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Taco Bell to Offer New Power Protein Menu

Taco Bell to Offer New Power Protein Menu

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Taco Bell is looking to score big with men with a new protein-focused menu

In attempts to keep up with the recent efforts by fast food chains to offer healthier options, Taco Bell announced that it plans to introduce a protein-focused menu. The new items will hopefully hit home with one of their largest target audiences, men, according to the Huffington Post.

The “Power Protein” menu will feature items that have fewer calories and much more protein, like a burrito with double the portion of chicken that will have only 400 calories but nearly 20 grams of protein. Similarly, a bowl with steak will only have 270 calories, and all of the items will have less than 450 calories.

Taco Bell CEO Greg Creed told the Huffington Post in a phone interview that the changes are coming due to an increased focus on foods that will help performance, “as evidenced by the proliferation of protein bars and cereals at supermarkets.” Their new menu items will seek to lessen the stigma of Taco Bell being extremely unhealthy; of course, the Mexican fast food joint is not looking to stop selling their classic menu items any time soon, but simply just adding to the array of options.

The first test of the menu will happen in Dayton, Ohio stores starting July 25 and running for about six weeks before any talk of a national rollout, according to CBS News. Taco Bell will also offer little to no calorie drinks to accompany the menu, like SoBe Life Water and Brisk No Calorie Iced Tea.

Creed told Huffington Post, "We're not perfect,” but “we're just trying to get better.”

Taco Bell Testing New Power Protein Menu, J.Crew Launches Unisex Hair Products and More!

In an effort to increase the fast-food chain's healthier offerings, Taco Bell will begin testing a new Power Protein Menu in Ohio next month. The menu literally beefs up on protein while cutting back on cals. [ABC News]

After successful collabs with makeup brands FACE Stockholm and Lipstick Queen Poppy King, J. Crew has launched two unisex hair products with natural brand Lavett & Chin. The goods include a sea salt mist and a waxy pomade. []

Feel like you're addicted to food? A new brain imaging study suggests that highly processed carbs stimulate brain regions involved in rewards and cravings. Try limiting such "high-glycemic index" foods to help avoid overeating. [Science Daily]

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It's the season for camping. But know before you go and read these 18 tips for a foolproof experience first. [Greatist]

Taco Bell to test 'Power Protein' menu

Taco Bell will begin testing new entrees next month for its "Power Protein" menu, along with new zero-calorie beverages — both designed to appeal to nutrition-conscious diners.

The test, which is scheduled to begin July 25 at about 40 units in Dayton, Ohio, is the first in an ongoing strategy to round out Taco Bell’s often-indulgent menu with more healthful food options. Earlier this year, Greg Creed, Taco Bell’s chief executive, pledged to add more menu items that meet recommended daily nutrition guidelines.

The Power Protein menu under consideration is designed to offer items with more than 20 grams of protein and less than 450 calories in a serving.

Missy Schaaphok, product manager for Irvine, Calif.-based Taco Bell Corp. and a registered dietitian, said customers have indicated they want alternatives that are higher in protein and lower in calorie. “Millennials are asking for more nutritionally balanced performance options,” she said. “Protein definitely skews more toward men, but it’s what our consumers are asking for.”

The test line will include a burrito and a bowl option, with a double portion of either chicken or steak. The burrito, for example, will include the two portions of meat, romaine lettuce, roasted corn-and-pepper salsa, pico de gallo, guacamole and reduced-fat sour cream, all wrapped in a tortilla for the recommended price of $3.59 for chicken and $3.99 for steak.

Taco Bell's Power Protein chicken bowl

The burrito has 400 calories for the chicken version (420 calories for steak) and 24 grams of protein.

The bowl includes romaine lettuce, topped with the double-portion of selected meat, as well as black beans, roasted corn-and-pepper salsa, pico de gallo, guacamole and reduced fat sour cream. It’s priced at $4.79 for chicken and $5.19 for steak.

The chicken bowl has 270 calories (290 calories for steak) and 23 grams of protein.

“What’s great is that, working with Lorena Garcia on the Cantina Bell menu, we added a lot of great ingredients to the menu in addition to what was already there,” said Schaaphok. “The test items utilize all existing ingredients.”

Also included in the test will be two zero-calorie beverages: SoBe Lifewater Yumberry Pomegranate, which is enhanced with vitamins B and E, and Brisk No Calorie Peach Iced Green Tea.

Taco Bell has long been known for its more indulgent food-as-fuel menu offerings, such as the XXL Grilled Stuft Burrito line, all over 800 calories with more than 35 grams of fat.

Creed’s new pledge, however, marks a shift in thinking for the quick-service chain, Schaaphok said. “We’ve really changed the way we start product development,” she said. “Now we’re thinking not only about great tasting food, but also about nutrition. This is a big shift from where we were 10 years ago.”

