Macro-Friendly Chili

Not only is this macro-friendly chili recipe bursting with flavor, but it’s also one of the most convenient recipes to meal prep!

Cook up a storm with this super versatile recipe! Brown your choice of lean beef or ground turkey, then chop and mix in your favorite veggies. Add some beans for extra flavor and let it simmer in the slow cooker – simple yet delicious!

Why You Will Love This Macro-Friendly Chili  

High protein provides 25-50 grams per serving (depending on the serving size.)

Easy to make – 15-20 min prep and let cook for 1-4 hours in a crockpot 

Meal prepping has never been easier – prepare one dish, and you can consume it for up to 6-8 meals! 

Healthy carbs – beans are loaded with fiber, providing plenty of energy throughout the day 

Easy to add more veggies – Swap veggies and add more

High in fiber – This chili recipe provides 32% of the daily fiber requirements for women and 48% of fiber requirements for men. 

What are the macros for chili?

Calories:Protein:Carbs:Fat:Fiber:
32625 grams 37 grams9 grams12 grams

What you need to make this chili recipe

Check out the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the exact ingredients and instructions.

Ground turkey – I like to use lean ground turkey to help keep the saturated fat low and protein high. I prefer a 99% or 97% lean ground turkey, but I’ll also use a 93% if that is all I can find. 

White onion – To add flavor to the ground turkey, dice and sauté half of an onion. This is optional, but I highly recommend it because it offers so much flavor. 

Red and green bell pepper – I like to use bell peppers as one of my veggies for this macro-friendly chili. I will also add other veggies like zucchini and sweet potato. 

Canned diced tomatoes – Utilizing canned tomatoes expedites the meal preparation process for this recipe, making it a breeze! One less veggie to chop.

Canned red kidney beans –  Red kidney beans are a great source of fiber and protein to help keep you full.

Canned black beans – like kidney beans, black beans are a good source of fiber, carbs, and protein which will help keep you full!

Canned corn – This macro-friendly chili gets a delicious boost from adding flavorful, textured canned corn.

Olive oil – I recommend adding a tablespoon of olive oil to ensure our low-fat turkey is juicy and doesn’t stick to the pan. Plus, you limit the total saturated fat intake by using olive oil instead of higher-fat ground meat. 

Fresh garlic – Sauteed with the onions,  garlic adds a savory and robust flavor to the chili.

Seasoning – Chili powder, Onion powder, Cumin, Paprika, White Flour. You can also use pre-portioned or pre-packaged chili seasoning. 

Variations 

Protein

Instead of using lean ground turkey, you can use ground beef. Now with that being said, I would encourage you to choose lean ground beef to limit the total saturated fat. When I exchanged the ground turkey (93/7) in Cronometer with ground beef (15/85), the total saturated fat increased by 3 grams. 

Vegetarian Macro-Friendly Chili

Making a vegetarian chili high in protein is possible by using a meat alternative like the Quorn product. You can also use extra beans and lentils instead of ground turkey. 

Legumes

Instead of black beans and kidney beans, you can substitute a variety of other beans: pinto, white northern, navy beans, etc. You can also swap the canned corn for fresh sweet potatoes or a mix of fresh and frozen peppers. 

Vegetables

As a dietitian, I always encourage folks to eat more vegetables. With chili, you can easily add more from the get-go. You can swap out peppers for other veggies like kale, mushrooms, squash, and zucchini.

Instructions 

To help, I created a Youtube video on how to make this macro-friendly chili.

Step One:

Heat a large pan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

Step Two:

2. Once the oil is hot, add diced onions and garlic, and sauté for 3-4 minutes until softening. 

Step Three:

3. Add ground turkey to the pan, breaking it into small pieces with a wooden spoon.

Step Four:

4. Cook the ground meat until it’s browned and cooked, about 7-10 minutes. 

Step Five:

5. Add diced tomatoes, red kidney beans, black beans, corn, and seasonings in a crock pot. Mix everything so that it’s well combined. 

Step Six:

6. Transfer the ground turkey, onions, and garlic to the crockpot and mix again

Step Seven:

7. Add your veggies (green and red bell pepper) to the crockpot, mix well, and cook on medium to high for 2-4 hours. 

Macro-Friendly Chili Toppings

Because we focus on creating a macro-friendly chili, we can top it with various high-protein and low-saturated fat toppings. The following are the toppings that I like to use.

Greek yogurt: For a more protein-packed and lower-fat alternative to sour cream, try substituting Greek yogurt. Not only does it provide a zesty, creamy flavor, but adds an extra boost of nutrition that your meal needs.

Sliced avocado: Avocado is high in healthy fats and fiber, making it an excellent topping for chili.

