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HG's Updated Chili's Survival Guide!
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HG's Updated Chili's Survival Guide!

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03.30.12
 
 

We thought it was time to revisit the den of zesty, fast-casual temptation known as Chili's. Before you dine, study up on this need-to-know info...

HG Heads-Up: The sodium content of the food at Chili's and similar chain restaurants is often pretty high. If you're watching your salt, you may want to shy away from restaurants like this.

 
  Essential Beginning-of-the-Meal Tips


The appetizers are bad news.
Trust us -- the only thing with less than 700 calories and under 50g fat per order is the Fried Cheese. That's hardly a smart starter.

Get in the house! The regular house salad, without dressing, has 150 calories and 6g fat. (See our dressing picks in the Salad Menu section below.) Skip the cheese and croutons, and it'll be even lighter. This is your best bet to start off your meal.

Keep away from those chips! They might seem reasonable because they're served with salsa and aren't bogged down with cheese but, um, THEY'RE NOT. These sneaky tostada chips clock in at 1,020 calories and 51g fat!

 
 
 
  The Soup Scoop

While the calorie counts per cup aren't disastrous (160 - 210 calories), the fat content in Chili's soup lineup is a bit high for us (10 - 15g per cup). A bowl clocks in at 330 - 410 calories and 20 - 30g fat. However, since there are SO many nutritional grenades on the menu, you could do worse. The lightest pick is the Southwest Chicken & Sausage (PointsPlus® value 4* per cup).

 
  Is the Salad Menu Safe?

The short answer is no; the helpful answer is "only if you make special requests." Overall, ditch fatty extras like cheese, tortilla strips, and croutons. Dealing with the dressing is key -- try the no-fat honey mustard (70 calories) or low-fat ranch (80 calories and 5g fat); then dip, don't pour. Don't be fooled by the health halo of vinaigrette -- the citrus balsamic packs 250 calories and 25g fat! And if you wanna get zesty, use salsa.

HG Pick: Caribbean Salad with Grilled Chicken (No Dressing)
1 order without dressing: 410 calories, 8g fat, 570mg sodium, 52g carbs, 6g fiber, sugars n.a., 34g protein -- PointsPlus® value 10*

If ordered as is, this salad includes 200 calories and 17g fat worth of honey-lime salad dressing! Get a 50-calorie side of salsa or one of the aforementioned dressing picks instead.

HG Shocker! Just say no to the Quesadilla Explosion Salad -- 1,300 calories and 86g fat! Click here for a make-at-home swap. And check out the next section for another smart salad find.

 
 
  Your EntrĂ©e Friends: The Lighter Choices Menu

These are pretty much the most sensible selections offered. But they could still use some tweaking...

Grilled Chicken Salad
1 order: 420 calories, 22g fat, 660mg sodium, 21g carbs, 5g fiber, sugars n.a., 38g protein -- PointsPlus® value 11*

To slim it down even more, skip the cheese and/or swap out that dastardly honey-lime vinaigrette for something lighter.

Lighter Choice Grilled Chicken Sandwich
1 order: 610 calories, 13g fat, 1,320mg sodium, 78g carbs, 8g fiber, sugars n.a., 43g protein -- PointsPlus® value 15*

If you eat this open-faced and ditch half the bun, you'll save about 180 calories and 4.5g fat. Nice!

Lighter Choice Santa Fe Chicken Wrap

1 order: 680 calories, 25g fat, 2,120mg sodium, 80g carbs, 8g fiber, sugars n.a., 37g protein -- PointsPlus® value 18*

They're going to try to give you a side of ranch with this -- don't take it! Nixing it will bring your meal's total down to 500 calories and 6g fat (PointsPlus® value 13*).

Sweet & Spicy Chicken
1 order: 670 calories, 18g fat, 2,740mg sodium, 95g carbs, 6g fiber, sugars n.a., 37g protein -- PointsPlus® value 18*

Not the lightest item around, but if you've gotta have it, request double broccoli instead of rice. Just ask nicely!

