Soup is pretty much your one-pot secret weapon when it comes to weight loss—especially if you’ve just about had it with the whole salad scene.
First of all, soup that’s loaded with hearty veggies will give you the high-fiber punch needed to boost satiety and curb cravings. Second, low-calorie bases such as water, veggie broth, and chicken stock make soups one of the least calorically dense meals you can eat, explains Kristen F. Gradney, R.D.N., director of nutrition and metabolic services at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
While there are plenty of weight-loss soups available by the can, mixing up your own ensures you’re getting as much of the good stuff (think: veggies, lean meats, and nutritionally-dense grains) as possible while cutting down on sodium, chemicals and any less-than-healthy ingredients. Plus, soup is crazy-easy to prepare: Just combine, cook, and eat.
To get you started, five top R.D.s culled these healthy soup recipes from around the web:
1. RED CURRY QUINOA SOUP
No bland, watery soup here. This bold vegetarian option gets serious heat from red curry paste, and is packed with sweet potato, veggies, and quinoa, a nutritionally-dense grain that acts as a great source of plant-based protein.
Per 1-cup serving: 164 calories, 4 g fat (1 g saturated), 26 g carbs, 2 g sugar, 637 mg sodium, 6 g protein.
2. WHITE BEAN PARMESAN SPINACH SOUP
This white bean soup offers two-plus servings of hunger-satisfying veggies per serving, Gradney says. And with only 87 calories, it makes a perfect between-meal snack. The addition of parmesan cheese rounds out the soup’s savory flavor.
Per 1-cup serving: 280 calories, 4 g fat (2 g saturated), 38 g carbs, 2 g sugar, 1007 mg sodium, 8 g fiber, 19 g protein.
3. CHICKEN AND SAUSAGE GUMBO
When you crave a Creole classic, go for this healthier version. It uses nutritionally-dense okra to thicken the soup instead of roux (a mixture of flour and fat). Expect ultimate comfort-food flavors with a hearty serving of veggies and lean protein from chicken and reduced-fat sausage, Gradney says.
Per 1-cup serving: 160 calories, 2 g fat (1 g saturated), 12 g carbs, 4 g sugar, 550 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 22 g protein.
4. SMOKY ACORN SQUASH AND LENTIL BISQUE
Usually, words like “bisque” signal that a soup is loaded with high-fat cream. Not the case with this tasty plant-based soup. Acorn squash takes the place of butter and cream to give you that guilty texture minus the empty calories. Well-balanced with five grams of fat, 11 grams of protein, and a whopping 14 grams of fiber per serving, it will keep you feeling full and fueled for hours, Gradney says.
Per 1 1/3-cup serving: 239 calories, 5 g fat (1 g saturated), 41 g carbs, 7 g sugar, 522 mg sodium, 14 g fiber, 11 g protein.
5. RED LENTIL SOUP WITH TOASTED CUMIN AND CORIANDER
This flavor-packed soup is the perfect blend of sweetness and spice, thanks to the rich toasted spices and the coconut milk. The best part? It will stave off hunger long after your plate is clean. “Lentils are full of protein and fiber, which makes this a really filling choice,” says Chelsey Amer, R.D.N., who runs C It Nutritionally.
Per 1/2-cup serving: 282 calories, 13 g fat (7 g saturated), 18 g carbs, 1 g sugar, 71 mg sodium, 24 g protein.
6. ROASTED TOMATO BASIL SOUP
If you’re hankering for a creamy soup this season, but you’re looking to stay away from heavy cream, look no further. This recipe makes a delicious snack or starter, and its five grams of fiber per serving will help you bust cravings later, says Amer.
Per 1-cup serving: 174 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated), 24 g carbs, 12 g sugar, 711 mg sodium, 5 g fiber, 4 g protein.
7. EASY BLACK BEAN SOUP
Meatless-Monday approved and vegan-friendly, this black bean soup can be added to anyone’s weight-loss arsenal. With protein-packed black beans and tons of fiber from veggies, Amer says this soup is a win-win.
Per 1-cup serving: 212 calories, 2 g fat (0 g saturated), 34 g carbs, 3 g sugar, 576 mg sodium, 14 g fiber, 13 g protein.
8. CHICKEN TORTILLA-LESS SOUP
Take a break from to your usual salad and bring this deliciously healthy dish to work. It’s not your usual chicken soup—it packs a punch from jalapeños, cilantro, and lime. Bonus: The recipe is Whole30-approved.
Per serving: 225 calories, 6 g fat, 9 g carbs, 5 g sugar, 582 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 31 g protein.
9. THAI LEMONGRASS SOUP
This soup has a hearty serving of protein and is only 136 calories per serving. It’s low-cal and vegetarian, too. Bookmark this for your next sick day—its soothing flavors from ginger, lemongrass, cilantro, and lime are just what the doctor ordered.
Per 1-cup serving: 136 calories, 7.9 g fat (0.9 g saturated), 7.2 g carbs, 2.3 g sugar, 779 mg sodium, 0.9 g fiber, 10.4 g protein.
10. SPINACH EGG DROP SOUP
This egg drop soup is light, easy to make, and low in carbs (just four grams!). The spinach, along with the protein from the eggs, makes this dish a great appetizer. “A broth-based soup is a great way to start your meal because it adds some liquid and will help fill you up,” Amer says.