Jalapeño peppers: For an extra kick of heat, try jalapeños.

Shredded cheese: Try topping your chili with shredded cheese for a cheesy kick. I recommend using reduced-fat or low-fat cheese to keep the calorie and saturated fat levels low. 

Green onions: For an extra flavor boost, add some chopped green onions. 

Sliced tomatoes: Top with chopped tomatoes for a fresh and slightly acidic flavor. 

Fresh cilantro: A sprinkle of fresh cilantro adds a bright, herby flavor to your chili. 

Lime juice: A squeeze of lime juice helps to bring out the flavor of all your ingredients. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can chili be healthy?

Although chili has a bad reputation for being “unhealthy,” it can, in fact, be highly nutritious. The classic preparation of ground beef, sour cream, and cheese does contain high levels of saturated fats – yet there are various ways to make healthy alternatives! 

Switching out the ground beef for a lean ground turkey or lentils, swapping the sour cream with low-fat greek yogurt, and choosing a reduced-fat cheese are some easy solutions that yield great taste while still being low in saturated fats.

What is the healthiest meat to put in chili?

If you want to make your chili as healthy as possible, choose meat low in saturated fat. Lean ground turkey, lean ground chicken, and extra-lean ground beef are all excellent choices.

Is a bowl of chili good for weight loss?

Chili is an excellent option for those seeking weight loss goals! It contains high-fiber beans, which help keep you feeling full longer, and its hearty protein content helps build muscle and reduce hunger.

What are the healthiest beans for chili?

Black beans, pinto beans, and kidney beans are all excellent choices for chili. These beans contain high fiber, protein, iron, and other essential vitamins and minerals. Additionally, they can help lower cholesterol levels and keep you feeling full for long periods.

What are the healthiest beans for chili?

Many chili recipes use two ingredients that contribute to its carb content beans and brown sugar.  Beans are high in carbohydrates and contain dietary fiber, something that is essential to a healthy diet. Brown sugar adds sweetness to the chili and its total carb content. To reduce chili’s overall carb and calorie content, use leaner cuts of meat and skip the brown sugar.

Tips for Meal Prepping This Recipe 

Tip #1: Food Safety. 

Always keep your cooked chili refrigerated and in an air-tight container. Cooked chili should last for about 4 days in the fridge.

Tip #2: Use a Crock-Pot or Slow Cooker. 

Preparing chili in the slow cooker will help to infuse all the flavors together, and it takes the hassle out of standing over a hot stove.

Tip #3: Freeze Your Chili. 

You can freeze your chili in small portions to make meal-prepping more manageable. Take advantage of batch prepping and storing large portions in the freezer – they’ll last 3-6 months! When you’re ready to consume, defrost and rewarm your meal.

Tip #4: Leave Topping On The Side. 

When you’re ready to enjoy your chili, don’t forget to warm it up. I highly recommend adding some yogurt, green onions, or avocado on the side, as these items do not microwave well – in my opinion.

Don’t forget: 

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Bowl of macro-friendly chili on a white cutting board with the letter N

Macro-Friendly Chili

Noah Quezada RDN
Quick easy high protein & macro-freindly chili recipe
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 8 Servings
Calories 327 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Crock pot You can also use a stove top and a large cooking pot.
  • 1 Chef knife You can by pre-chopped vegetables
  • 1 Cooking pan/ skillet

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb Ground turkey 93/7
  • 1 medium White onion Chopped
  • 1 medium Red bell pepper Chopped
  • 1 medium Green bell pepper Chopped
  • 1 15 oz Canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz Canned black beans No salt added
  • 1 15 oz Canned red kidney beans No salt added
  • 1 15 oz Canned Corn
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2-3 Cloves Fresh garlic Chopped
  • 1 tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tbsp Paprika
  • 1 tbsp Cumin
  • 1 tbsp White All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tbsp Onion Powder

Instructions
 

  • Heat a large pan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  • Add diced onions and garlic, and sauté for 3-4 minutes
  • Add ground turkey to the pan, breaking it into small pieces
  • Cook the ground meat until it's browned and cooked, about 7-10 minutes.
  • Add diced tomatoes, red kidney beans, black beans, corn, and seasonings in a crock pot.
  • Transfer the ground turkey, onions, and garlic to the crockpot.
  • Add your veggies (green and red bell pepper) to the crockpot, mix well.
  • cook on medium to high for 2-4 hours.

Notes

Noah Quezada is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist located in Denver, Colorado. Over the course of more than a decade, he has gained extensive experience in helping clients manage their weight through in-person sessions. Noah is also the 2023 President of the Colorado Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

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