Ballin’ on a Budget

Eat fast food with health and budget in mind with this Chipotle hack

More stories from Luke Alex

It’s 8 p.m on a Monday night. Students are hungry and broke. The food court in Davies is closed and eating breakfast pizza from Riverview Cafe for the third time in one day does not sound appealing.

Students could venture to a classic fast food joint and get a cheap, but filling, meal from the dollar menu. This option, in the moment, satisfies both taste buds and wallets. However, 30 minutes later, someone may find themself cradled on the couch in a fetal position with their stomach in knots asking why they ever thought Taco Bell would good idea.

Searching for a healthy fast food restaurant is a difficult task, but finding a healthy and cheap fast food option is almost impossible. Subway is too generic, Chick-Fil-A doesn’t exist in Eau Claire and Panera is too expensive. It seems like the only option is to compromise health and go with the cheapest fast food options.

I’m here to say there’s no need to compromise. There is a cheap and healthy alternative fast food restaurant out there, it just takes a little bit boldness and creativity.

Chipotle is an extremely tasty and healthy option. All of their ingredients are fresh and non-GMO. Their guacamole is amazing and their smoky-flavored tabasco sauce will have customers considering sneaking the bottle into their pocket to take home.

There is a large assortment of ingredients to choose from and many different ways to customize selections. There is only one problem: as far as fast food goes, Chipotle isn’t exactly cheap if you order it in the conventional way. The good thing is, there is a unconventional way to order that will give you double the amount of food for the same price.

The secret to ordering food at Chipotle is knowing the only things they are allowed to charge extra for are meat, guacamole or queso. With this knowledge, hungry customers can order double or triple portions of rice, beans, or anything else they want on their burrito.

The key is to order a burrito bowl with two or three large tortillas on the side and order the desired ingredients. Then, after watching a quick YouTube tutorial on how to wrap a burrito, customers are left with two or three burritos for the price of one.

I will demonstrate my order for an example: Burrito bowl with two tortillas on the side. Double white rice, double brown rice. Double pinto beans, double black beans. Extra fajitas. Half-steak, half barbacoa. Pico de gallo salsa, medium salsa. Corn. Double portion of sour cream, triple cheese and lettuce.

Occasionally customers will run into a worker who doesn’t feel like giving a triple portion of rice, but there’s nothing they can do about it. There is nothing in the fine print that prevents customers from asking for extra portions of most of the ingredients. All that customers need to do is politely ask to speak to a manager who will hopefully explain to his employee that this is a perfectly acceptable way to order.

Don’t settle for for the dollar menu of a low-end fast food joint. Walk out of Chipotle with confidence knowing you saved money while eating a much tastier and healthier meal.

Alex can be reached at [email protected].