Nothing beats a warm bowl of soup on a chilly night. You can enjoy soup all year round, and for those in a rush, they work excellently as meals that you can make in bulk and freeze later.
Healthy soup recipes can help improve the function of your digestive system. At the same time, because soups are water based, they are an excellent way to fill the stomach and lower overall calorie intake. Such recipes can be incredibly easy and fast to make. If you are making a lot of soup, it’s worth investing in a blender, even a handheld one, to purify quickly.
Typical cream-based soups simply are loaded with calories and saturated fats. Cream and butter can give that cream texture, but aren’t good for keeping trim or a heart-healthy diet. Here are some ideas for healthy replacements:
- Golden Squash And Corn Soup – this delicious, yet healthy soup recipe features pureed butternut squash as its base, which gives it a distinct gold color. One cup of butternut squash has 1.84 grams of protein and 82 calories. Butternut squash is also a good source of potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and calcium. The soup is perfect for kicking off meals. It can even be enjoyed as a light lunch. For a more delightful flavor, add some briny feta cheese and fresh thyme.
- Broccoli-Cheese Chowder Recipe – Broccoli is an excellent source of potassium, phosphorus, calcium and vitamins A, C, K and E. For healthier benefits and to ensure a creamy texture, use tangy, smooth, and reduced-fat sour cream to replace the cream and cheese. You can gain much of the creaminess of cheese by replacing half of it with mashed potato.
- Gazpacho – This cold vegetable soup originated in the southern region of Andalucía. It is excellent for a summer’s day. It’s very easy to make – just add tomatoes, green peppers, onion, garlic and cucumber together and puree in a blender. Then drizzle with olive oil and red wine vinegar. The tomatoes are high in potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and zinc. Green peppers are good for potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium and vitamins C, A and Niacin.
How to make your soups Healthier
Healthy soup recipes can be made tastier and healthier with the following simple tips:
- If your recipe calls for pre-cooked vegetables–such as onions, celery, or carrots–use a very small quantity of oil or cooking spray. If the vegetables start to stick to the pan during the frying, add a tablespoon or so of water, wine or broth to keep them from burning.
- Miso–fermented soybean paste–gives a savory, meat-like flavor to vegetarian or other broths. If following a recipe, you can often replace the beef with a miso soup broth. Add a tablespoon per quart of water.
- When cooking meat, do it in a separate pan. Discard the fat and oil, and pat meat dry with paper towel before adding to your stockpot.
- Fry your spices for a minute or so over medium heat before adding them to your soup. Add dried herbs at the beginning of the cooking time, and fresh herbs right before serving.
- If your recipe calls for a heavy cream, use pureed cooked potatoes instead. Stir the puree back into the soup to thicken it.
- To add real cream flavor, stir in a few tablespoons of heavy cream and replace the rest with water or skim milk, e.g. for a cup of cream. A little cream will go a long way to thicken the texture and add flavor.
- Replace whole milk with skim milk or low fat milk, which is lower in calories and fat, but has the same amount of protein – roughly 8 oz per cup.
Why should I not eat too much soup?
Some soup recipes may be high in salt. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends a daily intake of sodium at 2,300 mg. On average, Americans consume 3,400 mg per day, so any cut backs are recommended to lower your blood pressure, risk of hypertension and lower your risk of stroke and heart disease.
Some vegetables like cabbage or beans in healthy soup recipes can cause unwanted digestive gas. If you know you react badly, try replacing that ingredient with a different vegetable.
Lastly, beware of consuming canned healthy soups. Canned products can contain high levels of bisphenol A or BPA, a chemical used to prevent can linings from rusting. When accumulated in the body, BPA can lead to specific forms of cancer and weakening of important internal organs like the liver and kidney. Also, many canned soups are high in sodium, so check with the nutrition label before consuming.
Healthy soup recipes are simply delicious and easy to make. Because they are water based, they can be ideal for a weight loss program or part of a heart-healthy diet. Healthy soups can be made tastier and more nutritious with a few simple substitutions. Don’t be afraid to experiment – soups usually get richer with extra layers of flavor.