Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill has about 180 locations in California, Arizona, Colorado, Utah and Nevada. A few months ago, I “rediscovered” Rubio’s when driving back up from San Diego — we stopped in for lunch, and found that the HealthMex Veggie Burrito was darn tasty.
They’re big on the fish tacos, and I’m particularly pleased to see that they’ve set a goal for majority of their seafood to achieve a favorable sustainability rating by Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program by 2011.
Right at the top of Rubio’s online nutrition information, they make some recommendations which are worth repeating:
- Get the HealthMex items; they all have less than 30% of the calories from fat and less than 700 calories (even the plates).
- Get the salad dressing on the side, or, better yet, use salsa instead.
- Choose grilled seafood instead of fried.
- Skip the cheese, sour cream, or white sauce.
- Get a side salad, beans, or rice (or nothing) instead of chips (they’ll swap these out on any order).
I’ll add a few of my own:
- Avoid anything with the word “Big,” “Blackened,” or “Gourmet.”
- Avoid the burritos — every burrito has at least 1,000mg sodium (and some have over 2,400mg, your entire day’s limit).
- Skip the Nachos or Quesadillas, the saltiest, fattiest, and most caloric options on the menu.
- Any two of the HealthMex tacos make a good meal, as long as you skip the chips on the side.
- Stick with Corn Tortillas for your tacos. Flour tortillas add 50 calories, 4 grams of fat, and 340mg of sodium, per taco.
I’m going to rail against the amount of sodium in these foods (here’s why you should, too) — not only is it high by the numbers, but also I find their food tastes a bit too salty. Hopefully they’ll jump on the lower-sodium bandwagon soon, and make sodium levels a factor in their HealthMex requirements, too.
Fish & Seafood Tacos – Better Choices
These numbers are for ONE taco.
HealthMex Mahi Mahi Taco
170 cal, 0.5g sat fat, 4g total fat, 200mg sodium, 21g carbs, 2g sugar, 3g fiber, 12g protein
Grilled Mahi Mahi Taco
250 cal, 2g sat fat, 11g total fat, 150mg sodium, 25g carbs, 2g sugar, 4g fiber, 13g protein
Chile Lime Salmon Taco
250 cal, 2g sat fat, 12g total fat, 220mg sodium, 26g carbs, 2g sugar, 4g fiber, 11g protein
Fish & Seafood Tacos – Worst Choices
Garlic Herb Shrimp Taco
340 cal, 570mg sodium
Fish Taco Especial
320 cal, 510mg sodium
Grilled Mesquite Shrimp Taco
220 cal, 530mg sodium
“World Famous” Fish Taco
270 cal, 430mg sodium
Blackened Mahi Mahi Taco
240 cal, 480mg sodium
Veggie Taco – Better Choice
There’s only one vegetarian taco on the menu. Although a bit high in fat, it deserves an honorable mention.
Grilled Gourmet Portobello & Poblano Taco
290 cal, 6g sat fat, 17g total fat, 330mg sodium, 26g carbs, 3g sugars, 4g fiber, 12g protein
Chicken Tacos – Better Choices
Chicken Street Taco
90 cal, no sat fat, 2.5g total fat, 180mg sodium, 9g carbs, no sugar, 3g fiber, 8g protein
HealthMex Chicken Taco
130 cal, no sat fat, 1g total fat, 240mg sodium, 22g carbs, 2g sugar, 3g fiber, 10g protein
Chicken Tacos – Worst Choices
Grilled Chicken Taco
250 cal, 3.5g sat fat, 12g total fat, 380mg sodium, 23g carbs, 2g sugars, 4g fiber, 13g protein
Grilled Gourmet Chicken Taco
320 cal, 7g sat fat, 17g total fat, 600mg sodium, 24g carbs, 2g sugars, 4g fiber, 20g protein
Steak & Pork Tacos – Better Choices
Carnitas Street Tacos
100 cal, 1.5g sat fat, 4.5g total fat, 250mg sodium, 9g carbs, 2g sugars, 2g fiber, 7g protein
Steak Street Tacos
120 cal, 2g sat fat, 6g total fat, 380mg sodium, 9g carbs, no sugar, 2g fiber, 8g protein
Steak & Pork Tacos – Worst Choices
Grilled Gourmet Steak Taco
350 cal, 8g sat fat, 21g total fat, 790mg sodium, 24g carbs, 2g sugars, 3g fiber, 19g protein
Grilled Steak Taco
220 cal, 4g sat fat, 10g total fat, 520mg sodium, 22g carbs, 1g sugar, 3g fiber, 13g protein
Veggie Burritos – Better Choices
HealthMex Veggie Burrito
500 cal, 6g sat fat, 15g total fat, 1,380mg sodium, 74g carbs, 8g sugar, 8g fiber, 12g protein
Veggie Burritos – Worst Choices
Grilled Veggie Burrito
680 cal, 1400mg sodium, only 3g fiber
Regular Grilled Veggie Burrito
680 cal, 11g sat fat, 1,400mg sodium
Bean & Cheese Burrito
760 cal, 19g sat fat (!), 1,860mg sodium
Fish & Seafood Burritos – Better Choices
HealthMex Mahi Mahi Burrito
560 cal, 6g sat fat, 20g total fat, 1,380mg sodium, 67g carbs, 5g sugar, 6g fiber, 29g protein
Regular Mahi Mahi Burrito
650 calories, but deserves an honorable mention for being the lowest-sodium burrito on the menu, at “only” 1,030mg.
