5 Healthy Variations on Comfort-Food Classics

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Chicken soup

A good bowl of chicken soup is comforting year-round. However, the stock is made with whole chickens, which have been getting progressively fatter — even obese — in the past 40 years.

The fat from the birds infuses the soup as it simmers, and it can be difficult to judge just how much fat there is until it cools and rises to the top of the pot.

Thankfully, there are ways to impart flavor to chicken soup without adding a ton of extra fat. Start with your favorite recipe, but skip the whole chicken and substitute equal weight of on-the-bone chicken breasts. Take the skin off the breasts — because it’s mostly fat — and cook them in the stockpot.

The breasts are the leanest cut of meat on the chicken, and the bones will impart more flavor to the stock.

Or, add a cleaned carcass that’s left over from a roast chicken. It will bring even more richness and complexity without adding much more fat.

To keep this soup healthy, don’t use bouillon powder or cubes, which tend to be high in sodium. Also skip the noodles, which are empty calories. Serve the soup with the cooked chicken, carrots, celery and onions for a protein-packed meal that’s satisfying.

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