Up here in NY we are looking forward to an extremely cold week ahead with temperatures not getting past the teens most days! I don’t know about you but for me the perfect meal on those days is soup! I love a steaming hot, delicious bowl of soup – it warms the soul as much as the body. And if it is made with quality ingredients it can be a great tool to help you lose weight as well! The theme of my free weekly newsletters this year is No-Nonsense Nutrition, and soup is a big part of that.
If you want to lose weight, and most of us at this time of year either recommit to that as a goal or just want to drop those extra holiday pounds, soup is a wonderful meal idea. Obviously heavy, cream-laden soups would not be a good choice but you honestly don’t have to give up that creamy mouth feel altogether – just be smarter about how you get it.
Broth based vegetable and bean soups are the #1 choice for you if weight loss is your goal. (Remember organic ingredients make it more nutritious.) Bean soups are loaded with protein and fiber and if you use a low sodium, organic vegetable, chicken or beef stock as the base, they will fit the bill perfectly. The beans also help you feel full.
My friend, Luanne, makes a wonderful chicken-vegetable soup with extra veggies and then removes a portion of the veggies and broth – purees them and adds them back giving her soup a rich, creaminess without adding any cream! You can also substitute unsweetened coconut or almond milk for heavy cream and get the same result. Adding mushrooms, especially baby bellas or portabellas that have been lightly sauteed in coconut or olive oil will add a beefiness without any meat as well as healthy fat if you prefer to skip the meat.
If you make beans your protein of choice and add a healthy grain choice, you will have a complete protein.
If you want your soup to be a complete meal you can make some tiny meatballs from organic beef and drop them into your base raw and let them cook through gently as the soup cooks. You will get the flavor of the beef throughout and if you serve your soup with a scoop of quinoa or barley, you have a beautifully balanced meal. And because it is broth based it will fill you up more quickly.
Also remember to be generous with the spices! Herbs and spices will kick up the flavor and boost the nutritional value without adding any additional calories or fat!
Do you enjoy soup at this time of year? What is your favorite?
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