Fit to Eat: A New Stock Option

From a simple vegetable broth, you can make low-calorie soups packed with the healthy ingredients we need most.

A steaming bowl of soup is comfort food in the purest sense. More comforting still, it's a worthy meal for anyone aiming to eat a little healthier, especially when the recipe puts vegetables front and center.

"Soups are excellent for weight loss," says Stephanie Middleberg, a registered dietitian in New York City. "Studies show that when we eat soup before or as part of a meal, we eat roughly 20 percent fewer total calories at that meal." Although our bodies usually don't feel sated by liquids such as juices and sodas, soup's one-two punch of liquid plus fiber from vegetables (and the occasional legume) creates a satisfying combo, so we tend to feel full on less. Spooning up a soup that's loaded with produce is also a reliable way to help meet the recommended daily quota of two to three cups of vegetables.

Our vegetable stock, which eliminates excess calories, sodium, and additives, is primed for cooking lighter dishes. It's versatile enough for the entree-worthy soups in the recipes below, as well as many that call for chicken stock. Freeze a double batch and a bowl of good health will never be far off.

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