When A Breakfast Burrito Is Healthier

“Free” Breakfast Doesn’t Mean “Good” Breakfast.

We happen to be living in a hotel for a couple of days while our home is being tented for termites. The hotel provided breakfast. Granted, I’m not staying anyplace remotely fancy, so I didn’t expect much. But I at least thought I would have a decent selection of healthy choices, like maybe some fruit, cereal and wheat bread, along side the pastries and such. The front desk was trying to sell me on this place because they also offered “hot selections.” They didn’t say what those “selections” were (and that’s not what sold me).

Anyway, what I did find was a bunch of heated up frozen waffles, white bread and English muffins for toast, a bunch of frosted grocery store pastries, some strange looking egg “patties,” sausage patties, sugar covered muffins, Fruit Loops, Kellogg’s Raisin Bran, some hard boiled eggs and a bowl of apples. Raisin Bran should be healthy, but it has some undesirable additives such as high fructose corn syrup and preservatives. There were only two items that were unadulterated: the hard boiled eggs and the apples. Granted, they weren’t organic (nor did I expect it), but there they were. The apples were not washed. They still had their commercial PLU stickers on them. When I asked the staff if they were washed, they said, “No. But they should be fine. They are just regular apples. But you can wash it in the guest bathroom.” I was stunned. I’m not sure what was worse; her ignorance to the pesticides lurking on the fruit, or her suggestion to go wash the apples in the bathroom. Nice.

We then made our exit down to the burrito/taco stand on the corner, recommended by Julio, one of the staff (being in San Diego, we have authentic Mexican food at every corner). No, I did not get to have my healthier choices, but at least my occasional burrito had real ingredients like real eggs, homemade tortilla and salsa, beans and cheese. Side note: did you know that tortillas should only have three to four ingredients? Next time you’re at the grocery store, take a look at the ingredients and see how long the list is. It’s scary!

Why Is the Burrito Healthier?

Sugary Donut
Sugary Donut

I guess it depends on the quality and ingredients of the burrito. Not all burritos are created equal. My burrito had eggs, beans, salsa fresca (fresh tomatoes, onions and cilantro), and a little cheese. The ingredients were minimally processed (i.e. the eggs were beaten, the tomatoes, onions, ciliantro were chopped, the tortilla was housemade with flour, water, salt and oil.). The beans are fiber-rich, the eggs are protein-rich, the salsa is raw so it has vitamins, antioxidants and enzymes. Granted, there is not much nutritional value in cheddar cheese and the tortilla, but they were minimally processed and real (not “cheese food”). The downside is the size of the burrito… it’s HUGE (easily two meals for me)!

The hotel breakfast, on the other hand, was not only nutritionally deficient, but loaded with sugar, preservatives, trans fat and was highly refined, with exception to the hard boiled eggs and commercially grown apple. (BTW, I did wash and eat an apples before heading to the burrito place. I crave fresh fruit in the morning.) The selections they offered were assault weapons on my body and mind. If I had eaten the majority of what was offered, I would have felt like a slug ready for a nap (my body would have needed all the energy it could muster in order to digest the stuff!). Note: the hard boiled egg is healthier than scrambled egg because the yolk is not subjected to oxygen when being cooked which causes oxidation. But I’m not really one to eat cold hard-boiled eggs for breakfast.

Now, don’t get me wrong. A burrito is not health food. But some of the ingredients have some real nutritional merit to them and it is a healthier CHOICE than the highly sugared and refined hotel choices.

Eat Simple Foods Over Heavily Processed Foods

One way to help yourself eat healthier, is to choose foods that are not heavily processed. Try to eat foods that don’t come in a box or packaging that has a long list of ingredients. Eat foods that are in their natural state. If you do eat packaged foods, don’t eat those that list ingredients you wouldn’t add yourself if making it in your own kitchen.


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