One of the most popular regional soups in the United States is New England clam chowder. It has all the factors that make a great comfort food: a creamy mouthfeel, a rich broth, slurpability, and a good dose of salt.
Unfortunately, those factors don't exactly do favors for your health. The typical clam chowder is made with copious amounts of heavy cream, whole milk, and bacon, all of which are high in saturated fat. Having too much of this type of dietary fat can increase the risk of high LDL ("bad") cholesterol over time, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). Cholesterol can harden in the arteries and increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, or heart attack.
Eating a heart-healthy diet is especially important for people with type 2 diabetes, since diabetes is a major risk factor of heart disease. In fact, American adults with diabetes are up to four times more likely to die from a cardiovascular disease than adults without diabetes, according to AHA. Thankfully, good management of blood sugar can prevent complications of diabetes, including high blood pressure and heart disease.
How to Healthify Clam Chowder
Although the classic New England clam chowder might be high in saturated fat and sodium (two unfriendly nutrients for the heart), you can totally make a lightened-up clam chowder at home that *tastes* indulgent (but totally isn't). In this episode of “Diabetes Bites,” find out what clever swaps can healthify clam chowder without compromising on flavor and creaminess, according to Fiorella DiCarlo, RD, CDN, registered dietitian in New York City.
This lighter take on clam chowder makes a few smart moves:
This take on chowder is proof that healthy eating doesn't have to feel like a deprivational diet. By using healthier ingredients for some of your favorite foods, you're empowering yourself to improve your overall diet and manage your health.