The Dude Diet: Burrito Edition

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Bless me, dudes, for I have sinned. It’s been three weeks since my last Dude Diet post. I sincerely apologize for leaving you all hanging, and I hope that you haven’t done too much damage to your beach bodies in my absence. Fortunately, I have good news to report! Logan has been doing quite a respectable job as Dude Diet ambassador lately. He’s been eating relatively well-balanced meals, snacking responsibly, and limiting off-the-wagon binges to no-calorie Sundays, which is more than impressive. The Dude has also gone for several runs in the past few weeks from which he came back very sweaty. This was comforting because it proves that he was, in fact, running and not sneaking off to get snacks. Great success.

Sadly, I fear that the recent success of The Dude Diet may be short-lived, since Logan is currently off the leash in Colorado. He spent the past week fantasizing about the burrito that he was going to get at Illegal Pete’s in Boulder (arguably the best burrito joint in the country), and yesterday he made that dream a reality. Based on the many pictures he sent me of him destroying that burrito (which I’m sure is just the tip of the “vacation eating” iceberg) and the anxiety I’ve been feeling about the fact that our new apartment is across the street from a Chipotle, I figured it was time for The Dude Diet to tackle the burrito issue.

Watching Logan order a burrito is truly a unique experience. He practically bends over the counter to watch the masterpiece materialize, while attempting to strike up a rapport with his burrito-builder (as he does with all individuals who are preparing “something dirty” for him to consume).  He will then fill his burrito with every ingredient available: meat(s), pinto and black beans, lettuce, corn salsa, regular salsa, extra cheese, sour cream, and guacamole. Logan’s enthusiasm sometimes frightens the burrito-builders, who tend to get increasingly nervous when he continues to add things to his burrito. However, he does his best to put these poor souls at ease with constant encouragement, such as, “Yeah dude, hit me with some of that guacamole. You got it. That’s looks awesome, man. Nice work.”


Needless to say, wrapping Logan’s creations requires serious effort and a certain amount of skill. His football-sized burritos are at least twice the weight of a normal person’s, which often causes the tortilla to rip. When this happens, Logan insists that the burrito-builder “try again” and re-wrap the beast with a new tortilla. Occasionally, a rogue burrito-builder will tear the tortilla without Logan noticing and quickly wrap the thing in tinfoil before he can be called out. This leads to a full-scale meltdown when the burrito inevitably falls apart in Logan’s hands. Such treachery inspires a string of profanities that is usually followed by something along the lines of, “Is that dude kidding me?! What a ROOKIE! Has he never made a burrito before?! Come on!!” Hell hath no fury like Logan with a botched burrito.

The worst part about Logan’s burrito habit is that his obscene creations literally make him ill. The post-burrito heartburn and other symptoms of indigestion (which I shall not discuss in detail because this is a food blog) are truly disturbing. Zantac is required, and in particularly scary cases, Imodium has also been necessary. You should not need multiple medications to “get normal” after a meal, dudes. You know this.

the-dude-diet-burrito-editionUnfortunately, when it comes to assessing the nutrition facts of his burritos, Logan is absurdly off base. He has told me multiple times that he doesn’t think burritos are “that bad” for him, especially since he switched to brown rice last year and he puts some lettuce in those bad boys. I’m well aware that this is a common dude delusion, based on the number of men I know that mindlessly enjoy burritos on the reg. I’m sorry to blow-up your spot on this one, dudes, but I need you to modify your burrito behavior immediately. Prepare yourself for the knowledge bombs that are about to be dropped.

While doing some due diligence yesterday on Chipotle’s website, I stumbled across a very enlightening nutrition calculator. I clicked on the fillings that Logan orders in his burritos and watched the facts magically appear at the bottom of the screen…1350 calories, 54.5 grams of fat. And that is if you are getting the exact portion size of each filling, which is rare. (Nine times out of ten, you are getting more.) Add an order of chips and guac into the mix, which Logan will when he’s particularly peckish, and you’ve managed to casually crush 2070 calories, 94.5 grams of fat. I don’t even know what to say to that. Congratulations on becoming a human burrito?

Clearly, burritos pose a serious threat to wonderland bodies everywhere. I have explained this to Logan several times, but it hasn’t appeared to sink in, which makes me want to slap him in the face with a 290-calorie flour tortilla. He has recently started eating burrito bowls, which is definitely a step in the right direction, but there are still other changes that need to be made in order to make a burrito Dude Diet-friendly. For your convenience, I have laid out some guidelines for Dude Diet-friendly burrito consumption below.

Dude Diet Burrito Guidelines:

1. If a burrito bowl is an option, take it. Ditch the flour tortilla. It’s not worth it.

2. Pick your dairy poison: cheese OR sour cream. Not both. And ask for a half portion. A little goes a long way in terms of flavor, I swear.

3. Always choose brown rice over white. No excuses. White rice has zero nutritional value, and I would like for you to stop putting it in your mouth.

4. Stick with one type of meat (preferably chicken and lean meats) or straight up vegetables. I hate to employ scare tactics, but getting steak and carnitas in your burrito might actually kill you at some point.

5. Guacamole in moderation, dudes. Avocados are good for you, but a monster scoop of guac can pack up to 300 calories and 26 grams of fat.

