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Souping up your diet can be a tasty way to lose weight

Wed., Jan. 12, 2011

If losing weight is on your list of New Year’s resolutions (again.), add slurping soup to your to-do list.

A bowl of soup is mostly liquid, making it a lower-calorie way to feel satisfied without actually being stuffed – or stuffing in lots of calories. This is why so many diets tell you to drink water all the time. The more full you feel, the less likely you are to consume unwanted calories.

Of course, not just any bowl of soup works with this plan. Many canned varieties are loaded with sodium, and creamy soups can be filled with fat.

Making soup in your own kitchen can be easy and is the best way to control what you consume.

For broth-based soups, be sure to start with a reduced-sodium broth, then add plenty of vegetables and beans. Besides being filling and low in calories, beans are packed with healthful dietary fiber and nutrients.

If you want a creamy but low-fat soup, you might start with a base of pureed vegetables. Winter squashes and sweet potatoes can be roasted to intensify the flavors, then run through a food mill, blender or food processor. Added to broth, these purees make for a wonderfully creamy soup base.

For another velvety and flavorful base, canned beans can be rinsed under cold water to wash away some of the salt, then pureed until smooth in a blender or food processor.

This Black-Eyed Pea and Collard Greens Soup with Smoked Sausage is a tasty way to fulfill this New Year’s resolution in several ways. Each flavorful and filling bowl is rich with vegetables along with hearty chunks of potato and low-fat kielbasa, as well as earthy black-eyed peas, which are traditionally eaten for good luck as part of year-end celebrations.

Black-Eyed Pea and Collard Greens Soup with Smoked Sausage

1/2 pound 97-percent fat-free kielbasa or smoked sausage

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 1/2 cups peeled, diced potato

15-ounce can black-eyed peas, rinsed

5 ounces frozen collard or turnip greens or spinach

14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 1/4 cups water

Salt, to taste

Ground black pepper, to taste

Cut the sausage in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. In a large pot over medium, heat the oil. Add the sausage and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onion and sauté until softened, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the potatoes, black-eyed peas, greens or spinach, broth and water. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot and cook over low heat until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Yield: 4 servings

Approximate nutrition per serving: 279 calories, 11 grams fat (4 grams saturated, 36 percent fat calories), 16 grams protein, 32 grams carbohydrate, 40 milligrams cholesterol, 6 grams dietary fiber, 971 milligrams sodium.


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