We love cold weather for all of the cozy foods we get to enjoy! Even here in San Diego, we get cold nights where we relish a delicious, warming bowl of comforting soup. While some soups can be unhealthy, there are many great things to appreciate about soups. The right soup can even help you lose weight.
You know we don’t like diets; we’ve said it a thousand times before. We absolutely detest the cabbage soup diet. That’s probably what you think of when you hear “soup” and “weight loss.” However, the cabbage soup diet lacks nutrients, and it is a fad diet where you are bound to fail and rebound. But, we do love soups as part of a healthy winter menu. You can make them interesting, with a wide variety of ingredients. Even creamy soups can be made healthy with the right ingredients! You just need to make some swaps to enjoy them. Talking of swaps, we suggest making your own broth. Whether you want a vegetable or meat-based broth, store-bought versions can be packed with salt. When you make it yourself, you can add seasonings instead of salt. If you do buy it, be sure to pick a low-sodium version.
As you build up your soup, you can add a ton of veggies to your meal! They make a soup really hearty and satisfying. Things like green beans, cabbage, cauliflower and celery are excellent in soup. They are also low in carbs and help you reach your vegetable goals while being different than a standard, boring way to serve them in warmer months! And they add a ton of texture. Creamy soups, while delicious, aren’t as filling. The more you chew and enjoy different textures, the more you psychologically feel fuller.
“Purée style soups that require little to no chewing,” said registered dietary nutritionist Lindsey DeSoto, “can leave you feeling unsatisfied and hungry.”
You can swap in veggies for noodles and make chicken and vegetable soup that is just as delicious! “Choosing a bowl with lean protein like chicken can help promote satiety, as protein helps to slow digestion and promotes blood-sugar stability,” said registered dietitian Isabel Smith.
And, of course, stews are a favorite of the season for their deep flavors and the way they leave you feeling satisfied. When you make one with protein-rich meat and fiber-dense veggies, you’ll feel full and keep your blood sugar stable! And lentils are another hearty soup that’s perfect for winter and filled with both fiber and protein.
If you want to cook up a cauldron full of soup and freeze it, that’s a great idea! Broth-based soups freeze well. Creamy ones, ones with noodles, and soups with starchy vegetables don’t fare so well in the freezer. If you want to re-heat a creamy soup, it won’t be as smooth, and it will take longer or need to be thinned out. If you’re going to freeze a noodle soup, consider leaving the noodles out and adding them to each bowl — freeze the soup without the noodles. And, as for potato or other starch-vegetable-based soup, the texture will change too much for it to be worth it.
We hope that, armed with these tips, you do enjoy more soups this winter as part of your healthy diet. They can be an excellent meal that helps you reach your goal while spicing up your seasonal menu!