6 Worst Soups in America

What's your New Year's resolution?

Let me guess: It's probably a lot like last year's resolution, which had something to do with dropping pounds, getting into shape, and squeezing back into your favorite jeans.

By the way, how did that work out for you last year?

Most Americans make resolutions about weight loss, and studies show that more than 50 percent of us give up on them by March. But not you, not this year! Here's how you make weight-loss success easy: If you cut just 400 calories a day, you can lose nearly 20 pounds between now and the first day of summer. Just 400 calories. That's nothing! Maybe you'll even find your abs.

To show how easy this is, I've selected six popular soups—classic winter comfort food—and compared them with smarter swaps that can save you 200, 300, even 500 calories. Just choosing a soupy hero over a soupy villian will get you more than halfway toward your weight loss goals. So let's get started—compliments of the new Eat This, Not That! 2012. The bottom drawer of your dresser is full of slightly too small clothes that will soon be fitting you like a glove.

And for more instant secrets that will keep you healthy and fit all year long, follow me right here on Twitter or sign up for our FREE Eat This, Not That! daily newsletter to lose weight without ever dieting again.

6. WORST LEGUME-BASED SOUP 

Amy’s Organic Soups, Indian Dal Curried Lentil (2 cups/1 can)
460 calories
16 g fat (2 g saturated)
1,360 mg sodium

Dal is a healthy staple throughout the Indian subcontinent, but in Amy’s version, these legumes are awash in fat. Each can contains more than a full tablespoon of vegetable oil, which contributes nearly a third of the total calories. Switch to Amy's Light in Sodium Split Pea, instead. It cuts calories and sodium by more than half and provides a hunger-crushing 12 grams of fiber.

Eat This Instead!
Amy's Light in Sodium Split Pea Soup (2 cups/1 can)
200 calories
0 g fat (0 g saturated)
660 mg sodium

5. WORST POTATO SOUP

Pacific Natural Foods Organic Rosemary Potato Chowder (2 cups/1 container)
460 calories
16 g fat (10 g saturated)
1,460 mg sodium

Pacific’s soup may be natural and organic, but with this much cream, it's certainly not light. With an escalated calorie count and half a day’s saturated fat, this chowder seems like it should be served from a fast food window. In fact, you'd take in fewer calories if you ate a McDonald’s 4-piece Chicken McNuggets with small fries.

Eat This Instead!
Pacific Natural Foods Organic Butternut Squash Bisque (2 cups/1 container)
220 calories
7 g fat (3 g saturated)
1,020 mg sodium

DISASTROUS DRINKS: The beverage aisle is more likely than any other aisle to sabotage your waistline, because it takes your body longer to register liquid calories. Click through the Worst Drinks in America to see which are safe to sip—and which you should skip so you don't gain a day's worth of calories in 5 minutes. 

4. WORST SEAFOOD SOUP

TGI Friday’s New England Clam Chowder
500 calories
18 g saturated fat
1,560 mg sodium

When it comes to chowder, it's all about region: Manhattan-style relies on a tomato base, whereas New Englanders prefer a far fattier cream base. That detail makes all the difference, as evidenced here by Friday's 500-calorie chowder. Switch to Manhattan or, when at Friday's, this Chicken Noodle instead and you cut the saturated fat load by more than 80 percent!

Eat This Instead!
TGI Friday's Chicken Noodle
250 calories
3 g saturated fat
1,240 mg sodium

3. WORST CHOWDER

Au Bon Pain Corn Chowder (large)
510 calories
26 g fat (12 g saturated)
1,640 mg sodium

The other problem with chowders: They can be weighed down by high-calorie dairy ingredients. Milk and half and half sit atop this one's ingredient list, followed shortly thereafter by heavy cream and butter. The result is a bowl of soup that swallows up 60 percent of your saturated fat allowance for the entire day. Get your Tex-Mex fill for fewer than the half the calories by switching to the Southwest Vegetable Soup instead. Make a trade like this for lunch every day and you'll lose more than half a pound each week!

Eat This Instead!
Au Bon Pain Southwest Vegetable Soup (large)
250 calories
7 g fat (1 g saturated)
580 mg sodium

2. WORST VEGETABLE SOUP

Cosi Tomato Basil Aurora (large)
597 calories
54 g fat (33 g saturated, 3 g trans)
1,701 mg sodium

Tomato soup is one of the good guys, right? While typically this is true, a single bowl of Cosi's bisque will saddle you with more than 1.5 days' maximum allotment of saturated fat, not to mention a dangerous glut of trans fat. Here are a few foods than contain less saturated and trans fat: Burger King Triple Whopper, 13 Taco Bell Steak Nacho Cheese Chalupas, and an entire medium-sized pepperoni pizza from Domino's. Switch to the Moroccan Lentil Soup for less than half the calories and an impressive 15 grams of fiber. Cosi's soups tend to be on the salty side, though, so stick to a regular serving size to keep the sodium levels in check.

Eat This Instead!
Cosi Moroccan Lentil Soup (regular)
238 calories
4 g fat (0 g saturated)
1,225 mg sodium

HIDDEN HEALTH FOODS: Not all delicious-sounding restaurant dishes will set you back in your quest for leanness. Find out which meals ended up on our list of 20 Shockingly Healthy Restaurant Foods.

1. WORST STEW

Panera All-Natural Sonoma Chicken Stew with Mini Dry Jack Biscuit
630 calories
34 g fat (20 g saturated, 1 g trans)
2,030 mg sodium

Panera’s chicken stew sinks to the bottom of this list thanks to its precipitous calorie count, a full day's saturated fat, and nearly a full day's worth of sodium. This stew fares poorly across every major nutritional category, which makes it the worst bowl in America. Switch to the Garden Vegetable Soup instead, which delivers three times the fiber with a mere fraction of the calories.

Eat This Instead!
Panera Low Fat Garden Vegetable with Pesto
150 calories
5 g fat (1 g saturated)
930 mg sodium

Finally, don't trust your local supermarket, where they should be playing "Welcome to the Jungle" every time you walk in. Trust in the new Eat This, Not That! Supermarket Survival Guide 2012, and start by swearing off the 20 Worst Foods in the Supermarket! 

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