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To make a healthy burrito, cut down on the amount of calories and fat, and increase the fiber and vegetables. Fortunately, the burrito is a forgiving food, making it easy to make substitutions without negatively affecting the flavor or texture. Make changes slowly, to determine which ones work, and which are not worth the change in flavor.
Reducing the amount of meat in the burrito and replacing it with beans is one way to reduce both the fat and calorie content, creating a healthy burrito. Substituting ground turkey or chicken for ground beef also cuts calories. Regardless of the type of meat used, drain the fat thoroughly, and pat with a paper towel before filling burritos.
Add vegetables with the meat and beans such as onions, peppers, and carrots. These bulk up the burrito and add nutrients without adding fat or calories. Saute the vegetables lightly with a small amount of olive oil, or add them to a can of diced tomatoes to soften before mixing with the burrito filling.
Use less cheese that normal to make a healthy burrito. Select a stronger cheese to get more flavor with less cheese. Do not be afraid to experiment with nontraditional types of cheese, or even tofu.
The type of tortilla selected for burritos makes a difference in nutrition as well. Corn tortillas have fewer calories than flour, and are considered a whole grain. Multigrain and brown rice tortillas are also available, and both are better choices nutritionally than flour tortillas.
Another key to a healthy burrito are the additions made after cooking. Pico de gallo is typically made of fresh tomatoes, peppers, onions, and cilantro; it adds lots of flavor to the burrito. Salsa can be a good addition as well, as long as it is not loaded with sugar, corn syrup, or other sweeteners. Sour cream and guacamole are both high in fat as well as flavor, and should only be used in small amounts. If the burrito is too hot, cool it down with shredded lettuce and chopped tomato rather than sour cream; alternatively, humus is a viable, if less traditional option for a mild filler.
The addition of extra vegetables and replacing flour tortillas with whole grain or corn tortillas will boost the fiber content of the burrito, which is an important key to making a healthy burrito. Many people have trouble getting enough fiber in their diets, so preparing a high fiber meal is an easy way to boost fiber intake for the day. Adequate levels of fiber are important for a healthy digestive system, aid in weight loss, and also control blood pressure and blood sugar levels.