By the year 2020, for example, the company has pledged to offer meal options that meet one-third of U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans Recommended Daily Intake values.

In addition, the company intends for 20 percent of combination meal options to meet one-third of the recommended guidelines.

The one-third is a reference to the notion that any meal at Taco Bell would be one of three consumed in a day, although the chain is also notorious for promoting a Fourth Meal daypart.

Schaaphok said Taco Bell plans to conduct the test publicly —a somewhat unusual move for restaurant chains. The goal of the process is to achieve transparency as the brand progresses toward a more balanced menu with more healthful options alongside classic dishes.

“We plan to be constantly innovating in the area of nutrition,” she said. “And we want to bring everyone along on our nutrition journey.”

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected] .
Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout

2. Arby’s Roast Chicken Entrພ Salad

Per serving: 250 calories, 14g fat, 8g carbs, 3g fiber, 4g sugar and 25g protein

While many fast-food salads are just chicken nuggets on a bed of lettuce masquerading as health, Arby&rsquos offers a version with grilled chicken. Pepper bacon, tomato, cheddar and ranch dressing round things out for a filling lunch (or dinner).

Taco Bell Is Adding a New Menu Item Starring This Fan-Favorite Ingredient

Remember how potatoes are back at Taco Bell? The fast-food chain reinstated the beloved ingredient several weeks ago (after unceremoniously cutting it from the menus last year). And it turns out they're doubling down on potato creations, too. Besides the Spicy Potato Soft Taco and Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes, the menu is also gaining another potato-centric item: the Beefy Potato-rito.

And the latest offering from Taco Bell looks as craveable as it sounds. Wrapped in a warm flour tortilla, it's loaded with crispy potato bites, seasoned beef, nacho cheese sauce, and creamy Chipotle sauce. The best part? You can get all of this food for just $1. (RELATED: 7 New Fast-Food Chicken Sandwiches Everyone Is Talking About)

Courtesy of Taco Bell

The Potato-rito hits menus nationwide on April 15, but don't wait to try one. Unfortunately, it's a limited-time offering, meaning it won't be around for long. If you just can't handle the nine-day wait, you can get early access to the Potato-rito right now if you become a Taco Bell Rewards member.

Taco Bell also announced earlier this year that it would partner with Beyond Meat on an "innovative new plant-based protein that will be tested in the next year." This marks the brand's first foray into plant-based meat in the U.S., where it joins chains like McDonald's and Dunkin', which already have partnerships with Beyond Meat.

For more on what Taco Bell's been cooking up this year, check out the 5 Major Changes You'll See on Taco Bell's Menu. And don't forget to sign up for our newsletter to get all of the latest restaurant news delivered straight to your inbox.

Taco Bell Low-Carb Menu – Five Orders

These five Taco Bell orders are totally keto friendly and easy to customize. Add more guac or omit the cheese. Douse it in hot sauce if that’s your style. Get creative!

1. Mini Skillet Bowl – 5g net carbs

Order the Mini Skillet Bowl, but replace the potatoes with a meat of your choice. Up the fat with some guacamole, extra cheese, or a drizzle of any of the low-carb sauces.

Bowl: Eggs, steak, cheddar cheese, sour cream, guacamole, creamy chipotle sauce.

2. Fiesta Taco Salad with Chicken – 10g carbs

Order the Fiesta Taco Salad and ask for no beans, no rice, no shell, and no Red Stripes (chips). This ensures your salad is filled with only the good stuff – lettuce, cheese, chicken, sour cream, tomatoes and salsa. Don’t forget to add guac if you want more fat.

Bowl: Lettuce, chicken, cheddar cheese, sour cream, guacamole, tomatoes, salsa.

3. Power Menu Bowl – 6g net carbs

Power up with a keto version of the Power Menu Bowl. Omit the rice and beans and you’re left with a high fat, high protein keto Taco Bell lunch. We added lettuce and bacon for more volume. Wash it down with water or any of the diet sodas available for purchase.

Bowl: Lettuce, shredded chicken, cheddar cheese, bacon, sour cream, guacamole, bacon, Avocado Ranch Sauce.

4. Grande Scrambler Burrito – 7g carbs

Order a Grande Scrambler Burrito as a breakfast bowl instead of a burrito and ask for no potatoes. This is a quick and easy keto breakfast you can top with guacamole, tomato, or salsa.

Bowl: Pico de gallo, sour cream, cheddar cheese, and a choice either bacon, sausage, or steak.

5. Beefy 5-Layer Burrito – 6g net carbs

As per usual, you’re going to ask for this burrito to be a bowl. This will eliminate the carb-heavy tortilla and and beans. You will be left with meat, cheese, tomatoes, and jalapeños.

