Contributed by Sue Moores, M.S., R.D., Kowalski's Nutritionist.
Soup can be an excellent contributor to a healthy you, especially when you make your own. Whether or not it fits into the body-beneficial category hinges on what's in the bowl.
For starters, soup can help whittle the waistline. Studies have found that eating a broth-based soup before a meal can reduce the calories you eat at that meal by as much as 30 percent. There's something about the weight of soup in your stomach, which yields a feeling of fullness, and the slower time it takes to eat soup that make it good for managing weight, assuming you're eating the right type of soup.
You can maximize soup's health quotient, no matter whether you buy prepared or make it yourself. Try these tips:
- Ensure vegetables are a prominent ingredient. Every single one of them is a winner.
- Choose soups that contain beans or whole grains — ideally both. They're food for your microbiome, which is a significant component of your immune system.
- Prioritize broth-based soups over cream-based ones to keep calories and fat in check.
- Add in more ingredients. Many soup recipes lend themselves to add-ins, beyond what the original mix calls for, such as additional vegetables, whole grains and beans. They add color, texture and interest. Get adventurous by including new-to-you ingredients.
- Keep sodium in check by selecting or making soups with less than 600 milligrams of sodium. Offset some of the sodium load by including ingredients in the soup that are rich in potassium, such as potatoes (sweet or white), mushrooms, dark green vegetables and beans/legumes or partnering the meal with fruits, milk, nuts, poultry or fish. Additional potassium helps balance out excess sodium.
Our recipe for Green Chicken Enchilada Soup, pictured here, is an easy soup recipe to get you started. It takes just 15 minutes to prep and only 10 minutes to cook.
Boost the health factor of this recipe by adding cooked brown rice or bulgur in the soup with grated cojita cheese, sliced avocado and lime wedges on top.
Selection and availability of products and ingredients varies by market.