If you’re sticking to your promise to eat more healthfully, think soup.
It’s filling and, when made with the right ingredients, can make you feel better by the bowlful.
“There is research that suggests when you have a bowl of soup before a meal you consume fewer calories,” said Bethany Thayer, registered dietitian nutritionist and news media spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “The fluid is helping give that sense of fullness.”
You need only look to the latest food trends for soup recipe inspiration. Vegetables are everywhere right now and for good reason. They are loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals.
At Russell Street Deli at Detroit’s Eastern Market, soups are big business (they serve about six varieties on any given day) and the most popular are the ones packed with greens, says chef Derrick Bonds.
“We always try to make them as healthy and hearty as possible,” Bonds says.
And home cooks can, too: Just go for the greens, says Larissa Shain, a registered dietitian with the Metabolic Nutrition and Weight Management Program at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland hospital in Pontiac, Mich.
“Using the green leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables means it will be high in vitamins and fiber,” she says. And green veggies, Shain adds, contain chlorophyll, which is rich in magnesium. “Magnesium lowers your risk for strokes, diabetes and osteoporosis.”
Shain’s other tips for healthy soups: Use a low-sodium stock (her favorite is Trader Joe’s boxed chicken stock with 70 milligrams of sodium per 1 cup), no-salt-added canned beans and fresh or frozen vegetables.
Here we spotlight some soups that taste good and are good for you. They are low in sodium, fat and calories, and high in vitamins and fiber.
Slow-cooker broth: Larissa Shain says you can make your own broth as a base for soups. Here’s how: Place a whole chicken, water and vegetables (onions, carrots, celery) in a slow cooker. Let cook all day on low. Remove the chicken, pick the meat off it, strain the liquid into a bowl. Cool and refrigerate it. Chill it until the fat rises and gels on the top. Remove and discard the fat.