Yes, Soup for You!

  • 2 Minutes Read
  • Dec 6, 2011

Yes, Soup for You! It is really cold outside and all I want for dinner is a nice bowl of hot soup. Will that work within a healthy, calories controlled meal plan? Yes! Soup can be very nutritious, healthful, and economical - especially if made from scratch.

Yes, Soup for You!
It is really cold outside and all I want for dinner is a nice bowl of hot soup. Will that work within a healthy, calories controlled meal plan? Yes! Soup can be very nutritious, healthful, and economical - especially if made from scratch.

Stock

Stock is the basic building block of soup. If you cook meat, poultry, or fish at home, then you can use the bones along with a few vegetables and herbs to make your own. It simply requires time – simmering for a few hours to bring out the flavor of the ingredients, especially the bones.

It is convenient to buy stock if you don't cook at home very often. If you routinely buy a rotisserie chicken, then you can make your own chicken stock very easily. After picking off as much meat as you desire, throw the bones (not the skin) in a stock pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Add 2 carrots, 1/2 onion, and 2 stalks of celery. Simmer uncovered for about 2-3 hours. If you want a really nice recipe, try Alton Brown's chicken stock.

Add Legumes!

Adding legumes (dried beans or peas) will add a satisfying, high-fiber carb that is also high in protein, vitamins, and minerals. I bragged about beans in my January post. These nitrogen-fixing gems should be celebrated and spotlighted in our diets. Instead, they are often the butt of gas jokes (pun intended). By the way, post-meal gas will lessen with regular intake of beans.

My Favorite Soups

For me, soup is comforting, both physically and emotionally. We all have our own favorites. I'll share mine with you.

Ham & Split Pea Soup. My Aunt Susie made this for the family on a cold, overcast day while we were on vacation in the Pacific Northwest. I felt incredibly happy and nourished eating her soup. My aunt claims no fame to having a special recipe; she simply uses the recipe on the bag of dry split peas and tweaks it here and there. But she does use a ham hock. Folks, this is great reason to cook a real ham. Not only will it be a lot lower in sodium than packaged ham, but it makes the best darn soup ever. Here's Emeril's recipe for ham and pea soup.

Beef, Mushroom, and Barley Soup. Wow – talk about a soup with umami! This soup is very satisfying and flavorful yet still contains a reasonable number of calories if consumed as the entree. I like Cooking Light's Beef & Barley Soup as a starting point, but I add about 4-6 oz of sliced mushrooms to the recipe. Also, don't worry if you can't find or afford leeks - onions work just fine. This recipe contains only 300 calories and less than 550 mg of sodium for a 11/2 cup portion.

Curbing Sodium

Soup will be modest in sodium if you use homemade stock, unprocessed meat, fish, or poultry, and add very little salt to the simmering soup. If you use packaged broth or stock, then choose no-sodium or at the very least, reduced sodium types. If you use the iPod or iPhone MyNetDiary app, then you can modify your recipe to get the sodium down to what is acceptable to you. The "Dietary Guidelines for Americans" recommend limiting sodium to either 2300 mg or 1500 mg per day, depending upon your medical condition. Foods & Recipes->Soup
Katherine Isacks
Katherine Isacks, MPS, RDN, CDE - Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE)

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