Written by Jenny Kidd, RD, LD with Julie Couchman
With the cold weather rolling through, soup is often a go-to meal. It seems to warm us up from the inside out. While soups can be full of hearty ingredients, watch out for high calorie or other nutrition pitfalls. For example, cream-based soups are typically high in fat and calories and broth-based soups can be high in sodium. In most grocery stores you can find canned soups available in low or reduced fat and/or sodium versions.
Keep in mind that “reduced” just indicates that the soup has 25% less of that specific nutrient (such as fat or sodium) than the original version of that product, not that it is necessarily considered to be low in that nutrient. Read the Nutrition Facts label to confirm the actual nutrient content of the product.
If you’re making it from scratch, consider these alternative ingredients to improve the nutritional value of your soup:
- Skim or low-fat milk (or low fat evaporated milk) instead of whole or reduced fat versions
- Low sodium broth bases
- Various herbs and spices to season your soup (skip the salt)
- Fresh vegetables for more fiber and added vitamins and minerals
- Chunks of lean meats to increase protein and make it a more complete meal
- Pureed vegetables like pea, various squashes, or tomato for a thicker consistency without adding cream
Another tip for skimming the fat off your soup is to do just that…cool the soup in the refrigerator and as it cools the fat will solidify on top. Skim the fat solids off the top before reheating to reduce fat content.