Healthier chili recipe

by: Ali B, RD

In my house, chili is a hearty comfort food consumed in the fall and winter months. While chili isn’t necessarily bad for you, some bowls can add up to over 700 calories after toppings are added. While working with clients who are following detox diets we found that chili can be part of a healthy diet!

A few tips for keeping your chili “lean” include:

  • Watching your toppings: high-fat toppings like sour cream and cheese should be limited (or avoided if you can’t resist the temptation). There are plenty of other add-ins that can bring variety to your chili. Check out a few of our favorites here.
  • Choose a lean meat: at Feed Your Vitality we use 97% lean ground beef. Choose the leanest meat you can find at the store, or make sure to remove the fat from your pan before using.
  • Cut carbs: you can GREATLY reduce the carb content in your chili by eliminating the beans. We often have customers tell us that they don’t even miss the beans in our hearty chili.

Here is a basic chili recipe that has 165 calories per serving and can be eaten even on the most strict phases of diet plans.

chili-con-carne

Chili Con Carne

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef (97/3 if possible)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 6 cups diced tomatoes with juice (canned tomatoes are fine to use, just make sure there is no sugar added)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Brown beef with onions and spices over medium-high heat.
    Tip: if you do not have lean meat, brown the meat in a separate pan and drain before adding to onions.
  2. Reduce heat to medium, add tomatoes, and mix thoroughly.
  3. Simmer for 1 hour and adjust seasonings to taste.

Again, for more variety try including some of our favorite add-ins, listed here. Foods that are incorporated into the dish can be added with the tomatoes to simmer. Toppings should be added when the chili is served.

smoky-butternut-chili

Smoky Butternut Chili – includes butternut squash, green chilies, and smoked paprika. Topped with green onion.

turkey-chili

Turkey Chili – made with lean ground turkey instead of beef. Incorporates sweet potato, roasted poblano peppers, roasted red peppers, lime juice, and Mexican seasoning.

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5 Ways to Kick Off a Super Healthy Bowl of Chili

chili blogIf the Super Bowl is practically a national holiday, then chili would be its traditional meal. Everyone has their favorite chili recipe, and so we thought we’d offer up a few suggestions to make your bowl a little more paleo (anti-inflammatory) friendly. Yes, you would have to leave out the beans and any other inflammatory ingredients or toppings. But how about trying one (or more) of these delicious options to take their place?

1) Butternut Squash  Besides tasting great, this squash is known as a food that can actually help reduce inflammation in your body. So roast up some squash and toss it in with the chili. (Here’s how if you’ve never roasted squash before!)

Roasted Squash

2 lbs butternut squash (peel it, seed it and cut into chunks)

2 Tablespoons olive oil

Sea salt

Preheat oven to 425. Mix the butternut squash chunks in a bowl with the oil and a bit of sea salt. Spread the pieces on a baking sheet lined with foil.   Put in the oven, and turn the chunks every 10 minutes or so while baking – cook until brown and tender (about 30 – 35 minutes)

2) Sweet Potato  Same idea as the squash – roast it up and toss it in. Also, sweet potatoes are a good source of magnesium, which is known as the relaxation and anti-stress mineral (great for if you are a Seahawks or Patriots fan and the game is a close one!)

3) Avocado with cilantro and lime   This trio of toppings will not only taste great, but avocados keep your heart healthy and are high in the “good” fat which lowers your blood sugar level.

4) If you prefer White Chicken Chili to traditional red spicy chili, try adding in some cauliflower – we love cauliflower because its omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin K help keep chronic inflammation down…and we are all about reducing inflammation.

5)   Portabella Mushrooms and Colored Peppers Portabella mushrooms are not only a great source of selenium, copper and niacin, they are also very low in calories.   The peppers are also low in calories and high in vitamin C (especially red peppers) which can strengthen your immune system among other benefits!

So put on the chili, pour a gluten free beer, and enjoy the big game. Unfortunately at $4 million for a 30 second spot, you won’t see any Feed Your Vitality commercials during the broadcast (not quite in our marketing budget) but we wanted you to know that we’re thinking of you!