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Super soups

Nothing warms you up on a cold winter day like a steaming bowl of soup. Unfortunately, soup can be a real salt trap if you choose a canned or prepared version. In fact, even with a so-called “healthy” version, you can slurp your entire sodium limit for the day with just one bowl.

With more than 75 percent of the average American’s sodium intake coming from processed or prepared foods, it makes perfect heart sense to make your own soup. It’s easy and gives you complete creative control over the final product. Bonus: You’ll be doing your blood pressure a big favor! Try these two tasty recipes.

Broccoli soup, serves 6

3 cups chopped broccoli (or 2 10-oz. packages frozen broccoli)
½ cup diced celery
½ cup chopped onion
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups nonfat milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
dash pepper
dash ground thyme
¼ cup grated Swiss cheese

Place vegetables and broth in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook until vegetables are tender (about 8 minutes). Mix milk, cornstarch, salt, pepper and thyme; add to cooked vegetables. Cook, stirring constantly, until soup is lightly thickened and mixture just begins to boil. Remove from heat. Add cheese and stir until melted.

Per serving: 140 calories, 3 g fat (2g saturated), 10 mg cholesterol, 270 mg sodium, 20 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 11 g protein

Firehouse lentil soup, serves 6

1½ cups uncooked lentils
6 cups water
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon oregano
2 bay leaves
4-oz. can diced green chilies, undrained
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium carrot, diced
¼ cup lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil

Place first 6 ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil and simmer until lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove 1 cup of lentils and puree with green chilies in blender. Add back to the soup. Add bell peppers and carrots and cook until the vegetables are tender. Discard bay leaves; serve with lime juice and olive oil.

Per serving: 200 calories, 3 g fat (1g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 80 mg sodium, 32 g carbohydrates, 12 g fiber, 13 g protein

Recipes reprinted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s