Per 1-cup serving: 111 calories, 9 g fat (1 g saturated), 4 g carbs, 1 g sugar, 110 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 3 g protein.
11. WEIGHT-LOSS VEGETABLE SOUP
Try this vegetable soup as a starter, or throw in some chicken or turkey to make it main-meal material. “This is a great way to get more veggies into your diet,” says Amer. “This soup is really like the equivalent of a salad, and it’s a great way to do it if you prefer cooked vegetables.” You’ll get tons of potassium—almost 500 milligrams—which helps reduce bloating.
Per serving: 41 calories, 7 g carbs, 4 g sugar, 265 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 3 g protein.
12. CROCK POT TACO SOUP
You don’t have to skip Taco Tuesday to achieve your weight-loss goals—try this low-carb taco soup instead. With two types of beans, this dish has a whopping 17 grams of protein and almost eight grams of fiber. Throw your ingredients into the slow cooker in the morning, and this delish dish will be waiting for you after work.
Per 1-cup serving: 215 calories, 5.2 g fat (1.2 g saturated), 27.5 g carbs, 7,7 g sugar, 881 mg sodium, 7.5 g fiber, 16.9 g protein.
13. PRESSURE COOKER SPLIT PEA SOUP WITH HAM
When it comes to soups, be sure to keep tabs on how much sodium they have—too much salt can contribute to bloating and stifle your weight-loss success, says Laura Ligos, R.D., C.S.S.D., and the creator of The Sassy Dietitian. That’s why this soup is a good choice: “It’s made with mainly whole-food ingredients, and the split peas are dry.” Whipping up recipes like this one with as many non-processed ingredients as possible is a great way to make sure sodium levels are low.
Per 1-cup serving: 182 calories, 1.5 g fat (0 g saturated), 39 g carbs, 4 g sugar, 459 mg sodium, 15 g fiber, 17 g protein.
14. ROASTED PUMPKIN SAGE SOUP
If you’re looking to curl up with a rich and creamy soup on a cold day, but you want to save calories, try this delicious recipe. With seven grams of fiber, it makes a substantial snack or side dish, Ligos says, especially if you pair it with a high-protein dish to keep you feeling full.
Per 1 3/4-cup serving: 137.5 calories, 3 g fat (0 g saturated), 25 g carbs, 9 g sugar, 459 mg sodium, 7 g fiber, 6 g protein.
15. ITALIAN HARVEST SOUP
This soup has kale, carrots, mushrooms, potatoes, and sausage, all for less than 250 calories per serving. And with 14 grams of protein, one bowl of this flavorful soup makes a hearty and healthy meal. Tori Schmitt, R.D.N., who runs YES! Nutrition, says this dish is perfect for lunch. “It offers a balanced amount of carbohydrates, protein, and fats to help keep energy levels more consistent throughout the day,” she says.
Per serving: 230 calories, 9 g fat, 23 g carbs, 4 g sugar, 530 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 14 g protein.
16. SLOW COOKER CREAMY CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP
Is anything more comforting than chicken noodle soup? Yep, a creamy version. At only 226 calories per serving, this is the ultimate comfort food—that won’t weigh you down.
Per serving: 226.3 calories, 6.6 g fat (3.5 g saturated), 16 g carbs, 4.6 g sugar, 593 mg sodium, 4.6 g fiber, 23.9 g protein.
17. SLOW COOKER MOROCCAN LENTIL SOUP
With 20 grams of protein and only 260 calories, this filling lentil soup is a weight-loss win. Schmitt says a big reason that people falter on their goals is because they’re bored of eating the same healthy options. “This soup changes that game,” she says. You’ll get a kick of flavors like ginger, curry, and cinnamon in every bite.
Per 1-cup serving: 260 calories, 1 g fat (0 g saturated), 45 g carbs, 7 g sugar, 577 mg sodium, 20 g protein.
18. SLOW COOKER CHICKEN ENCHILADA SOUP
This chicken enchilada soup has 22 grams of protein and less than 200 calories. It’s also low-carb, with only 10 grams per serving. It’s topped with avocado (because, of course), which Schmitt says will help you get your fill of potassium, folate, and healthy fats.
Per 1-cup serving: 193 calories, 7.2 g fat, 10.2 g carbs, 3.9 g sugar, 600 mg sodium, 4.1 g fiber, 22.3 g protein.
19. CAULIFLOWER CHOWDER
The best way to get more veggies? Sneak them into a delicious, creamy chowder. This recipe uses cauliflower as its base instead of potatoes, which keeps it low-carb. It also has almost eight grams of protein, which make it a satisfying snack.
Per 1-cup serving: 193.1 calories, 11.4 g fat (4.8 g saturated), 17.4 g carbs, 6.4 g sugar,124.4 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 7.7 g protein.
20. VEGAN CREAM OF BROCCOLI SOUP
Leanne Vogel / Healthful Pursuit
Unlike many creamy soups, this one is thickened without flours or starches. It’s vegan, paleo, and free of gluten and refined sugar. The recipe calls for seven cups of veggies, and each serving has almost eight grams of fiber. “By swapping traditionally used heavy cream for unsweetened almond milk, the soup is transformed into a lighter, more plant-based option,” says Schmitt.
Per serving: 123 calories, 3.9 g fat, 19 g carbs, 7 g sugar, 678 mg sodium, 7.5 g fiber, 6.5 g protein.