Lightening Up Soups

It's easy to bring smile-fetching soup to the front burner of a food-smart meal plan. Keep the following secrets in mind when you're lightening up your soup du jour.

Skip the Salt- Set down the salt shaker and stir in additional herbs or a salt-free seasoning blend into your soup instead. When recipes call for canned chicken broth, substitute the reduced-sodium variety.

Thin Thickeners- Watching your weight doesn't mean writing off creamy soups. Puree a cooked peeled potato and reduced-fat milk or fat-free half-and-half to a creamy consistency. Slowly stir the mixture into the heated soup to thicken it. Then heat through, but do not boil. To thicken southwestern soups and chili, add pureed cooked beans.

Cut Back on Beef- Try preparing a recipe with additional vegetables or pasta in place of beef. Or, consider replacing beef with cooked poultry now and again.