During the colder months, eating a bowl of soup is a comforting and filling way to take away the winter chill. By making your own soup, you are in control of putting together a variety of healthy ingredients to ensure that you and your family enjoy a delicious and nutritious meal.
There are many advantages to making your own soup. You can cook it in advance and freeze it so that you have a convenient meal stored away to thaw and eat anytime. It’s also an inexpensive way to add vegetables, protein, fiber and minerals to your diet. Believe it or not, soup can also be used to curb your appetite. In various studies on food consumption, people that ate broth or vegetable-based soups as the first course of a meal consumed 20% fewer calories. And making homemade soup can also be a great way to get children involved in learning about and tasting new vegetables—you can chop up the veggies and have the kids add them to the soup.
If you want to be chef à la soup, check out these easy tips to make sure the soup you make is healthy and filling.
- To add calcium and protein without the extra fat, instead of using cream, try using skim milk or calcium-fortified soymilk instead.
- Try adding either fresh or frozen veggies like spinach, broccoli, corn, celery, carrots and potatoes that can help increase fiber, vitamins, and minerals in the soup.
- A healthier approach to reduce the use of sodium (salt) to flavor the soup is to add your favorite herbs and spices. Experiment with basil, oregano, parsley, garlic, pepper or salt-free seasoning blends.
- To add more filling power, add beans, lentils, lima beans, brown rice or whole wheat pasta. Beans and whole grains add protein along with fiber.
- Potatoes, especially russet potatoes, can be pureed into thick and creamy soups—no saturated fat like butter or cream required.
- Use a low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock as your base and then add your vegetables and meats (chicken, fish, shellfish, or lean meat).
Want more ideas for whipping up healthy soups—or healthifying any meal? If you are a Health Advocate member whose services include Wellness Coaching, give your Wellness Coach a call. They’ll be able to give you tips and tricks on making your meals delicious and nutritious!