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Chile Chicken Nachos

Nutritional Guidance

Chile Chicken Nachos

Because the average plate of restaurant nachos can contain 1,500-2,000 calories and is usually loaded with fat and sodium, this tasty dish is often thought of as one to avoid in order to keep health and wellness goals on track. This does not have to be the case! Believe it or not, a plate of nachos can actually be a quick, nutritious go-to meal that can help you aim for eight.

Food items and meals that are prepared by restaurants (from fast food to fine dining) and supermarkets are typically higher in empty calories and lower in nutrients than foods that are cooked at home.

The term “empty calories” means that the calories come from added solid fats and/or added sugars, making the foods high in calories, but low in nutritional value.

According to the USDA, a small amount of empty calories is okay, but most people eat far more than is healthy. A main reason for the excess is the consumption of more meals and foods away from home.

Healthy Habits

The three key habits Americans should practice are:

  • filling half their plates with fruits and vegetables
  • eating foods from all food groups
  • paying attention to the proportions of food groups on their plates

Another important habit is to aim to cook more meals at home, so you can control the quality of ingredients, portion size and levels of sodium and fat.

Applying The Guidance to This Meal Solution

This meal includes all food groups, uses whole grain chips and substitutes plain Greek yogurt for sour cream. The Greek yogurt swap allows you to increase the meal’s protein and calcium levels, while avoiding empty calories. Seasoning the dish with cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes helps keep the sodium level in check.

Be sure to keep these items on hand so the next time life is too hectic to think about cooking, you can whip up a plate of nachos!

Ingredients

Makes 6-8 Servings

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 can chopped jalapeños, juice drained and reserved
  • ½ can corn, drained
  • ½ can pinto or red beans, drained
  • 1 tbsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp. freshly chopped cilantro (optional)
  • 20 whole grain tortilla chips
  • ⅓ cup shredded cheese
  • Handful fresh baby spinach leaves, torn into smaller pieces
  • ½ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • Salsa

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350° F

  1. Slice the chicken in half lengthwise. Begin cooking the chicken in a frying pan. Pour the reserved jalapeño juice on the chicken while cooking.
  2. As the chicken is cooking, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and evenly distribute the chips, then top with a layer of spinach.
  3. Once the chicken is fully cooked, put it on a plate and use two forks to shred the chicken.
  4. Layer the chips with the beans, corn, chicken and jalapeños, and then top them with the cheese.
  5. Sprinkle the cheese with the cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes and chopped cilantro.
  6. Put the nachos in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
  7. Garnish with the Greek yogurt and salsa.

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