Tips for Making Hearty, Healthy Bowls of Homemade Soup | Culinary and peasant recipes

Fancy a hot meal? A tasty bowl of soup may be just what you need. Some soups contain high amounts of sodium and saturated fat, but a few tips and tricks can help create a nutritious yet delicious soup.

Although making soup isn’t a new idea, soup recipes give you the opportunity to create a simple and filling meal. When making soup from scratch, be creative in guiding the process, such as adding more or fewer ingredients or using what you have on hand.

Add protein (such as lean ground beef, skinless chicken breast, seafood, beans, peas, and lentils), complex carbohydrates (such as brown rice, barley, and whole-wheat pasta) and vegetables (such as broccoli, kale or spinach). Soupe. Broccoli and leafy greens are high in antioxidants that play a role in preventing disease and supporting your immune system.

Adding these different food options can add fiber, vitamins, including A and C, and minerals, such as potassium, to a diet. Keep in mind how to balance flavor. Some ingredients can enhance or neutralize the sweet, salty or bitter taste of a recipe.

For example, the acidity of acidic ingredients, such as citrus juice or vinegar, can help reduce sweetness and spiciness.

A 2007 research study, “Soup Preloads in a Variety of Forms Reduce Meal Energy Intake,” in the journal Appetite, observed the effects of consuming a nutrient-rich vegetable soup at the start of a meal. The results show how eating a variety of nutrient-dense soup recipes provides satiety. Therefore, eating soup decreases the portion sizes of other foods in the meal that one might want to limit, including the amounts of added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium.

This study supports the consumption of vegetable soup to help balance key nutrients. Since soup is a water-rich food, it makes you feel full as an appetizer or meal. Higher vegetable intake may reduce overall intake of added sugars, saturated fats and sodium.

There are many unique styles of soup. Be innovative and change things up to find what you like best. Prepare a broth, a soup in pieces or a puree to vary your diet.

Many soups found on grocery store shelves often contain high amounts of sodium. An increased sodium intake is associated with a significant risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. Reading the Nutrition Facts label can help identify products high in sodium. When buying soups, broths, or other canned goods, choose options with no added salt or very low sodium, meaning 35 milligrams of sodium or less per serving.

Jessica Levinson, registered dietitian, shares in her 2014 article, “Ring in the New Year with Nutritious and Delicious Soup,” that to make your own broth, use water, fresh vegetables, herbs, and spices to maintain the low sodium. Making soup at home lets you add ingredients or skip parts of a recipe to make the soup to your liking. Use flavor-enhancing ingredients like herbs and spices to reduce the amount of sodium in the soup without sacrificing flavor.

Limiting the amount of saturated fat in a soup recipe will make it healthier. Many people love the cheesy broccoli soup and lobster bisque. These soups are high in calories and saturated fat.

Whole products, including butter and cream, provide the flavor and smooth texture of a traditional cream-based soup. You can achieve a similar consistency using other ingredients.

Add starchy vegetables like potatoes, white beans or butternut squash to create a healthier creamy soup base. You can also add peeled and boiled zucchini or cauliflower.

Blend the vegetables in an immersion blender or in small quantities in a blender. If you’re adapting a recipe that calls for dairy, consider trying fat-free or half-low-fat or fat-free evaporated milk in place of heavy cream. These low-fat substitutes can be sensitive to high heat, often curdling, so avoid boiling them by reducing the heat to low and adding these ingredients near the end of the cooking time.

Considering these points, you can now compare the typical soup ingredients to the nutrient-dense ingredients for making soup. For example, add beans and replace refined white grains with whole grains, increase the variety of vegetables, replace fat-free evaporated milk with heavy cream, decrease the use of fatty cuts of meat, and replace salt with herbs and spices.

Once you’re done making a nutritious and delicious one-bowl meal, add some nice toppings like chopped nuts, seeds, chives, or even salsa to your hot soup and enjoy.

Samantha Zlotorzynski is a Penn State Extension nutrition, health promotion and food safety education educator in Northumberland County.

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