Wednesday, January 8, 2014

All About Fiber... Turkey and Bean Chili

Chili is a winter staple in my house. It’s a flavorful and filling meal packed with lean protein, fiber, and vegetables. It's pretty spicy, so feel free to tone down the spices if you cook for kids or those that don’t enjoy spicy foods. I added a hickory BBQ rub to give it a nice smoky flavor and a dash of maple syrup to make it taste less acidic. I let this chili simmer on low for almost 2 hours to let the flavors really set in. If you are short on time you can cook at a higher temperature for 30-45 minutes and reduce the water to ¼ cup.

Because you make it in large batches it is great for leftovers for the week. To save time packing lunches I pre-portion it into 1 cup servings for lunch the day I make it. Pair with a side salad and a piece of fruit and you have a balanced lunch!


What’s the buzz about fiber?

Fiber is the indigestible part of plant foods such as: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes/beansFiber is perhaps most well known for its role in GI regularity (keeping everything moving) and preventing constipation, but that is only one of the many health benefits that fiber has.

Most Americans fall short of the recommended fiber intake (25 for women and 38 g for men). People that consume adequate fiber have a lower risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and obesity. This recipe features two types of beans. Depending on the type of beans a ½ cup serving provides 7-10 g of fiber!

In fact, there are many types of fiber (you may recognize the term soluble or insoluble) to describe how they act in our body. Soluble meaning that it forms a gel during digestion and can help play a role in lowering cholesterol. Soluble fiber is found in oat bran, barley, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, peas, and some fruits and vegetables. Insoluble fiber is found in the skins of fruits and vegetables, needs, seeds, wheat bran, and whole grains. It appears to speed the passage of foods through the stomach and intestines and adds bulk to the stool.

Fiber helps slow the emptying of the stomach, which may help us feel full. This attributecan be helpful in losing or maintaining your weight. It can also help lower blood sugar after a meal and help reduce insulin levels.

You may have heard of the good bacteria in our guts called probiotics. They play a role in immune health and function. New research suggests that our gut flora may influence disease states, allergies, and even weight control. Some types of soluble fiber are PREbiotics, the food and fuel to feed the probiotics (the good guys) and increase their numbers. Let’s get to the recipe already!


Bean and Turkey Chili

Makes 8 servings



1 pound of 93% lean ground turkey

½ tsp onion powder

½ tsp garlic powder

2 Tbsp chili powder

½ tsp red pepper flakes

1 Tbsp favorite BBQ meat rub (optional)

1 sweet onion, diced

1 fresh jalapeƱo, diced

1 green pepper, diced

1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

2 cans low-sodium diced tomatoes

6 oz can of tomato paste

½ cup water

1 Tbsp VT Maple Syrup (optional)



1. Place the meat and spices in a large cooking pot over medium heat. Brown the meat for a few minutes.

2. Add remaining ingredients, cover, and cook over medium-low heat for 2 hours (or uncovered over medium-high heat for 30-45 minutes).


Nutrition Facts: 1 ¼ cups

240 calories, 6 g fat (1 g saturated), 400 mg sodium, 29 g carbohydrate, 7 g fiber, 17 g protein

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