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:

Next Up

Stuffing, Lightened Up

Thanksgiving turkey would be lost without stuffing (or dressing) on the side. But sticks of butter and pounds of sausage are not mandatory ingredients. Here are a few ways to slim down this holiday favorite and some creative additions to try.

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.

Lasagna, Lightened Up

With meat, cheese and oodles of pasta, it’s no wonder this bad boy carries a hefty total of 1,000-plus calories per serving. But you can create a lasagna masterpiece that is leaner -- and here’s how.

Ribs, Lightened Up

This backyard classic can be tricky to make, messy to eat and tough on the waistline. We can’t do much about the mess, but can help out with everything else. Grab your napkins!

Cheesecake, Lightened Up

Velvety smooth, sweet and creamy, but with more than 600 calories and 45 grams of fat per slice, can it be part of a healthy diet? Here’s how you can have your (cheese)cake and eat it too!

Dips, Lightened Up

Blue cheese, artichoke and other cheesy dips can sabotage your waistline before the main course begins. Lighten up these dips with a few tricks; they’ll still taste fantastic.

Pancakes, Lightened Up

Butter, syrup and processed flour don't do much to make pancakes healthy, but you can make your own -- with a few simple swaps -- and enjoy a lighter breakfast.

Lemonade, Lightened Up

There's nothing better than than an icy glass of lemonade on a hot day, but who needs all those extra calories from added sweeteners? Instead of turning to sugary, packaged mixes, make your own light and fresh versions. Here are our tricks.

Burgers, Lightened Up

Spring and summer are prime time for burgers. Whether you like beef, poultry or veggies, there’s a burger out there for you. Here are some fresh ways to build a lighter (but still delicious) burger.

Meatloaf, Lightened Up

I recently ran the numbers on a classic meatloaf recipe and found that it had almost 800 calories and 65 grams of fat per serving! Here are some great ways to lighten up this American favorite.