Forget Super Bowl Sunday! The real bowl game is Monday when we all celebrate National Homemade Soup Day! And actually, my friends, Alice and Wil, are taking soup to a Super Bowl party. Last I heard, they haven’t decided whether to make tomato or broccoli cheese soup. Any leftovers will be perfect to mark Monday’s holiday.
Eating Well.com's registered dietician Kerri-Ann Jennings notes that soup often is the better choice over a sandwich for lunch. Why? Penn State’s College of Agriculture Sciences notes that while regularly eating can help you drop a few pounds, canned versions can be problematic due to high fat and sodium levels. Soups that have a broth or a tomato-based liquid are good because they are lower calories. And cream-based or cheese-based soups will be higher in calories.
Becky Hand, a registered dietician, points out on SparkPeople.com that soups can be an inexpensive way that you can add protein, vitamins and minerals to your diet. She noted that people who eat broth or vegetable-based soups as a meal’s first course eat 20 percent fewer total calories during the meal. Soups also cause you to slow down while eating, which lead to a feeling of fullness sooner (thus causing a person to consume fewer calories). Soup is a sensory eating-experience that engages the eyes, nose and taste buds, which can make eating a more pleasurable experience.
The good news is that you can use seasonal produce in homemade soups. Hand also suggests that you can make additions to canned soup that will boost the nutritional power as well as the flavor. These additions can include: herbs and spices, such as pepper, parsley, basil, oregano or ginger; frozen or leftover vegetables, such as spinach, corn, celery and carrots; and legumes and whole grains, such as beans (kidney beans, black beans, cannelloni beans, and lima beans), lentils, brown rice, whole wheat pasta and barley.
So what are some of the healthiest and tastiest soups? Here are some suggestions.
- Tom Yum Gung - A 2001 story on CNN.com pointed to a joint study out of Thailand’s Kasetsart University and Japan’s Koyto and Kinki University that found that ingredients in Thailand’s favorite soup, Tom Yum Gung, are 100 times more effective in slowing cancerous tumor growth than other types of foods. This soup includes shrimp as well as herbal ingredients, including coriander, lemon grass, lime leaves and galangal roots.
- Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup – Latina.com's Valerie Tejada reported that this soup is high in vitamin C and lycopene, which helps boost immunity during flu season.
- Butternut Squash Soup – This soup is high in both vitamin A and vitamin C. Its high potassium level helps fight high blood pressure, while it also is rich in folate.
- Tortilla Soup – This soup has lots of spices and cayenne pepper; that combination can ease a sore throat. It also is low in fat and high in protein (assuming you don’t add a lot of cheese, which I –unfortunately – often do).
- Pumpkin Soup – This soup has a high level of beta-carotene and is rich in vitamin C and potassium.
- Vegetable Soup - This soup – which can include green beans, zucchini, carrots, celery, squash and broccoli – can provide lots of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Research has indicated that vegetable soup can actually help prevent cell damage as well as major illnesses.
- Chicken Noodle Soup – Mom (and grandma) was right! This soup has been found to help people who are sick get better.
- Split Pea with Ham – This is one of Dad’s favorite soups. It has carrots, onions and diced ham (as well as peas), and provides a good amount of vitamins and minerals, especially potassium and vitamin K. This soup also is high in fiber, which is important for digestion.
So take some time over the weekend (and before the Super Bowl) to whip up a big batch of homemade soup. I promise, it will provide provide you another bowl full of nutritious goodness on Monday (and for much of the rest of the week)!