By Angela C Torrence, Recent ASU Nutrition Student
The season for soup will soon be here. I am so excited to make new combinations of vegetables, broth, herbs and seasonings! There is nothing more satisfying than a great bowl of warm soup and some hearty bread as the weather cools. A healthy love for soup is a great thing! One study put out by the British Journal of Nutrition found that if you eat soup, you might be ingesting less calories and have an overall better diet quality!
The study found that soup consumers had a lower waist circumference and a lower BMI. People who consumed soup had a lower intake of fat, and a higher intake of minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium, iron, copper, and potassium, but they also had a higher intake of sodium. The study looked at the food groups including fruit, vegetable/legume, and whole grain intake by non-consumers and soup consumers and found that the overall diet quality of soup consumers was higher than non-consumers. In fact, it was found that soup consumers had a higher intake of dietary fiber which helps with controlling blood sugar and helps with GI health too!
All of these findings go to show that if you want this comfort food, go ahead; make it! Soup can even act as an appetite-suppressant for a short period of time. It is great for hydration because it has so much water, but be careful not to add too much salt. The research identified higher levels of sodium in soup consumers compared with non-consumers.
One of my favorite soups is a vegetable lentil soup largely from a Martha Stewart recipe but slightly modified to my preferences. It is warm, hearty, filling, and really hits the spot with some excellent bread and olive oil.
Vegetable Lentil Soup
2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped (3/4 cup)
2 carrots, peeled and chopped (3/4 cup)
2 celery stalks, peeled and chopped (2/3 cup)
3 garlic cloves, minced (1 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 small tomato, chopped (1/3 cup)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups brown or green lentils
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
ground black pepper
6 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
4 cups water, plus more if needed
Heat a large soup pot over high heat and swirl in the olive oil. Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, cumin, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Reduce the heat to low and saute until the vegetables are lightly caramelized, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for another 2 minutes.
Add the lentils, thyme, bay leaf, pepper, and the remaining salt. Add the broth and water, and bring to a boil, skimming and discarding any foam as it rises to the surface. Reduce the heat and simmer until the lentils are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. (The cooking time depends on the age of the dried lentils.) Season to taste with salt and pepper. If needed, thin the soup with additional water or broth for the desired consistency.
If you don’t take some time out of your life to learn a few really great soups to enjoy, you are really missing out! Try this one to start, and make it your own. Enjoy!
More soup posts from Fill Your Plate: