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Light and Low-Fat Soups continued...

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:

Ingredient 1 (cup) Calories Fat (g) Sat. Fat (g) Cholesterol (mg) Fiber (g)
Light whipping Cream, liquid 698 74 46 265 0
Half-and-half 315 28 17 89 0
Whole milk 150 8 5 33 0
Stewed tomatoes, Canned 66 0.4 0 0 4
Tomato juice 41 0.1 0 0 2
Chicken/beef broth 25 1 0.5 ~2 0.5

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:

1. If your soup recipe calls for meat, choose leaner cuts whenever possible, like skinless chicken or turkey breast, pork tenderloin, or sirloin steak trimmed of visible fat. If the recipe calls for sausage, substitute a less-fat turkey sausage (such as turkey polska kielbasa links). Remember that you can usually get by with half as much as the recipe calls for.

2. When using fresh herbs, add them toward the end of cooking or stir them in right before serving. Some fresh herbs even work well sprinkled on as a garnish. Add dried herbs in the beginning or middle of cooking so they have plenty of time to rehydrate and give off their flavor.

3. If the soup recipe calls for stirring in butter at the end of the cooking process, just don’t go there. If it calls for sautéing vegetables in butter in the beginning, just use a tablespoon of olive oil or canola oil instead. If you need more moisture as the vegetables are browning, add in a couple of tablespoons of water, wine, or broth.

4. Pump up the fiber in your soups by adding beans when possible and use whole grains like barley, brown rice, wild rice, or whole wheat blend pastas instead of refined grains.

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