Turkey chili is a delicious, protein-packed meal that can be a nutritious part of a healthy diet. But like any food, it’s important to pay attention to portion sizes and calories if you are tracking your food intake. So how many calories are actually in a bowl of turkey chili? Let’s take a closer look.
Calories in Turkey Chili Per Serving
The number of calories in a bowl of turkey chili can vary widely depending on the specific recipe, ingredients, and serving size. According to the USDA, one cup or 8 ounces of turkey chili made with beans contains approximately:
- 233 calories
- 7.7 g fat
- 28.6 g carbohydrates
- 19.5 g protein
So if you eat a bowl containing 2 cups or 16 ounces of turkey chili, you would be consuming about 466 calories. Of course, recipes can vary widely in terms of ingredients, fat content, and additional toppings, so the calorie count may be higher or lower depending on the preparation.
Calories in Turkey Chili Ingredients
To get a better idea of where the calories are coming from in turkey chili, let’s look at the common ingredients and their nutrition profiles. Keep in mind that ingredient amounts can vary significantly between recipes.
Lean Ground Turkey
Turkey is the star ingredient in turkey chili. Ground turkey breast is a lean choice, with 120 calories and 1g fat per 4 oz serving. Dark meat ground turkey has a bit more fat, with 155 calories and 5g fat per 4 oz. Turkey chili often calls for 1 lb or more of ground turkey.
Beans like kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, or cannellini beans are commonly used in turkey chili for fiber and plant-based protein. Beans add calories from carbohydrates, with around 110-130 calories per half cup cooked beans. Chili recipes can use 1-2 cups of cooked beans or more.
Crushed tomatoes add texture and flavor to chili. A half cup of canned diced tomatoes has about 30 calories. Tomato paste or sauce is also common in chili, with 50 calories in a quarter cup of tomato paste.
Bell peppers, chili peppers, jalapenos, and other pepper varieties add vitamins, fiber and flavor with minimal calories – generally 25 calories or less per pepper.
Onion is a seasoning staple used to build flavor in turkey chili. At 40-50 calories per chopped cup, onions add more bulk and nutrients.
Spices and seasonings
Ground cumin, paprika, oregano, chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne and other dried herbs and spices are essential for chili seasoning. These add lots of flavor without significant calories – generally less than 5-10 calories per tablespoon of spice.
Making Healthy Turkey Chili
Here are some tips for lightening up turkey chili to create a healthier bowl, while still keeping it full of flavor:
- Use extra lean ground turkey breast or chicken breast.
- Load up on non-starchy vegetables like onions, peppers, mushrooms etc.
- Use reduced sodium broth and tomatoes.
- Skip excessive oil, butter, and sour cream toppings.
- Enjoy over a baked potato instead of higher calorie chips or bread.
- Top with chopped fresh herbs, chili peppers, or cilantro instead of cheese.
Nutrition Benefits of Turkey Chili
Turkey chili made with lean protein, veggies, beans, and spices offers many nutritional benefits:
- Protein – Helps maintain and repair muscles. The turkey and beans provide lean protein.
- Fiber – Beans, tomatoes, and peppers boost fiber to support digestion.
- Potassium – Essential for nerve signaling and muscle contractions. Beans are a good source.
- Iron – Turkey and beans provide iron to carry oxygen through the blood.
- Vitamin C -Immune supporting vitamin C comes from the tomatoes and peppers.
- Other vitamins and minerals – Ingredients like tomatoes, beans, turkey, onions, and peppers provide a range of other vitamins and minerals.
Typical Turkey Chili Recipes and Calories
To get a sense of the calorie range in typical turkey chili recipes, here is the nutrition data for some popular recipes. This gives you a good idea of calories in a bowl when making it at home.
|Turkey Chili Recipe
|Simple Turkey Chili
|Healthy Turkey White Chili
|Easy Turkey Chili
|1 1/4 cups
|Budget Friendly Turkey Chili
|1 1/4 cups
|Turkey Pumpkin Chili
As you can see, most turkey chili recipes fall in the range of 275-350 calories per cup depending on the preparation. So a typical 1 1/2 – 2 cup bowl with toppings would contain about 400-550 calories.
Calories in Turkey Chili from Restaurants and Brands
Ready-made and restaurant turkey chilis may be higher in calories, sodium and fat compared to homemade. Here is the nutrition data for some popular commercial turkey chilis:
|Hormel Turkey Chili
|Campbell’s Chunky Turkey Chili
|Amy’s Light in Sodium Turkey Chili
|Trader Joe’s Turkey Chili
As shown above, commercial turkey chilis tend to range from 200-270 calories per cup, depending on the variety. Check labels for nutrition facts.