6. The answer to the question, “Do you want chips with that?” is always, “NO.”

the-dude-diet-chicken-burrito-bowl-gluten-freeIn the hopes of convincing you to get on board with these healthier burrito-eating ways, I have created The Dude Diet Burrito Bowl. Packed with marinated chicken, fresh vegetables, black beans, and cilantro-lime brown rice, this burrito bowl will satisfy your cravings for “something dank” without wreaking havoc on your waistline. No post-indulgence nap or Zantac necessary.

Let’s take a closer look at the nutritional aspects of this Dude Diet Burrito Bowl, shall we? First, there’s the zesty cilantro-lime brown rice, which is high in fiber and will keep you full and satisfied for a longer period of time. Then you’ve got a whole lot of fresh bell peppers and red onions, along with sweet corn and black beans. Not only is this bean and vegetable medley bursting with flavor, it’s also packed with vitamins A, C, E, B6 and various antioxidants, plus a decent amount of protein and fiber. Marinated chicken breast is a delicious source of lean protein, and unlike the fat and calorie-dense marinades used by most burrito chains, this chicken is flavored with an oil-free blend of lime juice, garlic, chipotles, spices, and low-sodium chicken stock. Booyah. There is even a sprinkling of reduced-fat cheddar to address the average dude’s need for cheese and an appropriate amount of heart-healthy guacamole. You’re welcome.           

the-dude-diet-chicken-burrito-bowl-gluten-freePlease don’t panic when you see the length of the ingredient list for these Dude Diet Burrito Bowls. You most likely already have the majority of these ingredients in your kitchen, and with a little organization, it’s actually surprisingly easy to put these burrito bowls together. They’re perfect for lunch or dinner, and leftovers taste awesome both cold and re-heated. You could also toss the chicken and veggies with romaine to make a dope salad (please?), or scramble them with some eggs for a festive Dude Diet breakfast option. Get after it, dudes. Chipotle ain’t got nothing on you.

Blogger’s Note: I’m only focusing on Chipotle today because it is the most ubiquitous burrito purveyor in New York City. Obviously, everything that I have just said is applicable to most burrito joints. And for the record, I do not hate Chipotle (which is practically my second home on no-calorie Sunday), I am simply aware of its nutritional pitfalls. Now you are too.

The Dude Diet Burrito Bowl: (Serves 4)
1 pound thinly sliced chicken breasts
For the marinade:
½ of a small red onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 chipotle peppers canned in adobe, seeded and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon adobo (from chipotle can), strained of seeds
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon oregano
1½ teaspoons salt
1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
For the rice:
1 cup brown rice
Juice of ½ lime
2 tablespoons cilantro
For the vegetables:
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
½ of a small red onion, diced
1 ear of corn, kernels only
1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
For garnish: (optional)
½ cup tablespoons shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese (2 tablespoons per serving)
Guacamole (2 tablespoons per serving), recipe here
1 heart of romaine, finely chopped
Fresh lime wedges
Salsa of your choice


Preparing your Dude Diet Burrito Bowls:

-Start by preparing the marinade. Combine all of the ingredients for the marinade in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
 Chipotle-burrito-bowl-marinade 2-Reserve a ¼ cup of the marinade (you will use it for the vegetables later), and pour the remaining marinade over the chicken breasts in a large Ziploc bag. Allow the chicken to marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.

Dude-Diet-Burrito-Bowl-Step-3-While your chicken is marinating, cook the brown rice according to the package directions. When cooked, mix in the lime juice and cilantro. Season with salt to taste and keep warm until ready to use.

Dude-Diet-Burrito-bowl-cilantro-lime-brown-rice4-While your rice is cooking, prepare the vegetables. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan. When

hot add the corn and sauté for about 7 minutes until lightly browned.

Dude-Diet-Burrito-Bowl-Corn5-Add the second tablespoon of olive oil along with the diced bell peppers, onions, and black beans, and cook for 3-4 minutes until the vegetables are just tender. At this point add the reserved ¼ cup of marinade, and cook for another minute. Cover and set aside while you cook your chicken. (You can re-heat the veggies quickly before serving, if necessary.)

Dude-Diet-Burrito-Bowl-Marinated-Vegetables6-When the chicken is marinated, remove it from the Ziploc bag and reserve the marinade. Grill your chicken for 4-5 minutes on each side (depending on thickness) until cooked through. You can do this on an outdoor grill, in a grill pan, or in a regular old pan, dudes.

Dude-Diet-Burrito-Bowl-Chipotle-Grilled-Chicken7-Remove the chicken from the grill and chop the breasts into small cubes. Pour the reserved marinade into a medium saucepan and bring it to a boil, then lower to a simmer and add the cubed chicken breasts. Cook for 1-2 minutes.

Dude-Diet-Burrito-Bowls-Chicken8-Now it’s time to assemble your burrito bowls, dudes. If you like lettuce in your burrito bowls, go ahead and add a handful to the bottom of each bowl. Next add ¼ of the brown rice to each bowl. Top the rice with ¼ vegetable mixture and a ¼ of the cubed chicken. Garnish each bowl with your salsa of choice, 2 tablespoons each reduced-fat cheddar cheese and guacamole. Serve with lime wedges. Boom.


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