Super Healthy Chili

It would be a safe bet to assume most people who are hosting a Super Bowl party will have chili on the menu. And you can be sure that no two of them will be exactly alike.

That’s the way it is with my chili. Some has meat. Some doesn’t. Some has beans. Some doesn’t. Some is tomato-based. Some isn’t.

In my versions that have meat, it could be ground or chunked, preferably bison, venison or elk. Sometimes, it’s chicken or pheasant. And if it’s a chili with beans, they could be kidney, red, black, garbanzo, navy or pinto.

As you can see, I believe in variety.

Another thing that’s important to me is eating healthy, which brings me to an interesting chili recipe that came via e-mail from registered and licensed dietitian Susan Burke March, author of "Making Weight Control Second Nature: Living Thin Naturally." 

Susan is a certified diabetes educator who has authored more than 400 articles, has served as chief clinical nutrition manager at Mount Sinai Hospital in Queens, N.Y.,  is a media spokesperson for the Florida Dietetic Association and recently completed a two-year elected position as secretary for the Weight Management Dietetic Practice Group, a professional practice group of the American Dietetic Association.

Along with the chili recipe, Susan offered some tips for healthy football-friendly fare if you’re planning a Super Bowl get-together. Among them:

  • Always choose baked chips instead of fried. Tortilla chips and potato chips come in different baked flavors and saves up to 30 percent of the calories of fried chips. Fat-free or reduced fat does not mean calorie free … watch your portion size.
  • Serve bean dip instead of regular sour cream dip. Only 46 calories per 3 tablespoons compared with more than double for full-fat sour cream.
  • Nuts are nutritious, but they add up quickly. Serve a giant bowl of air-popped popcorn sprayed with butter-flavored cooking spray and sprinkled with dehydrated butter granules … such as Butter Buds or Molly McButter. This is delicious with only 60 calories for 3 cups, only a trace of fat and about 10 grams of sodium. You save 280 calories, 28 grams of fat and 330 milligrams of sodium over the regular microwave popcorn.
  • Replace fried mozzarella sticks with chicken skewers. They’re really popular and always great party food. You can buy them already prepared (especially at warehouse grocers) and save 188 calories, 9 grams of fat and 546 milligrams of sodium over the same sized portion of fried cheese.
  • Serve a healthy submarine sandwich. Whole-wheat hero rolls give you that extra added fiber and nutrition (not to mention taste!) compared to white bread. Layer on turkey breast, lean roast beef or lean ham, shredded lettuce and tomato slices; slice into 2-inch portions and serve with sliced onions and pickles.
  • Keep the calories low by using low-fat mayonnaise and naturally low-calorie ketchup and mustard. Fat-free dressings should be offered … the new varieties are so good, you won’t miss the fat.
  • Imbibe with caution, because those brews add up! One regular beer ranges between 150 to 200 calories; instead serve light beer … only about 100 calories per bottle. A 5-ounce glass of wine has about 100 calories, as does one ounce of alcoholic spirits such as vodka, gin or scotch. Serve a variety of diet sodas, flavored club sodas and keep a big cooler with individual bottles of spring water.
  • Don’t forget … substituting juice for regular soda is like substituting regular sour cream for mayonnaise … you’re not going to save calories. An 8-ounce glass of juice, unsweetened, has about 120 calories. Offer club soda with a splash of 100 percent juice and a piece of fresh lemon or lime for a lower calorie refreshing beverage.
  • Dips: Any dried dip mix will do, but instead of regular sour cream, add ½ cup of nonfat sour cream, ½ cup of nonfat mayonnaise and ¾ cup of diced fresh tomatoes, ¼ cup of chopped green onion and ¼ cup of chopped ripe olives, rinsed and drained. Mix and refrigerate for ½ hour before serving.
  • Crudites: Everyone like crunchy veggies, especially with a tasty dip. Buy prewashed and cut-up veggies and you’re ready to go … zero prep time.

Here is Susan’s chili recipe, which looks like a winner.

Susan’s Weight-Wise Chili
1 pound 97 percent lean ground beef or turkey or firm tofu, drained
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green pepper, seeded and diced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 28-ounce can tomato puree (no salt added)
1 15 ounce-can each kidney beans, white beans and pinto beans-rinsed and drained
3 small-medium baking potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
2 tablespoons chili powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
2 cups water
In a large, nonstick saucepan over low-medium high heat, heat olive oil. Add garlic and cook until just softened.
Add the onion and pepper and cook 2 more minutes; then add the ground meat or crumble in the tofu: cook about 5 minutes.
Drain off fat if using meat; add pureed tomatoes, canned beans, potatoes, seasonings and water.
Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for approximately 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
For thinner chili, add a cup of broth, wine or water.
Serve with a tossed salad.

One thought on “Super Healthy Chili

  1. Thanks for picking up my recipe, Jeff! I’ve been working on fritattas lately. Made a great one yesterday, perfect for a party too. Collards, mushrooms, onions, garlic, a few artichoke hearts too.


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