Get Your Soup On
There’s nothing better on the freezing cold and dark days of late, than a thick, warming, delicious soup. Whether for lunch, dinner or even breakfast (we won’t judge!), there are many benefits lying in that humble bowl of soup…
Weight Loss Wonder
When it comes to weight loss, soups offer several great advantages. Consisting mainly of water or fluid, soups help to fill your stomach up, despite containing very little calories – and feeling full on fewer calories is always a weight loss winner! Very often, a large part of hunger is actually just thirst, so if you start off your meal with a big bowl of vegetable soup you’ll feel less hungry, and subsequently be less likely to overindulge in the rest of your meal – which is what causes that unwanted bulge!
Additionally, the heated element of soup means it has to be eaten slowly, giving your brain enough time to register when your stomach is actually full – before it’s too late! This also helps with weight loss as it ensures you don’t wolf down your food – further helping you to feel satisfied while keeping your calorie intake in check!
Nutrient-packed soups are also a delicious way to incorporate more plant-based foods into your diet (as you’ll read more about below). If you eat hearty, filling, low-fat soups more often, you’ll have less room for high-calorie, high-fat foods. Simple!
There are, in fact, several studies attesting to the satiety inducing properties of soup. One study, for example, showed that women who ate two servings of low-calorie soup a day lost 50% more weight than those who ate the same amount of calories from snack foods!
The importance of packing extra veggies into ones diet may be well known, but it’s not always so easy to do so – especially if raw or cooked veggie eating isn’t quite your thing! Yet for those of you who visibly grimace at the thought of eating your greens, there are other options – devouring a delicious bowl of thick Carrot, Ginger & Sweet Potato Soup, hearty French Onion Soup or my famous “World Cup Pea Soup” (to name but a few!) might be somewhat more enticing!
Soups can (and should!) be especially flavoursome, so the same veg in a bowl of soup might make them that bit more appealing for those normally fussy veggie eaters among us! This has been proven in a study which found that when children in a day-care centre were served vegetable soup at lunch, as opposed to vegetables in non-soup form, they took in more vegetables overall – and less of the unhealthy main course!
Homemade soups are full of vitamins and minerals from whatever vegetables are included, and as all the nutrients remain in the liquid nothing is lost, either! They are usually low in fat too (if prepared properly – sans cream!), making them a real nutritional win! The best “creamers” for cream-less soups are pureed cooked starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots and cauliflower, as well as pureed cooked beans or lentils – simultaneously adding vitamins and minerals too, – a real win win!
Waste Not Want Not
Soups are a great way to use up leftovers, or those veggies in the fridge that are no longer fresh enough to be served raw. Of course you should NEVER use rotten food, but there are often veggies that are just starting to spoil but would still be perfectly fine when cooked – thereby preventing wastage! If you have leftover cooked noodles, brown rice, quinoa, and/ or other grains, these can all be added to soups, too!
Soups and stews are great options for money saving meals. Basic ingredients such as carrots, beans, barley and lentils are so inexpensive and can make up an entire delicious dish!
Soups can be prepared ahead of time and, as mentioned, are a great way to use up leftovers already on hand. Tinned beans and lentils also make a great instant addition! Another great tip is to use frozen vegetables, such as spinach, peas and carrots, and because there’s no need to thaw or cook them first, it makes whipping up a batch of veggie soup a breeze! Most soups also require little attention once you’ve got the ingredients simmering in the pot, so you may as well make a large batch and freeze several containers for busy days.
Soup is All You Need
When you have a thick, hearty, homemade soup, all you need is a fresh green salad or vegetable crudités and some whole-grain bread, to create the perfect healthy, wholesome meal.
If you’re worried about a lack of protein, include a legume, such as peas, beans or lentils, or even some shredded chicken, and/ or a grain, such as barley, brown rice or quinoa, and you’ll have a perfectly well-balanced and delicious meal!
You can even go all-out and garnish soups with fresh herbs, thinly sliced spring onions, chives, red peppers or a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese – it has a strong flavour, so a little goes a long way!
So there you have it – there’s really no excuse not to tuck into some soups this winter (and all year long!). Whip up a batch today and enjoy! 🙂
See the following links to get some of my favourite “Food Effect friendly” recipes:
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