It’s cold outside!
How about a nice chilly bowl of soup?
When thinking about soup, most of us conjure up an image of something hot and steamy that includes vegetables, usually some protein, and is typically served for lunch or dinner.
How many of you think about soup that's hot or cold, made with vegetables, fruit, or both, or eaten for any main meal? Breakfast soup? Now, for something completely different!
Soup not only offers us a variety of ways to be included in our daily eating plan but, it also offers us a tremendous amount of health benefits whether it’s hot or cold, made with a healthy homemade recipe (e.g. low sodium, low fat), or is a healthy commercially prepared brand.
Whether you like it hot or cold, Soup Is Beneficial Anytime of the Day or Year!
Depending on the recipe used, soups can help you consume more antioxidant packed vegetables, seaweed, whole grains, spices, and fruits, which all provide your immunity with a great big boost and your gut with many servings of colon friendly fiber.
Due to feeling fuller (increased satiety), studies have shown that eating a lower calorie broth based soup, prior to eating your main course, can lead to a 20% reduction of total meal calories consumed. It is important to note that this would not pertain to a calorie laden heavy cream and/or cheese based soup because many of them provide 400 calories or more, YIKES!
Many studies have shown that consumption of healthy soup at any meal during the day leads to less calories eaten throughout the entire day.
Some soups can really pack a protein and fiber punch when they include red, green, or brown lentils, legumes such as black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, soy beans (edamame), cannellini beans, pinto beans, and much more such as peas!
Because we need to sip it very carefully, hot soup makes us slow down to enjoy our meal.
Soup gives juicing a run for its money because you benefit from all of the great bulk, fiber, and antioxidants found in soup rather than much of it being thrown away, as it is in many juiced products.
Tips for purchasing healthy commercially prepared soup canned, frozen, or boxed
Thoroughly read both the nutrition label and ingredients list.
Avoid high sodium and/or fat products, which you can assess by the nutrition label %DV (Percent Daily Value). Items providing 5% of a nutrient's DV are considered low and items providing 20% or greater are considered high.
Remember that items in the ingredients list are listed from high to low pertaining to weight, so if you see a sodium or fat source listed within the first few ingredients, you know there is more of it than the ingredients following that particular item.
Frozen soups usually have lower sodium than canned and boxed however, there are many soups now labeled as "no salt added", "low sodium", or "reduced sodium."
Look for 100% whole grains in the ingredients list whether it is brown rice, whole wheat pasta, etc.
Avoid ingredients that you’ve never heard of and/or would not use in your own cooking (e.g. high fructose corn syrup).
Avoid buying products with any hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils added because there is no amount, except for virtually zero, recommended for a healthy diet.
Look for healthy oil sources that you choose to use such as olive, canola, sunflower, etc.
Tips to Create a Healthier Creamy Homemade or Purchased Soup
Add low fat fresh milk (e.g. cow, almond, soy) and a thickener such as cornstarch.
Stir in low fat milk powder.
Stir in pureed beans (e.g. pinto beans into chicken tortilla soup). If they are canned, be sure to check the sodium content because many of them can be high.
Add healthy instant dried mashed potato flakes.
For a cold soup, such as gazpacho, puree some avocado and stir it in to make it creamy, like the picture above.
Add small diced potatoes with the skin to add a little starch, fiber, potassium and much more!
To make my tomato soup creamy, I love to stir in virtually salt free farmers cheese, which comes packaged similar to cottage cheese.
My lentil soup recipe instructs me to remove half of the soup, once it's done cooking, puree it, then return it to the main pot with the rest of the soup and it provides a wonderfully creamy base without any added fat and/or calories from cream.
Use Your Pantry and Freezer For Quick Ways to Improve Soup's Nutritional Value
Try using kombu, which is a seaweed that, because of umami, adds amazing flavor without adding salt, packs a great nutritional punch, and stops beans from causing as much gas, bonus! See Recipe Links below to read more about it and how to use it in your next creation.
Add dry beans or lentils.
Stir in low or no salt canned beans or rinse canned beans that have added salt to help lower the sodium.
Drop frozen vegetables or fruit, without added salt or sugar, into the pot.
Use up your dry whole grains (e.g. brown rice, barley, whole grain pasta, quinoa).
A family friend stirs low sodium spicy V-8 juice into her gazpacho for a little kick!
Enjoy the Recipes below, Have a great day and
thanks so much for reading!
Breakfast!! Excellent protein from chickpeas and umami from the miso with this great recipe from Martha Stewart: http://www.marthastewart.com/1050525/breakfast-vegetable-miso-soup-chickpeas
Who wants blueberry soup for breakfast?: https://food52.com/blog/10377-blueberry-soup
Awesome way to start a meal or use as a base to add some lean protein to: http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/planning-and-prep/recipes/gazpacho-recipe
AICR – American Institute for Cancer Research soup recipes: http://www.aicr.org/healthyrecipes/soup.html?_ga=1.25332532.864361431.1480441932
This fabulous recipe features vegetables and fruit so it can be used for however you like: http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/120914p66.shtml
Take it nice and slow with this slow cooker soup recipe from the AHA – American Heart Association: https://recipes.heart.org/Recipes/1313/Slow-Cooker-Thai-Chicken-Soup