo chicken, black beans, cilantro-lime rice, sour cream, shredded cheese and queso

worst burrito deconstructed
Courtesy of Moe's Southwest Grill
1,133 calories, 55 g fat (24 g saturated fat), 2,273 mg sodium, 120 g carbs (13 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 47 g protein

If you ever need to load up on calories, mojo chicken, shredded cheese, and queso are a surefire way to overload your calorie count for days. This burrito packs in more calories than four McDonald's hamburger and if you need to stick to a 2,000 calorie diet, this burrito easily throws you over the edge. With almost a teaspoon of salt packed in, skip this option next time you're from the Moe's Southwest Grill menu.

Bowls

Best: Organic tofu, pinto beans, seasoned rice, cilantro, diced tomato, diced cucumbers, shredded lettuce, guacamole and a lime wedge

best bowl deconstructed
Courtesy of Moe's Southwest Grill
607 calories, 16 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 993 mg sodium, 99 g carbs (19 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 28 g protein

When you need to find a way to keep to a healthy eating plan, skipping the tortilla can do wonders to maintain your nutrition intake. When you crave some Tex-Mex flavor and want to do your body a favor, this bowl keeps you on track.

"My favorite way to reduce calories without feeling like I'm missing something is to add flavor and texture," Cecere says. "The fresh cilantro, tangy lime, crunchy cucumbers, and creamy guac are all nutrient-dense toppings that will leave you feeling satisfied!"

Worst: Mojo chicken, black beans, cilantro-lime rice, shredded cheese, chipotle ranch, and bacon pieces

worst bowl
Courtesy of Moe's Southwest Grill
958 calories, 45 g fat (15 g saturated fat), 2,397 mg sodium, 96 g carbs (14 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 46 g protein

"Steer clear of toppings like chipotle ranch and bacon pieces, which quickly add up to more calories and fat," Cecere says.

Cecere couldn't be more on the money. With the bacon packing in a hefty saturated fat content and the chipotle ranch boosting the fat count, this bowl defeats the whole purpose of eating healthy. This particular bowl packs in more calories and fat than two donuts, making it an easy contender as a diet-ender.

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Stacks

Best: Shredded cheese, corn tortillas, ground beef, black beans, cilantro, shredded lettuce, pico de gallo

best stacks deconstructed
Courtesy of Moe's Southwest Grill
537 calories, 30 g fat (14 g saturated fat), 1,216 mg sodium, 50 g carbs (16 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 33 g protein

Moe's answer to Taco Bell's Crunchwrap Supreme comes in the form of their signature stack, a combo of fillings squished between two tostadas, which are then wrapped in a tortilla and grilled shut. With so many apparent carbs, this option might initially seem like a calorie overload. But don't be fooled, this meal choice may even be better than the burrito bowls. "Opt for the shredded cheese and ground beef to reduce fat," Cecere says.

Worst: Queso, flour tortilla, adobo chicken, black beans, corn pico de gallo and shredded cheese

worst stacks
Courtesy of Moe's Southwest Grill
891 calories, 42 g fat (21 g saturated fat), 1,930 mg sodium, 92 g carbs (12 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 52 g protein

Stacks can also work against your diet, and this particular filling combo of adobo chicken, shredded cheese and corn pico de gallo will be sure to set your diet back. What's even more, this meal has more carbs than six slices of white bread. Limit your fillings to keep this meal healthier. "Skip the queso and adobo chicken here," Cecere says.

Quesadillas

Best: Flour Tortilla, adobo chicken, shredded cheese

best quesadilla
Courtesy of Moe's Southwest Grill
590 calories, 33 g fat (17 g saturated fat), 975 mg sodium, 38 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 40 g protein

"Stick to a simple chicken and cheese quesadilla to reduce calories, fat, and carbs," Cecere says.

Sometimes, simple is best. This quesadilla pairs the iconic Mexican staple down to its bare bones and ensures you will get a solid meal. With 40 grams of protein, the adobo chicken keeps you full and alert through your afternoon and with less than 600 calories, you could even afford to fit in an extra snack in your day while keeping your diet on track.

Worst: Flour Tortilla, adobo chicken, shredded cheese, chipotle ranch, bacon pieces

worst quesadilla
Courtesy of Moe's Southwest Grill
760 calories, 48 g fat (22 g saturated fat), 1,233 mg sodium, 40 g carbs (2 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 51 g protein

When you throw in ranch dressing and bacon pieces, you can bet the added artery-clogging fat will slow you down throughout your day. With the saturated fat of almost three hot dogs, this quesadilla guarantees you will feel extra sluggish if you eat the whole meal. Keep your diet on track and opt to order a smaller meal or a meal with healthier fillings.

