Five Ways to Make Your Soup Healthier
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 healthy substitutions.
Here are five tips for making your soup healthier without sacrificing taste:
- 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 strainer.
- 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 soup without all the fat by pureeing cooked cauliflower, potatoes, rice or oats with your soup base. You can also replace some of the cream called for in a recipe with non-fat Greek yogurt or coconut milk.
- 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 greens work 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.
- 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 soup by adding beans, lentils, whole grains or vegetables. Some grains to try? Barley, quinoa, farro, bulgur, wild rice or whole-wheat pasta.
- 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, including 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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Date Last Reviewed: September 20, 2019
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Nora Minno, RD, CDN