ST Instafit Meals™: Chili
Chili in it of it’s own isn’t necessarily so bad and depending on the ingredients you use it can actually have pretty decent nutritional value. The problem with chili is that it usually is loaded with sodium. Even as I was picking out the ingredients for this ST Instafit Meal™ it wasn’t hard to get one bowl to creep up towards 50% of your sodium intake for a day if you’re not careful. I’m good for at least three bowls so I wouldn’t just be keeping it 100, I’d be going way past it! For this meal, I used low-sodium kidney beans, low-sodium tomato sauce and diced tomatoes with no salt added. That saved 625mg of sodium or 26% (this meal has 495mg of sodium or 20%) versus the regular versions. There wasn’t any low-sodium chili seasoning packet but all the options were about the same (around 400mg of sodium or 15%) so pick which ever one you want. If you can find a low-sodium version great, use it. If not, you can do what I did and use half the packet to lower the sodium content even more. You can always add other spices yourself to add more flavor. If you like hot and spicy there are plenty of options so get creative. I also added onion and green peppers to this chili…gotta get your veggies in somehow!
Most healthy versions of chili I’ve seen use ground turkey instead of ground beef. Ground beef, also known as ground chuck, is made up of 25% fat. If you’ve ever taken a look at the label of ground beef it will usually say something along the lines of “75% lean/25% fat”. Ground beef has 330 calories per 4 oz serving with 28g of fat, 11g of which is the unhealthy saturated kind. Ground turkey on the other hand, starts at 85/15 (which has 240 calories and 8g of fat per 4oz) and can get as lean as 99/1 (120 calories and 1.5g of fat per 4oz). If your trying to go healthy then use the 99/1 ground turkey. You’ll be cutting out over 200 calories and a whopping 26.5g of fat compared to ground beef. Because the general theme with the ST Instafit Meals™ series is to make meals healthier (not necessarily healthy, not that there is anything wrong with healthy), I went halfway between ground beef and extra lean ground turkey by choosing 93/7 ground beef. In case you didn’t know, there are several different fat percentage options of ground beef with 93/7 being the leanest. Surprisingly, the 93/7 ground beef had the same amount of calories and fat (170 calories and 8g of fat) as 93/7 ground turkey. Now I have no interest in starting up a debate as to whether ground turkey is actually better than ground beef so I’ll leave that up to the health and fitness extremists so for arguments sake I’ll just say they are even. Both are good, lean options for your chilli so you can’t go wrong either way.
Soo, who wants to challenge me to a healthier chilli cook-off?!
COST PER MEAL: $3.11
- 97% Lean Ground Beef (5oz): 210 calories
- Low-Sodium Kidney Beans (1/2 cup): 120 calories
- No Salt Added Diced Tomatoes (1/2 cup): 15 calories
- Chili Seasoning (1 1/3 tbsp): 30calories
- Green Pepper (1/2): 16 calories
- Onion (1/2) 8 calories
The total calories for this meal (above) is 399 calories. Depending on how many calories you should be taking in at each meal, below are some examples on how to adjust the ingredients to get your calorie count:
- 300 calories per meal: use 2.5oz of ground beef
- 350 calories per meal: use use 4oz of ground beef
- 400 calories per meal: use meal above
- 450 calories per meal: add 1oz ground beef
- 500 calories per meal: add 2oz of ground beef | add 1oz ground beef and 1/4 cup kidney beans
- Heat large saucepan on high heat
- While sauce pan is heating chop onions and green peppers
- Once sauce pan is hot add ground beef, onions and green peppers.
- As ground beef gets closed to being fully cooked add kidney beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and chili seasoning then turn heat down to medium.
- Cook chili over medium heat until it starts to boil then remove from heat
- ENJOY YOUR HEALTHIER MEAL!
To read more about ST Instafit Meals CLICK HERE.