I spent a long time in the chili aisle, staring at the shelves of chili. Don't let the relatively healthy list of ingredients lull you into a false sense of chili security. Nearly all of the name brand chili cans on the shelves had many of the "bad guys" that we've warned about before. Most had soy, soybean, corn and vegetable oils, added wheat gluten, and all sorts of mysterious artificial ingredients. Always read the labels carefully.
What to get: Dennison's 98% Fat Free Turkey Chili with Beans
Where to get it: Your grocery store. I got this can at Pavilions, but I have seen it at Ralphs and Albertsons, too.
Why we approve: Protein and fiber, with few added bad guys make for a good bowl of chili. We don't specifically approve of foods that are nearly fat free, but that does mean that there are few of the bad fats that are so popular in modern day processed foods (again, see the bad guys). Also, because it's low fat, it means you are free to add fats that you approve of in the form of garnishes or toppings. Read on...
Preparation: We prefer a saucepan to the microwave, but do what you will!
Variations: Top with sour cream, cheese, guacamole or avocado for the fat that you need in your diet. I'm a guy, so I ate the whole can, topped with about 130 calories of cheese and sour cream. The bowl plus toppings weighed in at about 550 calories, 16g fat, 60g carbs, 14g fiber, and 40g of protein.
Pros: Available at your normal, everyday supermarket and even some convenience stores. It has that great chili taste that you might have grown up with, reasonable calories, and a decent amount of protein. Low fat means you get to add your own fats, which are going to be tastier and healthier than anything they were likely to put in the can at the plant. There are lots of beans if you like that. The whole can is the perfect size meal for many guys.
Cons: Women might find one serving to be pretty small (it's only 3/4 cup, after all). Even though the taste was a pro, it's also a con; some people won't care for that canned chili taste. Low fat seems to have encouraged a lot of carbs. They have to put something in those cans to take up space, and in this case it was lots of beans.