Tacos

Best: Corn tortilla, adobo chicken, shredded cabbage, cilantro

best taco
Courtesy of Moe's Southwest Grill
114 calories, 5 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 152 mg sodium, 14 g carbs (1 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 10 g protein

One of the easiest ways to keep the calories low is through portion control, and by ordering small tacos, you can ensure you get a filling meal without packing on the pounds. With only 5 grams of fat and 114 calories, you can rest easy knowing you aren't overdoing it. With the cabbage providing extra vitamin C and K, you can feel even better with this choice.

Worst: Corn tortilla, adobo chicken, avocado lime crema, queso fresco

worst tacos
Courtesy of Moe's Southwest Grill
140 calories, 7 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 187 mg sodium, 13 g carbs (1 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 9 g protein

One of the surefire ways to build an unhealthy taco is by topping it with as many high-fat options as possible. Between the crema and queso frescos the fat content and lack of substantial ingredients, this dish will push your diet over the edge. Even if you ate a small meal of three of these tacos, you would still consume the saturated fat content as two bowls of vanilla ice cream.

Nachos

Best: chips, adobo chicken, black beans, pico de gallo

best nachos deconstructed
Courtesy of Moe's Southwest Grill
986 calories, 49 g fat (12 g saturated fat), 1,302 mg sodium, 114 g carbs (20 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 37 g protein

"Nachos aren't the healthiest choice on the menu because the base is a pile of fried chips but by cutting out the queso, you can reduce calories," Cecere explains. "Ask for extra pico de gallo to make up for it!"

Even this healthy choice packs in almost 1,000 calories and as much fat as over three tablespoons of oil. With a barebones ingredient list, you can satisfy your nacho craving while feeling confident that you are getting the best nutritional bang for your buck. If you really need to count calories, do your body a favor and opt for tacos or a salad instead.

Worst: Queso, chips, adobo chicken, black beans, pico de gallo

worst nachos
Courtesy of Moe's Southwest Grill
1,258 calories, 71 g fat (26 g saturated fat), 2,288 mg sodium, 126 g carbs (20 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 49 g protein

If you thought the healthiest nacho option was over the top, wait until you check the nutrition facts on the worst possible combination of nachos and toppings. This loaded combo of chicken, black beans, and queso ensures you get well over half your day's recommended calories and almost as much fat as two funnel cakes. If you need to keep the pounds off, don't even let these nachos cross your mind.

Salads

Best: Chopped Romaine, adobo chicken, black beans, pico de gallo, diced onions, cilantro, fresh jalapenos, diced tomatoes, grilled mushrooms, diced cucumbers

best salad deconstructed
Courtesy of Moe's Southwest Grill
358 calories, 13 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 1,001 mg sodium, 39 g carbs (17 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 33 g protein

"Salads can so easily go from healthy to unhealthy depending on toppings and dressings," Cecere says. By keeping your salad creation simple, you can be sure that you are pulling in a healthy mix of vitamins and minerals while limiting how many calories you consume. With a solid protein count to keep you full, you can rest easy with this choice.

Worst: Chopped romaine, adobo chicken, black beans, corn pico, diced onions, cilantro, fresh jalapenos, diced tomatoes, grilled mushrooms, diced cucumbers, shredded cheese, southwest vinaigrette, bacon pieces

worst salad deconstructed
Courtesy of Moe's Southwest Grill
1,133 calories, 72 g fat (22 g saturated fat), 2,004 mg sodium, 81 g carbs (20 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 58 g protein

True to the same advice, the more add-ons you load into your salad, the more unhealthy a salad becomes. This particular salad has almost more than 1,000 calories than the healthiest salad option and almost a full day's worth of salt. "By skipping the fried salad bowl, cheese, southwest vinaigrette, and bacon, you are saving yourself so many calories," Cecere says. "It also reduces the sodium by about half."

Sides

Best: Pico de gallo

pico de gallo
Shutterstock
16 calories, 1 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 223 mg sodium, 4 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 1 g protein

With a side that only includes 16 calories and gives you a healthy dose of vitamin C, it is hard not to love pico de gallo as a side. "I love pico de gallo because it adds so much flavor without the calories," Cecere says. "Any dip that consists mostly of fruits and vegetables is the way to go." Just make sure to not eat too many fried corn chips with it, and you will satisfied and not overstuffed.

Worst: Chili Con Queso

chili con queso
Moe's Southwest Grill/Facebook
661 calories, 51 g fat (32 g saturated fat), 2,581 mg sodium, 35 g carbs (4 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 34 g protein

The Chili Con Queso should be avoided at all costs. Even though it's a side, this dip has enough calories to act as a full meal. It has more calories than three of Cecere's pick of worst tacos, contains over a full day's worth of sodium, and as much fat as two doughnuts. If you need a reasonable way to accompany a meal, steer clear of this side.

Erich Barganier
Erich Barganier is a health and food writer. Read more
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