If you’re like me, you’re already thinking about the yummy food you will eat on Super Bowl Sunday.
If you’re in need of some inspiration for what to bring this year, may I suggest one of my favorites—chili!
Chili is a classic American dish that can be super easy to make and is nearly always a crowd pleaser. It’s a type of stew that is based on a few staple ingredients (though the variations are endless). Common ingredients of chili include beans, ground meats, tomatoes, broth, chili powder, veggies, and other herbs or spices.
Why Dietitians love chili
First of all, chili is delicious! Also, because it is so versatile, it can be modified to meet a variety of food preferences and dietary needs. Chili can be gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, keto, allergy-friendly, etc. Also, did we mention that it is a one pot meal?
Chili is often made in a crockpot which means minimal dishes and it saves the oven and stovetop to be free to be used for all the other goodies. It can also be made ahead of time so it works great for meal prepping.
Some of the health benefits of chili are:
- It can be super high in fiber, due to the presence of beans and many vegetables
- Thanks to the fiber mentioned above, it is super satisfying, good for blood sugar control, and may help keep your bowels regular
- It’s high in protein, thanks to ingredients like ground turkey, cheese, and beans. This means you’ll stay full for hours and be less likely to overindulge on possible less-healthy choices
- It can be high in vitamins and minerals like iron and vitamin C, depending on the ingredients used
How to make chili
Making chili is super easy, even if you’re a beginner in the kitchen. Start with a crockpot or Instant pot and begin throwing in your favorite ingredients like drained kidney beans, veggies such as diced onion, bell peppers, and sweet potatoes, optional ground meats like turkey, vegetable or meat-based broth (or bone broth), plenty of chili powder, and as many other seasonings you like such as sea salt, black pepper, cumin, oregano, etc. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 2-4 hours until thick and heated through. Then top with desired toppings like shredded cheese, sliced avocado, sour cream, or fresh herbs and serve. Classic chili is served with cornbread, which also makes for a delicious addition.
For specific dietary preferences or restrictions for making chili, here are some tips:
- Vegan chili- Leave out the meat and cheese and use a variety of canned beans, lentils, and vegetables. Check out my yummy vegan recipe
- Paleo/keto chili- Avoid the beans and use plenty of ground meats and vegetables instead. Top with healthy fats like sliced avocado or a small portion of light sour cream or shredded cheese. Check out my delicious recipe.
- Gluten-free chili-Ensure that the broth used is gluten-free and be sure to use gluten-free cornbread if using. Consider adding in some quinoa for another gluten-free protein source if desired. Check out my tasty recipe.
Why we love chili for the Superbowl
Like any holiday, it can be difficult and even overwhelming or anxiety-producing to navigate through all the food options, which are often largely less-than-healthful ones. Instead of subsiding on only chips, dip, desserts and highly processed foods like hot dogs, chili is a great option for a balanced meal that is packed with nutrition that will satisfy appetites and help keep you warm on cold days. The ingredients in chili can also help reduce sugar and fat cravings, so you’re less likely to overindulge.