Bowl: Nacho cheese, seasoned ground beef, grated cheddar cheese, sour cream. Optional: lettuce, guacamole, salsa.

The most customizable value deal in fast food

Courtesy of Taco Bell

If you don't already love Taco Bell for the low prices, you may just fall head over heels for its newest value deal. Dubbed the "ultimate Taco Bell eating experience," the chain has launched a $5 box with choices from four menu categories that can be customized 18 different ways.

If you opt for the Build Your Own Cravings Box, you'll get to pick one specialty item like the Crunchwrap, Cheesy Gordita Crunch, or Chalupa Supreme one starter, like a Soft Taco, Crunchy Taco, Beefy 5-Layer Burrito, or Bean and Cheese Burrito one side dish and one medium fountain drink.

This option makes it easy to swap out proteins or even make your meal vegetarian. For more, check out 108 Most Popular Sodas Ranked By How Toxic They Are.

Taco Bell's New ⟊ntina Power Menu' Ups The Protein And Goes Paleo

As the legalization of marijuana spreads from coast to coast, Taco Bell changes up its menu in the greatest stoner coincidence ever.

Last year, the fast food chain said it would be testing out a menu that was high in protein and low in caloric intake, and now it's making good on its word. Following the paleo and protein craze that's taken American diets by storm, Taco Bell is upping the protein with its new Cantina Power Menu.

Taco Bell's future CEO Brian Niccols issued this statement to reporters today about the changes in the menu coming July 17th:

“People are not looking for diet food. What they are looking for is food that gives them energy, food that’s going to give them freshness, food that’s going to give them the protein.”

Available nationwide, the new menu will feature items with at least 20 grams of protein and roughly 500 calories or less. According to Bloomberg, Taco Bell is even testing out Greek yogurt in addition to the their new protein-filled breakfast fare. While the company's "Fresco" items (food that comes without sour cream or cheese) are popular with women, the fast food joint is hoping this new rollout will resound with its male demographic.

Taco Bell is also making good on its pledge to make 20 percent of its meals meet nutritional guidelines, which should be complete by 2020. Though more expensive than usual meal items, the items will have double the meat servings, with fewer calories than most items on the menu.

Taco Bell isn't the first to capitalize on the protein fad -- Cheerios launched "Cheerio Protein" and put lentils in their cereal, while restaurants like Panera and Zoe's Kitchen have begun adding more protein to the meals they offer. As the price of protein continues to rise, we'll see what other businesses start changing up their menus.

Want to read more from HuffPost Taste? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr.

Taco Bell Launching New High-Protein Menu

Each item on the new Taco Bell Cantina Power Menu will have at least 20 grams of protein and fewer than 500 calories.

You just hit the gym for a late night session. You're drenched in sweat and your stomach is grumbling, so you get in the car and make a beeline for—Taco Bell?

Last week, Taco Bell announced its new Cantina Power Menu, consisting of low-calorie burritos and bowls that have double servings of chicken or steak. Each item on the new menu has at least 20 grams of protein and fewer than 500 calories. The new offerings will be a bit more expensive than Taco Bell's traditional fare, but still quite reasonable.

You just hit the gym for a late night session. You're drenched in sweat and your stomach is grumbling, so you get in the car and make a beeline for—Taco Bell?

Last week, Taco Bell announced its new Cantina Power Menu, consisting of low-calorie burritos and bowls that have double servings of chicken or steak. Each item on the new menu has at least 20 grams of protein and fewer than 500 calories. The new offerings will be a bit more expensive than Taco Bell's traditional fare, but still quite reasonable.

"This new [menu] was created to reflect the evolving lifestyles and dietary needs of consumers looking for great tasting options that are high in protein," the company said in a press release. In addition to heaping servings of chicken or steak, the new menu items contain ingredients such as pico de gallo, guacamole, reduced-fat sour cream and black beans.

Taco Bell also announced it is testing a Power Breakfast Menu, which will consist of breakfast offerings following the same high-protein, low-calorie approach of the Cantina Power Menu. So the next time your coach asks you what you had for breakfast before a workout or practice, you can unashamedly answer, "Taco Bell."

On July 17, Taco Bell will launch the Cantina Power Menu nationwide, consisting of the Cantina Power Bowl and the Cantina Power Burrito, packing 28 and 29 grams of protein, respectively.

The 8 Healthiest Things To Order From Taco Bell, According To Nutritionists

And while the chain is better known for its chalupas and Doritos tacos, you can get your fix in a more healthy way. &ldquoTaco Bell has a surprising number of better options,&rdquo says Lindsey Janeiro, R.D.N. &ldquoThey have an in-house registered dietitian who oversees the whole menu and works to remove additives and preservatives, artificial flavors and colors, high-fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oil, and reducing sodium across the menu.&rdquo The more you know!

