What’s better on a cold winter day than a cup of hot soup, right? Namely, clam chowder (or as the true Bostonian says, chowda). It’s warm, filling, satisfying and an all-around perfect comfort food. But, it can also be pretty unhealthy if we’re not careful (think: butter, heavy cream and bacon). So this week on Health Hack, we’re going to make over your clam chowder and give you a few tips to make it healthier (without losing its famous taste or texture). Take a look:
Ditch the heavy cream. The first step to a healthier clam chowder is to get rid of the heavy cream that most recipes call for. Instead, you can use half-and-half. You still get the rich, creaminess, but without all the fat and calories. Here is a good recipe to try. By using half-and-half here, it brings it down to 9 grams of fat and 353 calories per serving. Or, here’s another low-fat clam chowder that ditches the cream altogether and uses mushroom soup instead.
Skip the bacon. Contrary to what some people think, you don’t need bacon to make a delicious clam chowder. It’s loaded with fat, cholesterol and calories. So why not just skip it? If you’re really craving the taste, try adding in some chopped vegetarian bacon. Same flavor without the meat.
Add in beans. White cannellini beans make a wonderful addition to clam chowder. They add texture, protein and heartiness. Plus, you’ll get a mega dose of fiber, vitamin C and iron. Here’s a great recipe to try–just add clams!
Load up on veggies. In addition to the usual potatoes, corn, celery and onions, how about adding in some diced sweet potatoes, broccoli, carrots or even tomatoes? You can make the chowder heartier and more of a complete meal this way, while also upping your intake of nutrients.
Go vegan. Yes, you can make a chowder without dairy! Here is a good recipe to try that includes broth, seaweed (yes) and cashews. Healthy and animal-free!