What’s not to love about chili? It’s warm, hearty, comforting, and easily adaptable to even the pickiest eater! But if you’re thinking that chili only functions as a greasy cheat meal, we’ve got some news for you! Chili can make for an incredibly healthy and nutritious meal!
For starters, chilies are full of protein. If you make a meaty chili, you’ve got an obvious source of protein but any beans you add, like black beans, kidney beans, or chickpeas, boost the quantity of this important macronutrient! These meats and beans also provide you with a great source of iron!
The peppers you put in your chili, like red chilies, jalapenos, and bell peppers, contain vitamin C which not only boosts your immunity but helps your body absorb the nonheme iron found in plant sources like beans, lentils, and greens. These peppers also contain vitamin A which can give you an extra boost during cold and flu season and helps to maintain your bones, skin, eyes, and soft tissues. Including ingredients like carrots, squash, sweet potatoes or other vegetables high in beta-carotene can boost these vitamin A levels. Beta-carotene gets converted to vitamin A in the body and acts as an important antioxidant, protecting your cells from harmful free radicals.
If you’re looking to lose weight, chili may be a useful meal option for you! The peppers and chillies you use in your chili contain capsaicin. Capsaicin is what boosts the heat in your food and causes your metabolism to increase, helping you to burn more calories. Capsaicin reduces your cravings for fatty and sugary foods, and helps you to avoid overeating.
So when you find yourself craving a little chili, give in! Pack it full of healthy ingredients, spice it to suit your tastes and dig in! You’re only limited by your imagination. And for those days when you’re not feeling like putting thought into dinner, give one of these creative recipes a whirl — you’ll be glad you did!
For more quick, easy, healthy meal ideas, check out the BodyRock Meal Plan!
What’s your secret to a killer chili? Share your tips with us!