Check out what nutritionists recommend ordering the next time you're in a "Yo quiero Taco Bell" kind of mood.

Tacos on your mind? Stick with the soft taco and make it Fresco, swapping out the cheese, sour cream, and mayo-based sauces for pico de gallo. &ldquoThe fresh veggies give you two grams of fiber each and only four grams of total fat (with only 1.5 grams coming from saturated fat),&rdquo says Brynn McDowell, registered dietitian. &ldquoI&rsquod add guacamole for a little more calories and heart-healthy fat, which will help keep you full until your next meal or snack.&rdquo

Per 1 taco: 150 calories, 4 g fat (1.5 g sat fat), 460 mg sodium, 17 g carbohydrates, 2 g of sugar, 2 g fiber, 10 g protein.

&ldquoThis would be my top choice because it provides protein, fiber from the beans, vegetables, and tons of flavor,&rdquo says Janeiro. &ldquoAlso, it's a reasonable-sized lunch portion so you won't be eating thousands of calories at lunch that leave you feeling lethargic and unmotivated to bring your A game when going back to the office for the afternoon.&rdquo She recommends nixing the sour cream and asking for extra veggies to bump up the fiber content and add more vitamins and minerals.

Per 1 bowl: 480 calories, 19 g fat (5 g sat fat), 970 mg sodium, 65 g carbohydrates, 2 g of sugar, 13 g fiber, 14 g protein.

Pro tip: Skip the meat. Meatless options are often lower in saturated fats and higher in fiber, says Emily Cooper, R.D.N. One solid choice is the bean burrito. &ldquoIt&rsquos packed with 14 grams of protein, as well as nine grams of fiber, and only four grams of saturated fat,&rdquo she says. &ldquoWhile it is still relatively high in sodium, it is about 110 calories, three grams of saturated fat, and 220 mg of sodium less than the beef burrito.&rdquo

Per 1 burrito: 380 calories, 11 g fat (4 g sat fat), 1060 mg sodium, 55 g carbohydrates, 3 g of sugar, 9 g fiber, 14 g protein.

&ldquoChoosing items that are open-faced (like tostadas) save you some empty calories from the massive flour tortillas often used in fast food burritos,&rdquo says McDowell. &ldquoThis menu option gives you six grams of protein and five grams of fiber. The cheese does add some additional fat but keeps saturated fat levels under four grams.&rdquo

Per 1 tostada: 210 calories, 10 g fat (3 g sat fat), 440 mg sodium, 22 g carbohydrates, 1 g of sugar, 3 g fiber, 6 g protein.

Need breakfast to go? Anita Mirchandani, registered dietitian and spokesperson for the New York State Dietetic Association, says the grilled breakfast burrito is a solid choice. &ldquoEggs make it a good lean protein option. Since it&rsquos lower in calories, you could pair it with fruit or another side,&rdquo she says.

Per 1 burrito: 340 calories, 17 g fat (5 g sat fat), 730 mg sodium, 36 g carbohydrates, 3 g of sugar, 2 g fiber, 11 g protein.

Scottsdale-based registered dietitian Anne Danahy recommends a chicken soft taco (or two!) plus guac. &ldquoIt&rsquos packed with protein, fiber, and it&rsquos the kind of meal I would&mdashand often do&mdashmake at home,&rdquo she says. Cooper adds, &ldquoAsk for additional veggies like romaine and tomatoes to give your tacos a nutritional boost without adding a lot of additional calories.&rdquo

Per 1 taco: 170 calories, 8 g fat (3 g sat fat), 450 mg sodium, 16 g carbohydrates, 1 g of sugar, 1 g fiber, 10 g protein.

Quesadillas aren&rsquot just for kids. These mini ones are protein-rich and a good source of iron, says Mirchandani. And go ahead, she says you can order two.

Per 1 quesadilla: 210 calories, 11 g fat (4 g sat fat), 540 mg sodium, 17 g carbohydrates, 1 g of sugar, 3 g fiber, 9 g protein.

If you feel like you need just a little something more with your meal, ask for a side of black beans. &ldquoAt just 80 total calories, black beans provide an additional source of protein to add to your meal, as well as fiber that will help keep you full,&rdquo says McDowell. &ldquoThey&rsquore relatively low in sodium and are a great meal option to complement your additional choices.&rdquo

Per 1 taco: 80 calories, 1.5 g fat (0 g sat fat), 200 mg sodium, 12 g carbohydrates, 0 g of sugar, 5 g fiber, 3 g protein.