A margarita chicken from Chili’s Grill packs a hefty calorie count. With its margarita-lime marinade and grill marks, this dish may seem like a lighter option. However, looks can be deceiving when it comes to restaurant menu items. Keep reading to learn just how many calories are in Chili’s margarita chicken.
The Basics of the Margarita Chicken
Chili’s margarita chicken consists of a grilled chicken breast basted in a sweet and tangy margarita-lime marinade. It’s topped with fresh slices of lime and served with steamed broccoli and cilantro lime rice. The margarita-inspired flavors give this chicken dish a fun, summery flair.
While chicken breast is typically considered a lean protein, the sugary margarita marinade adds a significant amount of calories. Steamed broccoli offers volume and nutrients without too many calories. But the cilantro lime rice also packs a caloric punch.
Calories in Chili’s Margarita Chicken
Here is the calorie breakdown for Chili’s margarita chicken:
- Grilled chicken breast: 280 calories
- Margarita-lime marinade: 150 calories (estimated)
- Steamed broccoli: 40 calories
- Cilantro lime rice: 230 calories
So the total calories for a full order of Chili’s margarita chicken is approximately 700 calories.
Nutritional Info for Each Component
Let’s take a closer look at the nutritional information for each part of this meal:
Grilled Chicken Breast
A 6 oz chicken breast has around 280 calories. It provides lean protein with about 60 grams. Chicken breast also contains vitamins and minerals like niacin, selenium, vitamins B6 and B12.
The sweet and tangy marinade adds lots of flavor. But it also contributes about 150 calories and 15 grams of sugar to the dish. The ingredients in the margarita marinade likely include lime juice, triple sec or tequila, and simple syrup.
With only 40 calories per serving, broccoli offers nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and fiber. Steaming is a healthy cooking method that retains more nutrients than boiling.
Cilantro Lime Rice
At 230 calories per serving, the cilantro lime rice accounts for nearly one-third of the meal’s total calorie content. Rice is a high-carb side dish that can quickly drive up calorie counts. Cilantro and lime add fresh flavor, but not many additional nutrients.
How the Margarita Chicken Fits Your Diet
At 700 calories, this margarita chicken meal accounts for about one-third of the average person’s recommended 2,000 daily calories. It provides a good amount of protein from the chicken, along with the vitamins and minerals from the broccoli.
However, the sugary margarita marinade and rice make this a high-carb meal. It has around 600 grams of carbs, accounting for nearly half of a 2,000 calorie diet.
If you’re following a low-carb or high-protein diet, this meal from Chili’s may not align well with your nutritional goals. You can reduce the carbs by skipping the cilantro lime rice and asking for a double side of broccoli instead.
For a lower calorie option, order grilled chicken and broccoli without the rice and margarita marinade. This will remove about 300 calories from the meal.
Ways to Burn Off the Calories
With 700 calories, you’d need to do plenty of exercise to burn off this restaurant meal. Here are some estimates for how long you’d need to workout to offset the margarita chicken calories:
- Brisk walking for 90 minutes
- Jogging for 45 minutes
- Biking for 60 minutes
- Swimming laps for 60 minutes
- Taking a vigorous yoga class for 75 minutes
As you can see, just one meal could account for your entire workout for the day. Keep that in mind when ordering calorie-dense dishes at restaurants.
Healthier Chili’s Options
If you want to lighten up your Chili’s order, here are some healthy meal ideas:
Grilled Chicken Salad
Opt for grilled chicken on top of fresh greens and veggies. Ask for light dressing on the side.
Fajitas allow you to control the ingredients. Fill your tortilla with lots of grilled veggies and chicken, skipping the rice and beans.
Cajun Chicken Pasta
This pasta dish uses protein-rich chicken breast and plenty of vegetables.
Guiltless Grill Platter
This option allows you to pick your protein and healthy sides like broccoli and fresh fruit.
With smart menu choices, you can enjoy Chili’s flavorful dishes without sabotaging your health goals.
Chili’s margarita chicken packs a whopping 700 calories per serving. The lime marinade, cilantro rice, and chicken breast provide lots of carbs and calories despite the lean protein. To lighten up this meal, skip the rice and order extra veggies. Or opt for healthier Chili’s menu choices like grilled chicken salads, fajitas, or the guiltless grill platter.
Next time you visit Chili’s, be mindful of making smart selections to keep your meal aligned with your dietary needs and daily calorie intake. Consider the margarita chicken an occasional indulgence rather than a regular menu item. With some modifications and healthier swaps, you can still enjoy Chili’s flavors without going overboard on calories.