Chowders, Lightened Up

As deliciously comforting as a warm bowl of chowder can be, all the fat and calories can wreak havoc on your waistline. A few simple swaps and you can slurp this savory soup with delight.
100326A_0146.tif

100326A_0146.tif

Marina Malchin Prop Stylist Food Stylist: Anne Disrude

As deliciously comforting as a warm bowl of chowder can be, all the fat and calories can wreak havoc on your waistline. But with a few simple swaps, you can slurp this savory soup with delight.

Nutrition Facts

A bowl of classic creamy New England Clam Chowder can pile in more than 600 calories and 40 grams of fat from cream and butter. Chowders are also commonly flavored with lots of fatty bacon, sending the fat and calorie counts even higher.

Smarter Soup

Soup is a terrific way to get more veggies, so load up your chowder with aromatics like celery, carrots, onions and leeks. To help thicken the soup, sprinkle the veggies with flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes before adding liquid. Starchy add-ins like potatoes, corn and beans will add texture, while their natural starches will also help thicken the soup.

If your favorite recipe calls for butter, swap half of it for canola or olive oil – you’ll still get the buttery flavor and a boost of the more heart-healthy kinds of fats. Shrink down the portion of bacon or make the switch to turkey bacon and you’ll shave off more calories from saturated fats.

Broth-based chowders have considerably less calories than ones made with cream. But if your moto is like mine “go creamy or go home" using half-and-half  instead of heavy cream will save 500 calories and 60 grams of fat per cup. Since lighter dairy products (like milk and half and half) don’t stand up to high heat as well as cream, it’s best to add them towards the end of cooking to prevent them from separating and making the soup grainy.

Recipes to Try:

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana's full bio »

You Might Also Like:

Keep Reading

Next Up

Quiche, Lightened Up

What would a brunch spread be without quiche? While most consider quiche a "light" choice, you might be surprised at the calorie count. But never fear, brunch lovers -- there are many ways to reduce the calories and fat in this Mother's Day staple.

Cupcakes, Lightened Up

They may come in pretty little packages, but cupcake calories can get ugly! Here are some lighter ways to enjoy these tasty pastries.

Strawberry Daiquiris, Lightened Up

Most recipes are cloyingly sweet and filled with booze – lighten up this classic summer cocktail.

Potato Salad, Lightened Up

I’m just starting to see early varieties of potatoes at the farmers market and potato salad recipes are calling out to me! This picnic and barbecue fave is known to be heavy on the fat and calories, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are my favorite ways to lighten up this summertime classic.

Apple Pie, Lightened Up

With apple season here and the holidays fast approaching, it’s hard not to crave homemade apple pie, but all the fat and calories can help pack on the pounds over winter. How about some lighter options, like an apple galette?

Steak, Lightened Up

Cook up the perfect steak for Dad this Father’s Day. With a few small tweaks and ingredient swaps, Dad can enjoy his juicy steak while the rest of family can breathe easy that Dad won’t have a coronary.

Eggs Benedict, Lightened Up

Eggs Benedict is my all time favorite breakfast, but it can be a bit heavy. Here’s a traditional recipe with a few healthy twists.

Pasta Salad, Lightened Up

Traditional pasta salad is swimming with hidden calories that’ll have you hiding from bathing suit season. Find out how to lighten up this summer classic and still keep your svelte shape.

Potato Soup, Lightened Up

Creamy potato soup can have anywhere from 300 to 500 calories and up to 35 grams of fat per serving! Our lightened-up versions taste even better than the cream-laden recipes, and since the main ingredients are potatoes, it won’t bust your budget.

Egg Salad, Lightened Up

Egg salad can be high in fat, cholesterol and calories but with a few simple tweaks you can make light and delicious versions of this comfort food classic.