Especially this time of year when Old Man Winter is in full force, there’s nothing I love more than a bowl of soup as a meal. Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or even a snack, soup is filling (hello Volumetrics!) and you can pack so much nutrition into a single bowl. Not to mention that soup is pretty fool-proof one-pot dish to make, and usually keeps well as leftovers.
Over the years, I’ve found that no matter what soup recipe you’re following, you can almost always up the nutrition and lower the fat and sodium with a few easy swaps and additions. The best part, because all the flavors in the soup meld together, as long as you keep the proportions right, no one usually notices the healthier changes!
1. White potatoes for sweet potatoes. If your recipe calls for potatoes, try swapping regular white potatoes for sweet potatoes. The change will add a new rich flavor to your soup and you’ll get more vitamin A!
2. Sausage for turkey sausage. Sausage can yield so much good savory flavor to a soup, but it’s so high in calories and fat. Nowadays, there are so many tasty brands of turkey chorizo, sausage or even kielbasa out there, not to mention meat-free options, there is no reason to use the fat-filled stuff. Switch it up and see what you like best!
3. Herbs for salt. Although making your own soup is better than buying high-sodium canned soup, your salt content can still get pretty high even when you use lower-sodium broth. So, instead of shaking that salt liberally into your pot, give your soup deep flavor with a variety of herbs. Try fresh thyme, basil, oregano, parsley, cilantro and even a little mint to season your soup.
1. Add dark leafy greens. If you have trouble getting those healthy greens in your diet, here is the perfect opportunity. Stir a handful or two of fresh kale, spinach or turnip greens into your soup. It takes just a minute or two for them to wilt, and they’re not only nutritious, but they give your soup a pop of pretty green.
2. Throw in some beans. Beans are the magical fruit! Toss black beans, white beans, garbanzo beans — any type — to add some fiber!
3. Double the garlic and onions. Almost every soup calls for onions and garlic, as they lend so much flavor. They also lend a ton of low-calorie nutrition, too, so double the amount of each in your soup. You’ll get twice the health benefits and don’t worry about garlic breath — everyone will be too wrapped up in enjoying your soup to notice!
What’s your favorite healthy soup recipe?
December 16th, 2010