Calculating Calories in a Bowl of Homemade Turkey Chili
It’s easy to calculate the calories per serving in your own homemade turkey chili. Follow these simple steps:
- Find a recipe and note the number of servings it makes.
- Add up the calories for each ingredient used based on the amounts called for.
- Divide the total calories by the number of servings.
- Multiply by the serving size you eat to get calories in your bowl.
Let’s try an example recipe for a pot of chili that makes 8 servings:
- 1 lb ground turkey (120 calories x 4 servings = 480 calories)
- 1 cup onions, chopped (40 calories)
- 1 15oz can kidney beans (225 calories)
- 28oz can crushed tomatoes (240 calories)
- 1 Tbsp chili powder (15 calories)
- Total calories = 1000
Dividing the total 1000 calories by 8 servings = 125 calories per serving
So if you eat a 1.5 cup bowl: 1.5 x 125 calories = 188 calories
Getting in the habit of calculating calories in your recipes can help with portion control and meeting nutrition goals.
Tips for Lower Calorie Chili
Here are some easy ways to lighten up your bowl of turkey chili and cut calories, while still keeping it full of flavor and nutrition:
- Use extra lean ground turkey breast or chicken breast
- Boost veggies like mushrooms, carrots, zucchini
- Limit oil for cooking, skip fatty toppings
- Use a low sodium broth or dilute broth
- Load up the chili with fiber-rich beans
- Garnish bowl with fresh herbs, cabbage, radish
- Enjoy over salad greens instead of starchy sides
- Avoid sour cream, cheese, crackers, chips on top
In summary, a typical 1 1/2 – 2 cup bowl of homemade turkey chili will contain around 350-450 calories depending on the recipe, ingredients, and toppings. Restaurant turkey chilis are often 200-270 calories per cup. The calories mostly come from the turkey or beans, along with vegetable ingredients like tomatoes, onions, and peppers. Choosing lean turkey meat, bumping up low cal veggies, and limiting high fat toppings or sides can keep your turkey chili full of nutrition without excess calories. Turkey chili loaded with lean protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals can be a nutritious part of a healthy diet when enjoyed in moderate portion sizes.
Calories in a Bowl of Turkey Chili FAQs
How many calories are in 1 cup of turkey chili?
One cup of turkey chili contains approximately 200-270 calories depending on the recipe, ingredients, and fat content. Most homemade chilis are around 250 calories per cup.
Is turkey chili low calorie?
Compared to beef chili, turkey chili tends to be lower in calories since turkey is a leaner meat. Choosing extra lean turkey breast, minimizing oils, skipping high fat toppings, and loading up on veggies can create a relatively low calorie turkey chili.
How can you reduce the calories in chili?
Some ways to lighten up chili and reduce calories include: using extra lean turkey or chicken, increasing low calorie vegetables, limiting oils, using reduced sodium broth, avoiding high calorie toppings like cheese and sour cream, and skipping calorie dense sides like chips or crackers.
Does turkey chili freeze well?
Yes, turkey chili freezes very well for meal prepping! Allow the chili to cool completely then transfer to freezer bags or containers in serving size portions. Turkey chili will keep frozen for 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Can you make turkey chili in a slow cooker?
Turkey chili is perfect for making in a slow cooker! Simply add all the ingredients to a slow cooker and cook on low for 7-8 hours until the turkey is cooked through and the flavors have melded. This hands off approach makes easy work of turkey chili.
What toppings go well with turkey chili?
Healthy topping ideas for turkey chili include: chopped raw onion, avocado, plain Greek yogurt, sliced jalapeno, shredded lettuce, chopped fresh cilantro, hot sauce, lime wedges, chopped tomatoes, chopped radish, baked whole grain chips or crackers.
What goes good with turkey chili?
Turkey chili goes great with sides like a baked potato, brown rice, quinoa, whole grain bread or cornbread, salad greens, roasted vegetables, or roasted sweet potatoes. Avoid fatty sides like regular chips, cheese, sour cream, or buttered crackers.
The Bottom Line
Turkey chili can be a healthy and satisfying meal when made with nutritious ingredients and sensible portion sizes. A 1-2 cup bowl contains approximately 350-550 calories for most recipes. Be mindful of higher calorie toppings and sides to keep your bowl of chili within your calorie needs for the day or for weight management goals. Feel confident enjoying flavorful homemade turkey chili while still maintaining overall healthy eating habits.