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Low Calorie Substitutions for High Calorie Cravings: Tuna Chowder

Nothing is better on a cold day than chowder, and the warm, familiar comfort of tuna chowder can completely turn around an otherwise difficult day. The traditional version of tuna is loaded with both fat and calories, which can wreak havoc both on your health and weight loss goals. We'll teach you how to create a low calorie version of tuna chowder. It is as nutritious as it is delicious. Try it out today!

Traditional Tuna Chowder

It's important to understand what's in the original tuna chowder recipe, and why it is unhealthy for us. Tuna chowder is typically composed of canned tuna, chicken broth, milk, butter and flour which are combined to make a roux, potatoes, canned peas and/or carrots, and salt. Let's examine these ingredients one at a time.

Fish in general, but especially tuna, is one of the healthiest types of protein available. Tuna does not contain saturated fats which are typically found in other protein sources such as beef and pork, which can contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease, stroke and even some cancers. Instead, tuna contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for brain health and can treat and prevent some of the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. However, canned tuna often contains high amounts of added sodium or other preservatives. While sodium does not contain any calories, it leads to water retention and weight gain.

The roux found in most tuna chowders is composed primarily of chicken stock, milk and a thickening agent such as flour. Chicken stock contains high amounts of added fat, which contribute to weight gain, as well as sodium, which as discussed above leads to water retention. In addition, high fat milks can also add extra unnecessary calories.

Finally, canned vegetables are often loaded with sodium, calories and other preservatives. No only will these vegetables contribute to weight gain, but consumption of them can lead to other more serious health conditions.

A Healthier Tuna Chowder

So how can you make a healthy low calorie tuna chowder that is still satisfying and delicious? Easy. Start by using tuna steaks instead of canned tuna. While tuna steak can be more expensive that the canned version, you will be assured that the tuna is in it's most natural form, free from added calories, salt and other preservatives. For a less expensive product, choose frozen tuna steaks instead of the fresh varieties.

For the traditional roux that is served in tuna chowder, start by swapping a prepackaged chicken stock with your own homemade version. Do this by purchasing a whole, raw chicken, and boiling it in a pot of clean water. Once the chicken has been completely cooked, remove it from the water and serve, store or freeze. The remaining water can be used to form the roux. Using milk that is low or non fat will help to eliminate some unnecessary calories, as will using fresh instead of canned vegetables.

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