Portneuf Health Partners

October 30th, 2017

It’s Getting Chili!

By Eva Sorrentino, MS, RD, LD

Chili is a great, hearty, warm dish for this time of year and the good news is that chili can be a very healthy dish if you do it right. It can warm you up right and fuel your day. Typically, chili is made with ground meat, beans, and tomatoes. Garnishes include cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips. In addition to the many colorful toppings, chili pars well with corn bread.

Here are a few tips to help make chili a bit more heathy:

  • Ground meat-chose a lean ground meat such as fat free ground turkey or ground beef that is at least 93% lean. Try browning it in a separate pan and drain it on a paper towel before adding to the pot to help soak up all that additional fat. You can also skip the meat all together and just go for a veggie chili.
  • Beans-beans have an array of health benefits, whether you chose black, navy, pinto, or chili beans; they are a great source of fiber, B-vitamins, and protein. If you use canned beans, drain all the liquid and rinse them under the faucet to remove the sodium before tossing them in the pot.
  • Tomatoes-No changes needed here, tomatoes are a great source of antioxidants and vitamin C.
  • Veggies-get creative and add some extra veggies in to your chili like zucchini, carrots, onions, peas, cauliflower, or bell peppers to add extra texture and vitamins
  • Toppings-instead of high fat, salty toppings, try fat-free sour cream, avocado for good fats, extra veggies like diced scallions, and baked tortilla strips instead of fried.
  • Think outside the box-try adding a can of pumpkin for extra vitamin A, antioxidants and fiber, make corncake pancakes to top the bowl, try a different kind of bean or legume


Turkey Chili

hearty bowl of chili con carneIngredients

6 Servings

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. canola or corn oil
  • 1 medium or large onion, chopped
  • 20 oz. ground, skinless turkey breast
  • 2 large garlic cloves (minced)OR
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 15.5 oz. canned, no-salt-added pinto beans (rinsed, drained)
  • 15.5 oz. canned, no-salt-added black beans (rinsed, drained)
  • 14.5 oz. canned, no-salt-added, diced tomatoes (undrained)
  • 1 3/4 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup frozen whole-kernel corn
  • 6 oz. canned, no-salt-added tomato paste
  • 4 medium green onions ((green part only), sliced)


  • Lightly spray a Dutch oven with cooking spray. Add the oil and heat over medium-high heat, swirling to coat the bottom. Cook the onion for 3 minutes, or until soft, stirring occasionally.
  • Reduce the heat to medium. Stir in the turkey. Cook for 5 minutes, or until browned, stirring frequently to turn and break up the turkey.
  • Stir in the garlic, chili powder, pepper, and cumin. Stir in the remaining ingredients except the green onions. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until heated through, stirring frequently. Just before serving, sprinkle with the green onions.
Sources: Recipe from the American Heart Association.