Will Taco Bell's "Al Fresco" Menu Cut it?

Cathy Hamilton Health Guide
  • And the award for the coolest, handy-dandy nutrition calculator on a fast food restaurant's web site goes to....


    Taco Bell! (Pause for well-deserved applause)


    I was feeling a strong urge for some light South-of-the-border fare today but knew I wouldn't have time for a leisurely lunch at one of my town's many, fabulous family-owned Mexican restaurants. So I logged on to TacoBell.com to see what the ubiquitous chain had to offer me in terms of a lunch under 400 calories.


    I was immediately drawn to their new "Al Fresco" menu which promised "9 tasty and filling items... all with less than 9 grams of fat each!" Investigating further, I found one item in particular - the Fresco Zesty Chicken Border Bowl - coming in at 8 grams of fat and 350 calories. The rest of the offerings were burritos or tacos, and since I'm trying to avoid white flour and corn, I opted for the appetizing- looking Border Bowl.

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    Before I hopped in my car for the drive-thru, however, I returned to the home page where I was impressed to find a Nutrition Guide on the navigation bar at the very top (quite a change from most restaurant chains that tend to bury their guides in fine print at the bottom). Curious, I clicked on the guide and again on the Nutrition Calculator.


    Here is where you can select any item on the Taco Bell menu, customize it (by adding cheese or deleting sour cream, for instance) and calculate your meal down to the calorie, fat and carb gram. It's user- friendly and well-designed. A no-brainer. There are also food allergens and sensitivities tables, and a printer-friendly guide for you to take along in your purse.


    I customized and calculated a couple more of my favorite offerings but, in the end, decided to stick with the Chicken Border Bowl, which I found very satisfying, if not a little bland (I spiced it up with some hot sauce for an extra 7 calories).


    Kudos to Taco Bell for helping their nutrition-minded customers stay on track. I SHALL return!!

Published On: January 11, 2008