There’s nothing like a steaming bowl of soup on a cold winter day. But that bowl of soup in front of you can be a hearty, good-for-you meal or an unhealthy diet disaster. High amounts of sodium, fat and calories are commonly found in many soup recipes, but it’s possible to enjoy this season staple with some substitutions that make it a healthy soup.
Ditch The Can, Make A Healthier Soup
Here are 5 tips for making your soup healthier without sacrificing taste.
1. Make Your Own Stock
Instead of opening a can or box of store-bought broth, make your own soup stock. This allows you to enhance the flavor of your soup without sending sodium levels soaring. To make a flavorful vegetable stock, roast an assortment of vegetables. Once browned, add to a pot of boiling water and simmer over low heat for 1 hour. Pour stock through a strainer.
2. Replace the Fat
Creamy soups taste delicious, but they’re loaded with fat and calories thanks to additions like butter and heavy cream. You can still enjoy a thick, rich-textured of healthy soup without all the fat by pureeing cooked cauliflower, potatoes, rice or oats with your soup base. Try this cauliflower and leek soup recipe to keep you warm this winter. You can also replace some of the cream called for in a recipe with non-fat Greek yogurt or coconut milk.
3. Add More Veggies
Vegetables are a great way to add depth to your soup while increasing the nutritional value and fiber in every bowl. Experiment with whatever you have on hand, and chances are, your soup will still taste great. Any type of green works well. Just be sure to add towards the end, so you don’t overcook. Other veggies, like mushrooms, onions, fennel, celery, carrots, butternut squash and parsnips also add tons of flavor and nutrition.
4. Bulk it Up
Soup can be a great low-calorie meal, and the more fiber it contains, the fuller it leaves you when the bowl is empty. You can up the fiber content of any healthy soup by adding beans, lentils, whole grains or vegetables. Some grains to try? Barley, quinoa, farro, bulgur, wild rice or whole-wheat pasta.
Need Other Food Alternatives?
Need to lower your sodium or increase your fiber intake? Our nutritionist can collaborate with your care team, but we have available resources now.
5. Use Herbs and Spices
Most Americans consume too much sodium daily, and one major source of sodium in our diet comes from soup. You can limit the amount of sodium in your soup by using flavorful spices instead of salt, such as cayenne, cumin, cilantro, oregano or curry. Add fresh herbs for vibrant flavor, but be sure to wait until just before serving to incorporate them or use as a garnish.
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