Taco Bell Goes Healthy: Chain Offers Vegan, Gluten-Free, Low-Fat Options

Taco Bell Goes Healthy: Chain Offers Vegan, Gluten-Free, Low-Fat Options
(Photo by Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for Taco Bell)

In a perfect world, there would be a fast food restaurant that offered high quality and healthy food for everyone’s dietary choices and restrictions at an affordable price. Taco Bell is one step closer to that utopia with their latest menu additions designed to cater to vegan, gluten-free, low-fat, high-protein and low-calorie diets.

Taco Bell History

The first Taco Bell opened in 1962 in Downey, California. Eight years prior, founder Glen Bell had dove into the restaurant business, with two restaurants named Bell’s Drive-In and Taco Tia. Bell sold his empire to PepsiCo Inc. in 1978 with a total of 868 restaurants. In 1997, Tricon became the parent company, and today there are more than 7,000 restaurants in more than 20 countries around the world.

In the pursuit of healthy eating while still having choices to indulge in fried foods, many large fast food chains have been racing to meet customers’ needs. Taco Bell jumped on the health food train in the 1980s when they introduced salads to their everyday menu.

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Since then, the company has eliminated trans-fat cooking methods, removed artificial flavors, reduced sodium use and added more low-calorie menu options. Taco Bell is in the stages of discontinuing its extra-large sodas and serving cage-free eggs and antibiotic-free chicken.

Taco Bell’s Official Website

The Taco Bell website has a complete list of nutrition facts of its products and a nutrition calculator to help customers better plan their meals. Information offered for all items include the number of calories, calories from fat, total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, dietary fiber, sugars, and protein amounts.

The restaurant is quick to boast of their swift addition to healthy choices as told on their official website:

“We were one of the first quick service restaurants to post full nutrition information online, and now we’re making it even easier to understand what’s in our food.”

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In fact, Taco Bell has taken the terms “healthy eating” so seriously that they even have a registered dietician working for the company. Missy Nelson is a menu developer working with culinary experts to provide menu choices for everyone.

Some of the menu items added to entice new customers include a 7-layer burrito, black bean burrito, a veggie power burrito, a cheese quesadilla, a black beans and rice bowl, and a veggie power menu bowl.

The following statement also appears on the official website:

“Taco Bell is the first QSR restaurant to offer American Vegetarian Association (AVA) certified Vegetarian food items, which define vegetarian as lacto-ovo, allowing the consumption of dairy and eggs but does not include any animal by-products. Please note that in some restaurants we use the same frying oil to prepare menu items that may or may not contain meat. All vegetarian ingredients are handled by our employees in common with meat ingredients, which may not be acceptable to certain types of vegetarian diets. We cannot guarantee that cross contact with meat products will not occur and neither Taco Bell, our employees, nor our franchisees assume any responsibility for such cross contact”.

With this is mind, next time everyone in your family, or group of friends, demand a wide array of food choices, run to Taco Bell. Even your 15-year-old picky-eater will find something on the menu to satisfy their taste buds.


Sources:

O’Neil, Tyler, “Shocking…Taco Bell is Healthy?”, PJ Media web site, January 9, 2017; https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2017/01/09/shocking-taco-bell-is-healthy/, last accessed January 12, 2017.

“Looking for Healthy Fast Food? Try Taco Bell”, USA Today web site, January 5, 2017; http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/nation-now/2017/01/05/taco-bell-may-healthiest-fast-food-option-out-there-doritos-taco/96204454/, last accessed January 12, 2017.

“History”, Taco Bell web site; https://www.tacobell.com/history, last accessed January 12, 2017.

“Nutrition”, Taco Bell web site; https://www.tacobell.com/food/nutrition/info, last accessed January 12, 2017.