Healthy Soups

With winter approaching, soups are easy to make and are terrific for people trying to lose weight. Broth-based or tomato based soups fill you up without being high in calories or fat as opposed to the cream based soups which are the ones you want to try and avoid when eating healthy.

Here are a few tricks to increase the flavour of your soups while lowering their fat content:

  • If your recipe calls for pre-cooked vegetables such as onions, celery, or carrots, use a very small quantity of oil or cooking spray. If you need more moisture as the vegetables are browning, add in a couple of tablespoons of water, wine, or broth.  

  • When using meat, choose leaner cuts whenever possible, like skinless chicken or turkey breast, pork tenderloin, or sirloin steak trimmed of visible fat. Brown meats in a separate pan and discard before adding to your stock pot.

  • Miso - fermented soybean paste - adds savour to soup stocks, especially vegetarian broths.

  • Fry your spices for a minute or so over medium heat before adding them to your soup. Add dried herbs at the beginning of the cooking time, so they have plenty of time to rehydrate and give off their flavour and fresh herbs towards the end of cooking or stir them in right before serving. Some fresh herbs even work well sprinkled on as a garnish.

  • If your recipe calls for a heavy cream, use pureed cooked potatoes instead. Or remove about two cups of your cooked soup and blend until smooth. (Use a stick hand blender for best results, or puree it one cup at a time in a blender. Hold the lid on tight with a kitchen towel to protect yourself from burns.) Stir the puree back into the soup to thicken it.

  • The lower-fat options for "cream" like whole milk, low-fat milk, and fat-free half-and-half are more sensitive to high heat, so avoid boiling and add them to the soup toward the end just to warm.

  • One cup of whole milk is about 150 calories and 8 grams of fat. Using whole milk will usually give your soup the creamy taste and texture you desire, but without all the excess calories and fat. The lower-fat options for "cream" like whole milk, low-fat milk, and fat-free half-and-half are more sensitive to high heat, so avoid boiling and add them to the soup toward the end just to warm.

  • If the soup recipe calls for stirring in butter at the end of the cooking process, just don't go there.

  • Pump up the fiber in your soups by adding beans when possible and use whole grains like barley, brown rice, wild rice, or whole wheat blend pastas instead of refined grains.

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”
— Winston Churchill...

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” Winston Churchill