Quesadillas are a simple, delicious meal, and can be very versatile.
A cheese quesadilla, requires only three ingredients; a flour tortilla, cheese, and oil!
While they are incredibly easy to whip up, they aren’t exactly healthy, given that they are loaded with cheese.
Many people wonder how calorific these quesadillas are, and given their size, they are pretty high in calories, and not always the healthy kind.
However, if you choose the right ingredients, you can transform this from an unhealthy option, to quite a nutritious meal that can be tailored to your needs!
You can make cheese, chicken, pork, and even breakfast quesadillas!
This article will be discussing how many calories are in a cheese quesadilla, and what you can do to make them healthier.
What Is A Quesadilla?
A quesadilla is a Mexican dish that consists of one or two tortillas filled with cheese, and sometimes protein, and then heated on a pan or skillet.
They can be extra cheesy, filled with meats, and even spicy!
They are very convenient and easy to make at home, and some people enjoy filling them with their favorite breakfast foods and making their own little breakfast quesadillas!
How Many Calories Are In A Cheese Quesadilla?
According to several recipes, cheese quesadillas are made with two flour tortillas, cheese (Monterey Jack, or queso blanco), and oil for frying (canola oil, as an example).
Each tortilla has 146 calories, so there are 292 calories in the tortillas alone.
Then, canola oil has 124 calories in 1 tablespoon. Monterey Jack cheese has 211 calories, and queso blanco has slightly less, at 183.
Therefore, if your cheese quesadilla is made with Monterey Jack cheese it’ll reach around 627 calories, and 599 calories if you used queso blanco.
If you were to add some protein and veggies, such as chicken and peppers, then the calories would increase.
Nutritional Value Of A Quesadilla
The nutrients you can find in a quesadilla will heavily depend on what fillings you choose to use.
When looking at a cheese quesadilla, you’re getting quite a lot of sodium and calcium.
Each tortilla has 80 milligrams of calcium, and Monterey Jack cheese has 421 milligrams, and queso blanco has 407 milligrams.
1000 milligrams of calcium a day, is what individuals should strive for in order to keep teeth and bones healthy.
Therefore, quesadillas can provide you with half of your daily calcium needs!
However, when it comes to sodium, you want to limit your intake.
You should not consume more than 2300 milligrams of sodium per day.
Each tortilla has around 364 milligrams, and Monterey Jack cheese has 339 milligrams.
Queso blanco has the most, at 415 milligrams in just half a cup.
Therefore, all of these ingredients combined, makes for quite a lot of sodium, which ideally, you’d like to avoid.
How To Make Your Quesadilla Healthier
While making your quesadilla healthier may not necessarily reduce the amount of calories in it, it’ll make it more nutritious, providing your body with the essential vitamins and minerals it needs to function.
Below are a few ways you can transform this meal to a healthy one!
Transforming your quesadilla into a healthy meal begins with choosing a healthy base.
Instead of white flour tortillas that tend to be very refined and processed, choose whole wheat tortillas.
Be sure to check the ingredients label to make sure they are 100% whole grain and don’t have any white flour in them.
You can also choose gluten-free tortillas. These are often made with brown rice flour, millet, or quinoa.
Choosing a whole grain tortilla may not reduce the calories of the tortilla itself, but it will ensure that you are getting more fiber in your diet.
There are several health benefits to eating fiber, some include, preventing constipation, and regulating your blood sugar levels.
So, we already know that a plain cheese quesadilla can reach up to over 600 calories.
However, there’s barely any nutritional value to a cheese quesadilla, so adding some healthy, nutritious fillings will, yes, increase the calories, but will also add more nutrients to your meal!
You can add some lean proteins, delicious veggies, and some heart-healthy fats!
Protein is essential for your diet. It supports muscle growth, cell rejuvenation, and keeps you full and energized for longer.
You can add some lean, shredded chicken to your quesadilla, some shredded pork, or some beef that has been cut up into little pieces.
You can make this extra delicious by marinating your meat in your favorite flavors and seasonings!
If you’re making a breakfast quesadilla, you can even add some eggs in the form of an omelette, or some sausage.
Vegetables are a must when it comes to your quesadillas, we highly recommend ones such as onions and peppers!
If you’re making a breakfast option, then onions, peppers, and some spinach will go a long way, as well as some mushrooms and tomatoes!
Unsaturated fats, such as avocados, as opposed to saturated fats, such as butter, are very good for you and can lower your risk of developing cholesterol issues in your blood, and can also reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
If you’re making a breakfast quesadilla, then spreading some mashed avocado before adding your fillings will really make it pop!
If you’re opting more a lunch or dinner option, then making your own guacamole so you can dip your quesadilla into it, is another way to go!
To conclude, a cheese quesadilla can contain more than 600 calories, but very little nutrition.
While adding more fillings to your quesadilla will add more calories to it, it’ll add more vitamins and minerals to your meal, resulting in a healthier option.
Things to take into consideration are the tortilla itself, such as opting for a whole wheat option, so you are getting more fiber, and also including more protein, veggies, and healthy fats in the filling.