Want Health? Get Souped!
Author: be well™ with Big Y® Registered Dietitian Team
The power of this one-bowl wonder.
Velvety broth, flavor cornucopias and colors of the rainbow with a helping of protein—what’s not to love about soup? Add in hearty whole grains and you’re eating from three Food Groups at once. This one-dish meal may be a fan favorite during cooler weather, but true soup enthusiasts know you can enjoy this nutrition powerhouse all year long.
Nutrition Power #1: Hydration
The base of any soup has a little secret: It’s a source of hydration in your meal plan (Check out our article to learn how to make your own.). As you work toward your daily total water goals (Read more in our “Drink to Good Health” article.), be sure to include your servings of this liquidy goodness into your calculation.
Nutrition Power #2: Illness Fighters
When chocked full of herbs, spices and vegetables, soup may be one of the most potent, tastiest sources of nutrition on your menu. Think about it: All of the vitamins, minerals and antioxidant-acting plant compounds offered by colorful plants are gently steeping in the broth you drink and vegetables you eat. This makes soup the original trendsetter for getting nutrients galore in one sip— well before smoothies were ever a twinkle in our eyes.
Nutrition Power #3: Let There Be Protein
Soup is an easy point of entry for getting more plant-based protein into meals. As you cook up your favorite meat-based soups, consider expanding the kettle party invitation to dried beans, peas and lentils. Go for it and be adventurous in making these delightful little morsels the all-stars in your pot too. Cooking up bean-rific options like minestrone, white bean chili and Moroccan lentil soup is sure to delight your taste buds.
Nutrition Power #4: You Had Me at Whole Grain
Soups with starchy vegetables, like white and sweet potato and butternut and acorn squash, work perfectly for providing a nutrient-rich source of carbohydrates. If your recipe is missing out on this imperative brain and muscle fuel, explore the kingdom of whole grains. Instead of the standard semolina noodle or white rice, paint your bowl with the varying shades of whole grain pasta and alternative grains such as brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, sorghum and wild rice.