Lighter Choice 6 oz. Classic Sirloin
1 order: 260 calories, 7g fat, 1,630mg sodium, 14g carbs, 4g fiber, sugars n.a., 40g protein -- PointsPlus® value 7*

Topped with pico de gallo and served with broccoli. PERFECT.

Lighter Choice Grilled Salmon
1 order: 480 calories, 17g fat, 1,590mg sodium, 37g carbs, 5g fiber, sugars n.a., 49g protein -- PointsPlus® value 12*

Includes rice and broccoli -- ditch the rice and boost the broc for fewer calories and more fiber.

Margarita Grilled Chicken

1 order: 550 calories, 14g fat, 1,870mg sodium, 62g carbs, 8g fiber, sugars n.a., 46g protein -- PointsPlus® value 14*

If you want to save some fat and calories, skip the rice and tortilla strips. You'll still have plenty of chicken and beans to fill you up.

 
  The Dish on Sides

Here's the breakdown...

Calorie Bargain! Black Beans - 100 calories, 1g fat, 620mg sodium, 18g carbs, 5g fiber, sugars n.a., 6g protein -- PointsPlus® value 2*

Cinnamon Apples - 280 calories, 11g fat, 130mg sodium, 48g carbs, 9g fiber, sugars n.a., 0g protein -- PointsPlus® value 7*

Cole Slaw - 240 calories, 20g fat, 490mg sodium, 15g carbs, 2g fiber, sugars n.a., 1g protein -- PointsPlus® value 7*

Calorie Bust! Homestyle Fries
- 380 calories, 13g fat, 1,210mg sodium, 61g carbs, 6g fiber, sugars n.a., 4g protein -- PointsPlus® value 10*

Calorie Bust! Loaded Mashed Potatoes - 390 calories, 25g fat, 1,160mg sodium, 28g carbs, 3g fiber, sugars n.a., 13g protein -- PointsPlus® value 10*

Mashed Potatoes with Black Pepper Gravy - 280 calories, 15g fat, 1,300mg sodium, 31g carbs, 3g fiber, sugars n.a., 4g protein -- PointsPlus® value 7*

Rice - 190 calories, 7g fat, 580mg sodium, 30g carbs, 1g fiber, sugars n.a., 3g protein -- PointsPlus® value 5*

Calorie Bargain! Steamed Broccoli
- 80 calories, 6g fat, 490mg sodium, 6g carbs, 3g fiber, sugars n.a., 3g protein -- PointsPlus® value 2*

Sweet Corn on the Cob - 200 calories, 7g fat, 420mg sodium, 32g carbs, 3g fiber, sugars n.a., 5g protein -- PointsPlus® value 5*

 
 
 
  SHOCKERS! The 2,000+ Calories Club

On a menu packed with crazy-high stats, these are the worst of the worst...

Southern Smokehouse Bacon Burger - 2,290 calories (PointsPlus® value 61*)

Texas Cheese Fries with Chili - 2,120 calories (PointsPlus® value 57*)

Original BBQ Ribs - 2,170 calories (PointsPlus® value 57*)

Shiner Bock BBQ Ribs - 2,310 calories (PointsPlus® value 61*)

Big Mouth Bites - 2,120 calories (PointsPlus® value 57*)

Jalapeño Smokehouse Bacon Burger - 2,210 calories (PointsPlus® value 59*)

 
  "But HG, what about dessert?"

No safe desserts here, Snookums. Head home and nibble on your favorite guilt-free sweets there. Click here for some of our latest recipes, and click here for some sweet store-bought treats!

 
 
Pass this to all the Chili's superfans in your life -- click "Send to a Friend" now!
CHEW ON THIS:

Today, March 30th, is National Turkey Neck Soup Day. We're partial to chicken soup, so we suggest making some Hungry Chick Chunky Soup. Feel free to use turkey breast instead of chicken!

Click here for a printable, text-only version of this page.

We may have received free samples of food, which in no way influences whether these products are reviewed favorably, unfavorably, mentioned with indifference, or mentioned at all. Click for more about our editorial and advertising policies.


*The PointsPlus® values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe or its manufacturer or developer by Weight Watchers International, Inc., the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark.

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