Fish & Seafood Burritos – Worst Choices
Blackened Mahi Mahi Burrito
640 cal, 1,700mg sodium
Chile Lime Salmon Burrito
670 cal, 1,170mg sodium
750 cal, 1,620mg sodium
Grilled Mesquite Shrimp Burrito
730 cal, 2,200mg sodium (nearly an entire day’s worth of sodium)
Chicken Burritos – Better Choice
HealthMex Chicken Burrito
520 cal, 5g sat fat, 14g total fat, 1,730mg sodium!), 69g carbs, 5g sugar, 7g fiber, 28g protein
Chicken Burritos – Worst Choices
Baja Grill Burrito – Chicken
630 cal, 11g sat fat, and 1,800mg sodium.
Chicken Rajas Burrito
750 cal, 1,790mg sodium
Big Burrito Especial – Chicken
820 cal, 1,980mg sodium
Steak & Pork Burritos – Avoid
These are the highest in calories and sodium of all the burritos.
Baja Grill Burrito – Steak
720 cal, 2,430mg sodium (an entire day’s worth of sodium)
Carnitas Rajas Burrito
790 cal, 2,000mg sodium (nearly an entire day’s worth of sodium)
Steak Rajas Burrito
830 cal, 2,280mg sodium (nearly an entire day’s worth of sodium)
Big Burrito Especial – Steak
900 cal, 2,470mg sodium (an entire day’s worth of sodium)
Salads & Wrapsaladas – Better Choices
I recommend getting the dressing on the side (or skipping it altogether), so the info here is without dressing. Dressing stats are listed separately below.
The “Wrapsaladas” are simply the same salads in a tortilla. Add 300 calories and about 800mg sodium for a Wrapsalada.
45 cal, no fat, 180mg sodium, 8g carbs, 2g sugars, 2g fiber, 3g protein
Chicken Balsamic & Roasted Veggie Salad
250 cal, 2g sat fat, 7g total fat, 680mg sodium, 21g carbs, 5g sugars, 4g fiber, 24g protein
Chicken Surfside Citrus Salad
250 cal, 2g sat fat, 7g total fat, 900mg sodium, 24g carbs, 6g sugars, 7g fiber, 26g protein
Chicken Chipotle Ranch Salad
260 cal, 2.5g sat fat, 11g total fat, 970mg sodium, 20g carbs, 6g sugars, 8g fiber, 24g protein
Salads & Wrapsaladas – Worst Choices
Blackened Mahi Mahi Surfside Citrus Salad
270 cal, 2.5g sat fat, 8g total fat, 1,170mg sodium, 23g carbs, 6g sugars, 8g fiber, 28g protein
Chicken Chopped Salad
380 cal, 4g sat fat, 14g total fat, 1,030mg sodium, 33g carbs, 7g sugars, 8g fiber, 32g protein
Chicken Grilled Grande Bowl
550 cal, 7g sat fat, 18g total fat, 1,540mg sodium, 61g carbs, 8g sugars, 8g fiber, 40g protein
Sorted by Calories. Watch the fat & sodium, too. Better to use salsa instead; see below.
90 cal, 1.5g sat fat, 5g total fat, 390mg sodium, 9g sugar
110 cal, 2g sat fat, 11g total fat, 105mg sodium, 1g sugar
120 cal, 2g sat fat, 11g total fat, 370mg sodium, 3g sugars
Chipotle Ranch Dressing
220 cal, 4g sat fat, 21g total fat, 370mg sodium, 2g sugars
Surfside Citrus Dressing
250 cal, no sat fat, 23g total fat, 430mg sodium, 9g sugars
Roasted Chipotle Salsa
5 cal, no fat, 120mg sodium
5 cal, no fat, 150mg sodium
5 cal, no fat, 180mg sodium
20 cal, 1g fat, 200mg sodium
Sides – Better Choices
Stats here are for “regular” size.
45 cal, no fat, 180mg sodium, 8g carbs, 2g sugars, 2g fiber, 3g protein
120 cal, no sat fat, 1g total fat, 220mg sodium, 25g carbs, 1g sugars, 1g fiber, 2g protein
110 cal, 0.5g sat fat, 1.5g total fat, 340mg sodium, 22g carbs, no sugar, 8g fiber, 2g protein
100 cal, no sat fat, 0.5g total fat, 340mg sodium, 17g carbs, 2g sugar, 2g fiber, 6g protein
Sides – Worst Choices
260 cal, 1g sat fat, 13g total fat, 290mg sodium, 33g carbs, no sugar, 4g fiber, 3g protein
Guacamole & Chips
790 cal, 6g sat fat, 49g total fat, 920mg sodium, 85g carbs, 2g sugars, 16g fiber, 10g protein
Enchiladas – Better Choice
Actually, I’d recommend you avoid all the enchiladas, but if you insist, at least the Cheese Enchilada has less sodium.
Cheese Enchilada (One)
340 cal, 12g sat fat, 21g total fat, 570mg sodium, 23g carbs, 2g sugar, 3g fiber, 17g protein
Enchiladas – Worst Choice
Carnitas Enchilada (One)
380 cal, 13g sat fat, 23g total fat, 810mg sodium, 24g carbs, 3g sugar, 3g fiber, 23g protein
Chicken Enchilada (One)
370 cal, 12g sat fat, 21g total fat, 740mg sodium, 23g carbs, 2g sugars, 3g fiber, 24g protein
“Other Favorites” – Better Choice
Chicken Taquitos (Three)
270 cal, 2g sat fat, 8g total fat, 360mg sodium, 33g carbs, 1g sugar, 4g fiber, 16g protein
“Other Favorites” – Worst Choices
Cheese, Chicken, or Steak Quesadilla
1,120-1,270 cal, 30-33g sat fat, 70-78g total fat, 1,940-2,820mg sodium, 87-89g carbs, 4g sugar, 7-8g fiber, 39-56g protein
Nachos Grande (all types)
1,270-1,430 cal, 27-31g sat fat, 78-87g total fat, 1,850-2,730mg sodium, 112-114g carbs, 2-4g sugar, 20-22g fiber, 37-54g protein
Menu Mondays are my recommendations for the most healthful options at chain restaurants. Although it may be tough to find “perfect” options when eating out, it’s important to choose “better” whenever possible, and I hope these guides will help make that easier for you.
indicates the “best-of-the-best,” and indicates the “worst-of-the-worst,” more or less.
Photo by abrowncoat.
Rubio’s has discontinued HealthMex and whole wheat tortillas. Go to the restaurant’s website, fill out customer survey, and request that they bring back whole wheat tortillas and add brown rice to the menu, while they are at it.
They claim to be a healthful fast food restaurant, but cutting out fiber is obviously a step in the wrong direction.
I agree we need healthier choices
I tried to order healthy-mex salad at my local Rubios in La Jolla, CA and they didn’t have it on their menu. I’m sure I read it on your menu website. Grilled chicken, cabbage, etc. please tell me why it is on your website but not at your eatery.
My website isn’t affiliated with Rubio’s, so unfortunately I’m not able to tell you why they apparently don’t offer it anymore. (They sure did when I wrote this post awhile back!).
Not sure if you can help, but appreciate it if you can. I normally order a grilled veggie burrito with no cheese and no white sauce, then add avocado slices. I can’t seem to calculate the nutrition by looking at Rubio’s Nutritional guide. Any ideas?