Cooking healthy soups is a great way to stay on track with your healthy eating because you can cook a big pot of soup on the weekend and then eat it a few times during the week.
Soups with good sources of protein and fiber are usually filling enough to be served for lunch or dinner. A bowl of warm hearty soup is very comforting and satisfying and is a perfect meal for fall and winter.
Hearty soups are usually good for freezing. So, you could cook two or three different soups and put them in the freezer. This way your family members won’t get bored eating the same soup all week long.
How to Make a Healthy Soup
In general, making soup is very easy. All you have to do is cook some vegetables, grains, and sometimes meat or fish in some liquid.
Here are a few tips to help you cook the healthiest soup possible:
1. Choose healthy nutrient-rich vegetables. They will add fiber to the soup and make it more nutritious. The best vegetables for fall and winter soups are winter squash, cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, beets, onion, garlic, leeks, celery, and bell peppers.
2. Add lean protein sources. If you eat meat, use chicken, turkey or fish. Don’t forget about plant-based protein sources such as lentils, beans, and chickpeas. They are nutritional powerhouses and will help you stay full longer.
3. Use low glycemic whole grains such as quinoa, barley, bulgur, or wild rice. They will add more bulk to the soup and make it more filling. Whole grains are also high in minerals and vitamins.
4. Add some leafy greens to the soup. Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, beet greens, collard greens, and Swiss chard will add color to your soup and boost its nutrient content.
When it’s cold and dark outside, nobody wants to eat a salad. So, adding leafy greens to your soup helps to get more of them into your diet during the cold time of the year.
5. Choose low sodium stock. It’s always a good idea to make your own homemade stock. You can also buy good quality chicken or vegetable stock at a grocery store. When buying the stock, check the ingredient list and make sure it has no weird ingredients listed. All you want to see are chicken, vegetables, and spices.
6. Boost the flavor of the soup. Fresh and dried herbs such as parsley, dill, cilantro, thyme, oregano, basil, chives, and rosemary will take your soup from good to great.
The best spices for soups are paprika, cayenne pepper, hot pepper flakes, black pepper, garlic, and onion powder. Adding some lemon or lime juice can also help highlight the soup flavors. You can also boost the savory umami flavor by adding some low sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos.
As you can see, it’s quite easy to cook a healthy satisfying soup. You can even create your own unique recipe using the things you already have in your fridge and pantry.
If you want more tips and tricks, check out my guide to making a perfect low glycemic soup. Or just go straight to choosing an easy healthy soup recipe from the list below.