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New England Clam Chowder

new england clam chowder

This recipe was created by bariatric surgeon Dr. Joseph McPhee

This recipe for New England Clam Chowder is an example of how you can enjoy foods that are high in fat if consumed in moderation. A serving size of 1 ½ cups contains 351 calories, 38 grams of carbohydrates, 20 grams of protein, and 14 grams of fat. When eaten in small amounts, this chowder tastes great and is very satisfying for dinner or lunch along with a side salad.

In previous recipes I’ve explained how fats are essential to a healthy diet. However, it is important to know the difference between the types of fats and those that are good for you and those that are not.

Look for trans fats when reading nutritional food labels because they are simply not healthy for you. They have been shown to raise the bad cholesterol, LDL, and contribute to heart disease. Trans fats are commonly found in fried foods, baked goods, processed frozen foods and anything in the salty chips category. These foods should be consumed only on very rare occasions.

The other fats listed on food labels are the saturated and unsaturated fats. Saturated fats come from animal sources such as milk, cheese and meats. These fats are acceptable to eat now and then but not as the main source of your fat intake.

On the other hand, unsaturated fats can actually be good for you. These are broken down into polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats come from olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds. The polyunsaturated fats include omegas 3 and 6, which are also found in nuts, as well as fish, especially salmon. These fats have been shown to actually lower bad cholesterol and reduce your risk of developing heart disease.

Although fats are essential to our diet they are still a source of calories. For a standard 2000 calorie per day diet, only 20 to 30 percent, about 60 grams, should be from fats, even the healthy ones.

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 35 to 40 minutes
Total time: About 1 hour and 10 minutes


  • 5 slices bacon, standard thickness (chopped)
  • 1 cup onion (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 2 cups clam juice
  • 2 ½ cups Russet potatoes (cut into small cubes)
  • 2 cups whole baby clams
  • 2 cups 1% milk
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper


  1. Fry the bacon in a 4 to 6 quart pot until it begins to brown and turn crispy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Remove the bacon, drain on a paper towel, and set aside. Add the onions to the bacon grease in the same pot and sauté over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in the thyme and parsley and continue to sautéing another two minutes.
  4. Add the clam juice and potatoes and simmer until the potatoes start to soften, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  5. Then add the baby clams, milk, half and half, butter, and pepper. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for another 15 minutes.
  6. Stir in the reserved bacon and serve.

Makes 6, 1 ½ cup servings.

Nutritional Information
Per 1 ½ cup serving: 351 calories; 14g total fat (8.4g saturated fat, 0.7g polyunsaturated fat, 3.3g monounsaturated fat); 791mg sodium; 95.7mg cholesterol; 37.8g carbohydrate; 3.2g fiber; 8.7g sugars; 20g protein; 778mg potassium.

author name

Joseph R. McPhee, MD

Joseph R. McPhee, MD, is a physician specializing in bariatric surgery with Healthy Weight Management & Bariatric Surgery.

Education: A graduate of New York University and Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, Dr. McPhee completed a fellowship in minimally invasive surgery at Eastern Virginia Medical School and his residency at North Shore University Hospital.

Call: 717-544-2935

About LG Health Hub

The LG Health Hub features breaking medical news and straightforward advice to help individuals of all ages make healthy choices and reach their wellness goals. The blog puts articles by trusted Lancaster General Health clinical experts, good 'n healthy recipes, videos, patient stories, and health risk assessments at your fingertips.


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