Healthy, Low-Fat Soup: Recipes and Tips
Looking for a great simple supper? Whip up a hearty and filling soup.
By Elaine Magee, MPH, RD
Reviewed By Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD/LD
One of the best "light" dinner options when the weather is cold is soup! Just pair a big bowl of soup with a wheat roll or some wheat crackers, and call it a meal. I always have some favorite canned soups in my pantry so anyone in the family can serve themselves some soup in l5 minutes. But there's something to be said for slowly simmering a homemade pot of soup over the stove until the flavors meld together perfectly. From chicken matzo ball soup to hearty lentil soup, it can really hit the spot on a cold day or night. Read on for some healthy and low-fat soup recipes, as well as tips on how to make any soup recipe lighter.
Soup for Supper
Can soup suffice as supper? If you are accustomed to eating light at night -- or if this is something you're moving toward -- a bowl of soup can definitely work as a satisfying evening meal.
Here are three reasons why:
Light and Low-Fat Soups
As long as the soup you're slurping is broth- or tomato-based, you usually can't get into too much trouble, calorie-wise. A cup of broth, by itself, is about 25 calories with 1 to 2 grams of fat. A cup of tomato juice is about 40 calories and 1 gram of fat.
But with a cream-based soup, all bets are off. One cup of light whipping cream (in liquid form) is about 700 calories and 74 grams of fat, while 1 cup of half-and-half is 315 calories and 28 grams of fat. Wowza! Switching to whole milk in your creamy soup recipes is sounding a "whole" lot better now, isn't it?
One cup of whole milk is about 150 calories and 8 grams of fat. Using whole milk will usually give your soup the creamy taste and texture you desire, but without all the excess calories and fat. The lower-fat options for "cream" like whole milk, low-fat milk, and fat-free half-and-half are more sensitive to high heat, so avoid boiling and add them to the soup toward the end just to warm.
Here's a chart of the calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and fiber found in soup base ingredients so you can compare them for yourself:
4 More Tips for Low-Fat and Healthy Soups
Here are four more tips to help you keep your soup recipes low fat and healthy: