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Steaks on a grill

What’s in Qdoba’s Grilled Steak?

In this new series, “Eating out: What’s in it?” we will be going over how you can figure out for yourself if something is unhealthy. Today we are taking a trip to Qdoba Mexican Eats.


1. Check the Menu

In more and more urban and developed cities, some nutrition information is being publicly displayed on the menu. Look for numbers or symbols next to the menu item.

  • “S/M 180/350 cal”     — this could be found right after a soup, indicating that the small bowl is 180 calories, while a medium is 350.
  • “GF,” “V,” or “DF”     — could all be common allergy indicators / show dietary preferences (gluten-free, vegetarian, dairy free)
  • “0g sat fat”     –there is a negligible amount of saturated fat in the food


These indicators are convenient and effective ways of narrowing down choices.


2. Go Online

If you are eating at a chain restaurant, you can almost guarantee they will have the nutritional info on their websites. Some even have ingredients, and most include a common allergen guide.

In this case we have an extensive amount of information online for all of Qdoba’s products.


  1. Go to their website
  2. On the main menu select “Menu
  3. Scroll down to the bottom of page and you will find 2 pdf files with all the nutrition, allergens, and ingredients on their entire menu


Summaries- Nutrition:

  • 180 calories for every 99g serving

It’s safe to assume one serving is roughly what they will give you.

See also: Who Decides What a Serving Size is, Anyway?

  • 26g of protein, 460mg of sodium, and 65mg of cholesterol

The protein and cholesterol content is typical of steak. If you don’t have the formula offhand, that’s roughly 22% of the RDI"Reference Daily Intake:" see post. for cholesterol.

As far as sodium goes, this would be considered over 1/4 of the “healthy daily maximum.” Best to avoid too many toppings if avoiding sodium.


  • 2g of carbohydrates, none of which is sugar or fiber

Meat is carb-free. These two grams are probably due to the sauces used in cooking.

See also: How to Understand and Apply the Nutrition Facts

  • 8g of fat, 3 of which is saturated, and 0 grams trans fat

Thankfully, there is no / a negligible amount of trans fats. Keep in mind that there are still 8 grams. Don’t think that because it’s meat without marbling that it’s 100% lean.
Our approximate macro breakdown: 39% fat, 4% carbs, 57% protein.

See also: How are Nutrients and Calories Rounded?


Summaries- Ingredients

I divided the ingredients up into a layout that is hopefully easier to understand.

Some ingredients are not in blue, those in black I’m not counting to avoid listing items twice.


  1. Beef
  2. Water
  3. Seasoning
    1. Chili Pepper
    2. Salt
    3. Corn Syrup Solids
    4. Sugar
    5. Dehydrated Garlic
    6. Dehydrated Onion
    7. Whey
    8. Spice
    9. Grill Flavor (from Vegetable Oil)
    10. Smoke Flavor
    11. Disodium Inosinat
    12. Disodium Guanylate
  4. Soybean Oil
  5. Modified Food Starch
  6. DextroseA form of glucose, a basic sugar.
  7. Bromelain
  8. Soybean Oil

Contains Milk



  • Be wary of the corn syrup used.
  • There are a couple of flavorings
  • It contains dextrose, a sweetener
  • Note the Disodium Inosinat and Disodium Guanylaye. They are flavor enhancers, like MSG.
  • There are also vegetable oils and modified food starch used.
  • Lastly, if you are unfamiliar with Bromelain, it’s a mixture of enzymes.


Be careful. This steak has more than meets the eye.

See also: Get to Know Your Nutrients


Hope this eating out tutorial / walk-through helps! More coming soon.


Thanks for reading!





Be Food Smart. Search the Food Smart Database. 15 March 2011. Accessed 24 November 2016.

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