Everybody who has visited Southern California knows at least one Pollo loco menu restaurant. Cali-Mex is known for being the West Coast’s answer to Taco Bell. It is loved by tourists and native Californians alike. Mexican food is known to be healthy on both ends, so Laura Burak MSRD, CDN was hired to help us choose the best Pollo loco dishes.
You have the option of swapping out some of the more caloric and saltier ingredients, such as cheese, sour milk, and rice for more vegetables and salsa when it comes to Mexican food. She suggests that you skip the tostadas and huge wraps and instead ask for a salad base.
Here are her suggestions for the best and most disappointing items on the El Pollo Loco Menu.
80 Calories, 4 g fat (1.g saturated fat, 0.0 g transfat), 170mg sodium, 0 grams carbs (0.g fiber), 12 g protein
Burak says that a 2 piece meal is the best option because it provides enough food. This portion is perfect if you include the right side dishes.
Portion Pollo loco menu
This 4-piece meal is the largest portion of the menu. It also has the most calories and sodium. This meal is too large to consume in one sitting if you add sides and drinks. The chicken pieces alone would be 880 calories. This should be shared with at least two people if you order it.
The chicken black bean soup, also featured in the Under 500 category is a balanced meal that includes protein, carbs and fat. This dish has 37 grams of protein. That’s almost as much as what you would get from four portions of Greek yogurt. Burak also notes that avocados add healthy fat to the dish for satiation.
Double chicken tostada salad sounds good, right? It sounds delicious and nutritious when you hear the words “double chicken” or “salad”. You might be wrong. This salad has 1,000 calories. That’s roughly the same as 10 popcorn pieces. Consuming that many calories in one meal is not a good idea.
Original BRC Burritos have 410 calories. This is half the number (but still a good portion) of any other burrito. It can also be a satisfying meal with its 14 grams of protein.
Although the Chipotle Chicken Avocado Burrito may sound innocent, it’s actually a 900-calorie wrap that contains 2,310 mgs sodium. This is equivalent to a whole day’s worth. You can add chips or guac to make the calories count even higher. So you might want to consider another burrito.
This quesadilla’s “overstuffed” portion says it all. The quesadilla is packed with 940 calories and over 1,800 mgs sodium. This makes it more than sufficient for two people to share. Burak suggests that you share it with a friend, as it is the only option in the quesadilla menu.
This double chicken avocado salad is the winner of this menu. It contains 370 calories, 14 grams carbs, and is about one meal. Burak says that you could also add chips to this meal to make the dish even more delicious and keep it within a reasonable calorie count. This meal is also equivalent to nearly three meals of lentils, as it contains 48 grams of protein.
Chicken avocado tortilla is just 500 calories, at 480 calories. Although the calories are still low, almost half the daily recommended sodium intake is found in the tortilla’s chicken avocado. This supposedly healthy Pollo loco menu option contains 1,140 mgs sodium. It would take almost five fries to finish the meal.