If chilly days have you digging out your best soup and stew recipes, here are five ingredients that can help make them even tastier and healthier:

Tahini

You may think of tahini as a dip, but it’s also a great way to give vegetable soup hearty smoothness without adding fat. Tahini is made from sesame seeds, which contain iron, calcium, magnesium, as well as methionine, an important amino acid that supports healthy liver function and promotes healthy skin and muscle tissue. Tip: Go easy with tahini because a little goes a long way – it’s healthy, but keep in mind that one tablespoon has 85 calories and 8 grams of fat.

Hot Spices

Give your soup or stew a kick of sodium-free heat by adding some cayenne pepper, chili powder, ginger, or red pepper flakes. Not only do these spices taste great, they can even help you lose weight!  In a recent study people served spicy hot meals felt satisfied eating smaller portions, saving up to 70 calories.

Pureed Cauliflower

Chowder fans: Next time ditch the usual heavy cream and start with a cauliflower puree base.  Your chowder will still have the thick, creamy consistency you love, but your recipe will weigh-in about 700 calories lighter!  Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable that’s really good for you, providing important nutrients and antioxidants that fight disease including some cancers.

Citrus

Whether you prefer the taste of lemon, lime or orange, squeezing some citrus into your soup offers cleansing benefits and gives your immune system a nice boost.

Greek Yogurt

Most cream-based soups are chock-full of calories and fat, but you can enjoy delicious creamy soup without guilt by making yours with Greek yogurt instead of heavy cream.  What’s great about Greek yogurt is that it’s rich in calcium and probiotics, with little to no fat or sugar, and three times as much protein as regular dairy.  All that protein will make your cup or bowl of soup super-filling, and give your body what it needs to build and maintain healthy muscle tissue.

For delicious high fiber meal plans, recipes and tips on healthy eating, drinking and losing weight, check out my latest book, The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber!

Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a registered dietitian in New York City and the author of two bestselling diet books:  The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with fiber and The F-Factor Diet. Follow Tanya on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and subscribe to her free weekly weight loss newsletter

Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a Registered Dietitian in New York City and the author of two bestselling diet books: The F-Factor Diet and The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber.

Subscribe to Tanya’s FREE Weekly Newsletter and follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. To learn more about Tanya’s private nutrition counseling services visit www.ffactor.com.