Hi. My name is Niki and I’m addicted to soup 🙂
Is there anything more satisfying than a home-made soup on a cold wintery day? My patients often tell me they often resort to soups at lunchtime as they are a quick and simple go-to meal that warms their insides. However, when I put their soup recipes under the microscope (not literally 🙂 ), I often discover that the soup is lacking in certain areas for it to be considered a main meal. Here are some simple-as-pie tips to put together a sufficiently nutritious soup which will tide you over until snack time or mealtime.
Step 1) Veggies galore: fresh, frozen or canned (the former two being more ideal) all do the trick. Broccoli, asparagus, leek, onion, cauliflower, mushrooms, peppers, leafy greens, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, carrots, cabbage, zucchini, etc. The ceiling is the limit :). You may even wish to use veggies that are on the verge of going bad or parts you may not typically think of using such as broccoli or cauliflower stalks (no need to waste these nutritious little guys 🙂 ). Vegetables are low-calorie, high-fiber and high in protective phytochemicals, so no need to use moderation here.
Step 2) Protein: lentils, chickpeas, red beans, white beans, black beans, soybeans, silken organic tofu, hemp seeds, etc. Protein is required at every meal as it is important for long-lasting energy, satiety and for most of your body’s functions. To have sufficient protein, aim to have 3/4 to 1 cup of legumes (lentils, chickpeas, etc.) OR 45 grams of hemp seed per portion of soup.
Step 3) Starch/Carbohydrates: sweet potato, regular potato, quinoa, whole-wheat couscous, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, black rice, wild rice, barley, etc.. (or instead of having your grain product IN your soup, you could have it as a “side” and crumble some whole-grain crackers onto your soup or have a slice of toasted whole-grain bread with your soup). Carbohydrates are your body`s main source of energy, like car fuel, and are vital for concentration and mood. Not having a source of carbohydrates at meal time can lead to cravings or a more primitive hunger later on that day. To have sufficient carbohydrates, aim to have 1/2 cup to 1 cup of grain products per portion of soup (if you are very physically active, you may need to up this to 1 1/2 cups – consult a registered dietitian if you are wondering about your specific needs).
Step 4) Liquid: Low-sodium vegetable broth, water or unsweetened plain soy beverage (the latter gives the soup a creamier texture). The amount of liquid you add will determine the texture of your soup. It is best to add less liquid at first and then progressively add more if the texture is too thick for your liking.
Step 5) Blend all ingredients…or not.
Step 6) Bon appétit! Let yourself be energized by the fruit of your labour.