A warm bowl of soup is a great way to warm up on a cold winter day, but it can also be a low-cost, quick, and easy way to add some great nutrition to your day. Follow these helpful tips for making soup delicious and nutritious:
- Soups can be versatile. They can be served as an appetizer, side dish, or main dish. Soups can be thick and hearty, smooth and creamy, or savory. They can even be served hot, such as minestrone, or cold, such as mango and cucumber soup.
- Be sodium savvy. To keep soups tasty and healthy, use low-sodium broth, stock, or soup base for the foundation. Experiment with flavorful herbs and spices in place of salt. The best replacements for savory flavors include black pepper, garlic powder, curry powder, cumin, dill seeds, basil, ginger, coriander and onion. Use minced or powdered garlic and onion rather than garlic or onion salt. When substituting minced or powdered garlic and onion for the salt version, use about half as much.
- Use the Nutrition Facts Labels on canned soups. This will help you choose soups with lower sodium levels. Foods with 140 milligrams (mg) of sodium or less per serving can be labeled as low-sodium foods. Claims such as “low in sodium” or “very low in sodium” on the front of the food label will help you know which ones contain less salt.
- Boost the nutrition by adding or substituting ingredients. Adding extra vegetables during preparation will up the nutrition you are getting from your soup. Using cheese, sour cream, or bacon sparingly as a topping or garnish will keep your soup lower in fat and calories. Or choose healthier substitutes like reduced-fat shredded cheese, low-fat sour cream, non-fat plain yogurt, or turkey bacon. Substitute a whole-grain product for a refined product – such as using whole-wheat noodles, barley, or brown rice in soups and stews.
- Cook once, eat twice. Homemade soups can be made ahead of time and in large quantities. Eat refrigerated soup within three to four days or freeze it. Don’t let soup set at room temperature for more than two hours. To speed cooling, store soups in shallow containers. When serving a second time, bring to a boil.
Experiment with different recipes and ingredient substitutions for healthier soups. Find ways to vary your veggies with warm soups in the colder months and focus on fruits with chilled soups in the warmer months.