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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 -- there is not one item with less than 700 calories and under 50g fat per order. That's hardly a smart start.

Get in the house! The regular house salad, without dressing, has 80 calories and 3.5g 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 910 calories and 45g fat!

 
 
 
  The Soup Scoop

While the calorie counts per cup aren't disastrous (120 - 250 calories), the fat content in Chili's soup lineup is a bit high for us (5 - 16g per cup). A bowl clocks in at 240 - 480 calories and 11 - 33g fat. However, since there are SO many nutritional grenades on the menu, you could do worse. The lightest pick is the Southwest Chicken. The Original Chili is not included in the above, with 400 calories and 27 grams of fat for a cup it is best to skip it.

 
  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 -- ask if they have any no-fat or low-fat options (not all do). 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: 490 calories, 10g total fat (1.6g sat fat), 960mg sodium, 73g carbs, 8g fiber, 59g sugars, 32g protein  

Freestyle Smartpoints value 19

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 -- 1,400 calories and 93g 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 Guiltless Grill Menu

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

Grilled Chicken Salad
1 order: 430 calories, 23g total fat (6g sat fat), 1,140mg sodium, 22g carbs, 4g fiber, 11g sugars, 36g protein 

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


Mango-Chile Chicken
1 order: 490 calories, 19g total fat (3.5g sat fat), 1,710mg sodium, 49g carbs, 7g fiber, 12g sugars, 34g protein 

Topped with mango glazw, mango pico, and avocado. To save calories, request double broccoli instead of rice. Just ask nicely!

6 oz. Classic Sirloin with Grilled Avocado
1 order: 420 calories, 21g total fat (5g sat fat), 1,540mg sodium, 23g carbs, 6g fiber, 7g sugars, 39g protein 

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

Ancho Salmon
1 order: 630 calories, 30g total fat (6g sat fat), 1,850mg sodium, 42g carbs, 5g fiber, 5g sugars n.a, 48g protein 

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

Margarita Grilled Chicken

1 order: 630 calories, 30g fat, 2,550mg sodium, 67g carbs, 7g fiber, 9g sugars, 53g protein 

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 - 120 calories, 1g total fat (0g sat fat), 710mg sodium, 20g carbs, 6g fiber, 2g sugars, 7g protein 


Cole Slaw - 240 calories, 19g total fat (3.5g sat fat), 260mg sodium, 11g carbs, 1g fiber, 10g sugars, 1g protein 

Calorie Bust! Homestyle Fries
- 420 calories, 17g total fat (2.5 sat fat), 660mg sodium, 60g carbs, 5g fiber, 0g sugars, 6g protein 

Calorie Bust! Loaded Mashed Potatoes - 380 calories, 23g total fat (7g sat fat), 1,020mg sodium, 32g carbs, 4g fiber, 2g sugars, 11g protein 


Mexican Rice - 160 calories, 4.5g total fat (1g sat fat), 480mg sodium, 27g carbs, 1g fiber, 1g sugars, 3g protein 

Calorie Bargain! Steamed Broccoli
- 40 calories, 0g total fat (0g sat fat), 360mg sodium, 8g carbs, 4g fiber, 2g sugars, 3g protein 

Sweet Corn on the Cob - 220 calories, 7g total fat (1g sat fat), 460mg sodium, 32g carbs, 3g fiber, 14g sugars, 5g protein 

 
 
 
  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 - 1,290 calories 

Texas Cheese Fries with Chili - 2,120 calories 

Original BBQ Ribs - 2,170 calories 

Shiner Bock BBQ Ribs - 2,310 calories 

Big Mouth Bites - 2,120 calories 

Jalapeño Smokehouse Bacon Burger - 2,210 calories 

 
  "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® and SmartPoints® 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 and SmartPoints
® trademark.

SmartPoints® value not what you expected? Click here for more info on how the values are calculated, plus more FAQs about PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® values on our website.



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