Best secrets for making healthy soups


Best secrets for making healthy soups

A hearty bowl of soup is always a welcomed meal.  Filling, satisfying, soups can be a great choice any time of year especially when you make them from scratch.  When loaded with lots of protein, fresh vegetables, beans and spices, your bowl of soup can be a powerhouse of nutrition.

In order to make a mouth-watering, nourishing bowl of soup, here are your need-to-know soup-making secrets you can feel good about serving your family:

·      Begin with the broth – Most of us use store-bought broth.  It’s quick, easy and convenient but it’s also loaded with sodium, unless you buy the reduced sodium version.  To step up its nutritional value and taste power a notch, try simmering broth with extra meat, bones, or aromatics such as herbs, spices, or fresh ginger or garlic for at least 20 minutes.  Strain the broth then use it for your soup.

·      Use all parts of the vegetables – No need to waste veggies – use those stems and tops from veggies like broccoli, leeks, chard, even celery. Every part of the vegetable can provide lots of extra nutrients while reducing food waste.

·      Rinse canned beans – Beans are one of the best ingredients to add to your soup.  You benefit from the extra fiber, protein, magnesium and other important nutrients they contain.  Make them even healthier by placing canned beans into a colander and rinse them for a minute under cold running water.  This can reduce the sodium content by 40%.

·      Use up leftovers – Have stale bread or mashed potatoes to get rid of?  Add them into your soup. This not only helps use up leftovers but these items can provide a creamy rich texture without all the fat.

·      Besides fresh, be sure to use canned and frozen veggies – Fresh, canned, or frozen, you can add any vegetable to soup.  The frozen and canned vegetables are easier to store and are usually less expensive than fresh vegetables.

·      Experiment with whole grains – Soups are perfect for incorporating healthy grains you may not cook with.  Grains not only can thicken a soup as it cooks but also creates an irresistible broth coating your spoon.  Good grains to add into soups are farro, wild rice, bulgur, barley, and quinoa.

·      Add in healthy protein – To take your soup and make it meaty, use healthy protein sources such as chicken, turkey, shrimp or scallops, or ham. These can add a nice flavorful and filling option.

·      Don’t forget low-carb options – Besides the usual carrots or corn in soups, take advantage of zucchini, cauliflower rice, sweet potato noodles, mushrooms or tomatoes.