If losing weight is on your to-do list, try slurping some soup. A bowl of soup is mostly liquid, making it a lower-calorie way to feel satisfied without actually being stuffed — or stuffing in lots of calories. This is why so many diets tell you to drink water all the time. The more full you feel, the less likely you are to consume unwanted calories.

If losing weight is on your to-do list, try slurping some soup. A bowl of soup is mostly liquid, making it a lower-calorie way to feel satisfied without actually being stuffed — or stuffing in lots of calories. This is why so many diets tell you to drink water all the time. The more full you feel, the less likely you are to consume unwanted calories.

Of course, not just any bowl of soup works with this plan. Many canned varieties are loaded with sodium, and creamy soups can be filled with fat.

Making soup in your own kitchen can be easy, and is the best way to control what you consume.

For broth-based soups, be sure to start with a reduced-sodium broth, then add plenty of vegetables and beans or grains. Besides being low in calories and filling, beans and grains are packed with healthful dietary fiber and nutrients.

If you want a creamy but low-fat soup, you might start with a base of pureed vegetables. Winter squashes and sweet potatoes can be roasted to intensify the flavors, then run through a food mill, blender or food processor. Added to broth, these purees make for a wonderfully creamy soup base.

Start to finish: 25 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1/2 pound 97-percent fat-free kielbasa or smoked sausage

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 1/2 cups peeled, diced potato

1 (15-ounce) can black-eyed peas, rinsed

5 ounces frozen collard or turnip greens or spinach

1 (14-ounce) can reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 1/4 cups water

Salt, to taste

Ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Cut the sausage in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. In a large pot over medium, heat the oil. Add sliced sausage and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onion and saute until softened, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the potatoes, black-eyed peas, greens or spinach, broth and water. Bring to a simmer, cover pot and cook over low heat until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Season with the salt and pepper.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 279 calories; 102 calories from fat (36 percent of total calories); 11 grams fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 40 milligrams cholesterol; 32 g carbohydrate; 16 g protein; 6 g fiber; 971 mg sodium.