This post was written by Rachel Stohlman, RDN, LD, community outreach dietitian, Parkview Health.
Winter is the perfect time of year to dive into warm hearty foods that nourish the soul, fuel your body and benefit your overall health. Soup is an excellent example and the perfect dish for doing just that. Still not convinced? Let’s take a closer look at some reasons to fall in love with soup this winter.
Soup is a delicious way to get creative while consuming nutritious foods and enjoying your favorite flavors. Don’t be afraid to dive into a variety of soup types. From broth or cream to bean or fruit-based soups, you can enjoy a variety of tastes, textures and colors while hitting most food groups in one dish. The options are endless for making soups a nutritious and delicious meal.
- Make veggies the main event – With any soup recipe, opportunities to double up on or add vegetables are great. Vegetables can help develop the flavor of your soup, like spiciness from a hot pepper or sweetness from butternut squash. No matter what you choose, making vegetables the main event can help increase the fiber, vitamin and mineral content of your soup while allowing you to meet the daily recommended servings and help lower your blood pressure, reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke, boost your immune system, and have a positive effect on blood sugar and weight management.
- Pump up the volume – Another great nutritional add-in can include beans. They are a fantastic option because they pack a powerful punch of fiber and protein, transforming any soup into a hardy meal.
- Shake things up with a bit of spice – Herbs are an excellent way to enhance the flavor of a soup while developing a denser nutrient profile. Utilizing spices in your homemade soups can also help decrease additional salt intake, as store-bought soups are typically higher in sodium.
- Leaner is better – Choosing non-fat, low-fat or lean cuts of meat and dairy products is a great way of lowering saturated fats within your soup and making it a nutritious meal option.
A cost and time saver
With food prices increasing, soup is a great budget-friendly option for getting a nutritious meal. Soup also allows us to utilize produce that may not be the freshest but is still entirely acceptable for consumption. Using vegetable scraps to make vegetable stock or foods you would typically throw out because they’ve ‘gone bad,’ you are reducing food waste while stretching your food budget and making your groceries go further. Throwing in frozen vegetables is also a low-cost option that can reduce cooking time, as frozen vegetables are already blanched. Doubling your soup recipe and freezing the extra for later is also a great time saver and helps a nutritious meal last a little longer.
Let’s get cooking!
There are many reasons to enjoy a variety of soups this winter, so let’s pack a nutritional punch with one of my favorite soup recipes.
Easy Tomato Basil Soup
- Cook the onion and garlic in oil for a few minutes until it turns golden.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and cook over medium heat, stirring every few minutes until they have broken down and are soft.
- Remove from heat, then add the basil, salt and pepper.
- Carefully put the hot contents into a blender or food processor (be sure to allow for venting), or blend with a stick immersion blender until smooth.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!
Nutritional facts: 68 calories, 3g fat, 205mg sodium, 11g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 2g protein
Adapted from a recipe featured on Our HEALing Kitchen