When you think of weight loss and what you should be eating, salad is probably the first thing that comes to mind.
Fresh produce definitely has its place for people who are looking to slim down and cleanse their body of toxins while delivering optimum nutrition.
However, when it's chilly out, we’re not always in the mood for cold veggies. That's where soup comes in.
Soup makes for a healthy alternative to salad when you just can't bear the thought of crunching on one more carrot.
What's so great about soup and why is it good for weight loss? Soup, especially when it is prepared from scratch at home, can be loaded with healthy vitamins and minerals.
If made right, soup contains a balance of good nutrition and a full meal’s worth of calories... all in a single bowl.
There are tons of healthy soups to enjoy, from light and refreshing cucumber to classic chicken noodle, to creamy and hearty soups that eat like a meal even containing just a few ingredients.
Soup is highly useful if you’re trying to limit calories and fat while getting your daily intake of fresh veggies.
Soup fills you up, tastes great… and one bowl can deliver a serving or more of vegetables that go down easy with a warm, nourishing broth.
What's even more awesome about soup is that if you don't feel like chewing, you don’t have to.
Just puree it up in the blender, or whip out your immersion blender while the soup’s still cooking.
It’s simple to make a smooth and tasty, weight-watchers friendly soup that requires minimal effort to eat. In fact, if you have a sensitive stomach you can actually give your gut a break by pureeing your vegetable soup before you eat it.
Why is this important? Because sometimes that belly fat that we’re trying to whittle away with crunches really isn’t fat.
It could be inflammation from a sensitive gut. Pureeing healthy, homemade soup is one way to give your sore tummy a rest!
What Makes Soup Nutritious?
There is a general formula for making soup that brings nutritious balance to the recipe. When you consider the “soup formula,” you’ll realize that just about anything can become soup.
Leftovers from two night ago needn’t sit sadly wasting away in the back of the fridge. Instead they can become a quickly prepared, delicious and healthy soup. The key, as you might expect, is to have broth on hand.
The better quality broth you add to your homemade healthy soups, the more nourishing your soups become.
Most good soup recipes start by sauteing aromatics such as garlic and/or onion in oil. You might also add in a few sprigs of a flavorful fresh herb, or a blend of herbs.
Herbs that are commonly added to soup include rosemary, sage, and thyme. These herbs contain powerful healing properties thanks to the oils that come from the plant.
The powerful oils add flavor and health to your soup when simmered along with the other ingredients.
Next you would typically add other common soup vegetables to make what is known as a mirepoix.
Carrot, celery, and the aforementioned oil, garlic and onion combine readily for a perfect soup base. You could also chop up some parsnips and turnips as well as potato pieces for the start of your soup.
If you’re looking to stay within a limited range of calories and not overdo fat and protein intake, then soup with just enough meat to fill you up is your best bet for weight loss success.
Again, soup can contain meat, but typically not a lot. A lot of meat puts stress on the digestive system.
Plus, the purpose of soup is to create a sort of ingredient mix and match melange of tastes and textures.
While we’re on the topic of meat: It is also said that people who consume a lot of beef increase their risk of cancer.
However, red meat remains an important source of protein to fuel our bodies with iron and vitamin B12.
Soup is a great way get a modest serving of protein-rich meat along with a balance of other healthy foods including green vegetables, starchy vegetables and legumes.
Soup is often made with animal bones or shellfish stock. Broth cooked from animal bones is very beneficial for the body.
Simmering of the bones in water to slow cook for many hours means that your broth will be rich in collagen.
This is fantastic for the skin, tissues and tendons of the body. Collagen, combined with vitamin C and A plus minerals from vegetables that you add to the broth, makes the perfect healing mix of nutritious ingredients that also tastes delicious.
Alternate sources of protein are often added to soup. This includes beans, peas and lentils. These healthy plant based foods seem to be a curious plant hybrid of carb and protein.
They add fiber and bulk to the diet which is excellent for our digestion. Beans and legumes are said to reduce our risk of cancer and adding them to the diet assists with weight loss.
Cruciferous vegetables also fill us up while helping us stay regular and delivering a dose of antioxidants to reduce the risk of cancer.
It is also said that vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, kale and Brussels sprouts assimilate their nutrition more readily when they are cooked. While these vegetables “from the broccoli family” can be eaten as salad, this creates much more work for the digestive system.
If our body struggles to process certain cruciferous vegetables, this means some portion of the vegetables may go undigested.
Therefore, we may not be absorbing as much nutrition from these amazing, healing foods as we could if we cooked them in soup.
Soup makes for a warm and hearty meal. When it's cold outside, we look for more filling meals, which means we often choose the less healthy options such as box boxed mac and cheese or a burger with the works.
Having a healthy soup at the ready can fill us up. This means we’re no longer hungry, we feel satisfied, and we’re less likely to look for those foods that cause us to gain weight and are not as healthy for our heart and organs.
Another good point to make about soup is that a few cups of it supply you with a meal’s worth of veggies and carbs.
If you choose to also enjoy some protein for your meal in the form of meat, you might actually be able to reduce the portion of meat that you would normally eat because you have filled up on healthy soup.
Soup is a good thing to eat if you’re looking to round out your diet with a balance of healthy foods, and occasionally enjoy small to moderate portions of foods that are a little higher in fat, such as cheese, cream, bacon or red meat.
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Anyways, if you're a soup lover like me…
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I'm making chicken bacon ranch tonight :)