Eating Healthy at Chili's
From SparkPeople’s Editors
Chili's is one of the largest casual dining chains in the country, with more than 1,200 restaurants. While they've pulled their 2,700-calorie Awesome Blossom from the menu (as much fat as 67 slices of bacon), there are plenty of other dishes that are almost as unhealthy. Still this Tex Mex chain known for Baby Back Ribs and Big Mouth Burgers has some better-for-you options, too.
- Every appetizer here is either fried or served with fried chips. Skip these high-fat "extras" and start your meal with a side salad or a Caesar salad with dressing served on the side.
- Entrée salads here are incredibly high in calories. The Quesadilla Explosion Salad is aptly named and has a whopping 1,270 calories and 76 g of fat. All the salads contain at least 600 calories and 40 g of fat. Your best choice is the Spicy Garlic and Lime Grilled Shrimp Salad (630 calories, 40 g fat, 1,850 mg sodium) with the dressing mixed in. You can slightly reduce this total by asking for dressing on the side and using the least amount necessary or substituting for low-fat vinaigrette or fat-free honey mustard dressing.
- Chili's offers some great Guiltless Grill menu items, so stick with these. The best overall entree is the Guiltless Cedar Plank Tilapia (199 calories, 4 g fat, 689 mg of sodium). If you are looking for a lower sodium choice, the Guiltless Grilled Salmon (396 calories, 20 g fat, 420 mg of sodium) is for you. If you are looking for a low-fat choice, the Guiltless Chicken Platter (371 calories, 2 g fat, 1,937 mg sodium) tops the list.
- A Sizzling Fajita skillet can be a great choice--if you skip the tortillas and most of the condiments and just enjoy the meat and veggies. The Classic Chicken skillet has 367 calories, 11 g of fat and 1,995 mg of sodium. If you decide to have the flour tortillas, a serving of 4 will add 480 calories, 13 g of fat and 1,290 mg of sodium. The condiments will add 210 calories, 18 g of fat and 320 mg of sodium.
- The burgers and sandwiches contain the most calories, fat and sodium on the menu, with several boasting more than 1,500 calories, 100 g of fat and 4,000 mg of sodium. Try the Fajita Pita with Chicken (455 calories, 13 g fat, 1,401 mg of sodium) instead of a burger to save calories and fat.
- Soup can be a good choice without breaking your calorie budget. The best bowls to choose from are the Southwestern Vegetable (210 calories, 8 g fat, 1,250 mg sodium) and the Chicken Noodle Soup with 120 calories, 1.5 g of fat and 1,150 mg of sodium.
- Food in restaurants, especially chains, is generally very high in sodium, and Chili's in no exception. If sodium is an issue for you, this restaurant is not a good choice for you.
- This restaurant provides nutritional info on its website.