Soup's On!

Make soup a nutritional powerhouse with a few, easy additions
photo: Jules

I love salads, because they are easy to make, offer a big dose of nutrients, and are light and healthy.  In the warmer months, they are my "go-to" lunchtime meal.  But I must admit that salads just don't cut it during the depths of the winter season.  Waiting for my son at the bus stop in temperatures below 0, shoveling the front walk, scraping the snow off my car, and fighting the bitter cold that makes its way through the 100-year-old windows in my house leave me wanting something a little more substantial and a little less, well, cold.  A lunch from the stove top, rather than the refrigerator, is what appeals.

Does this mean I am destined to put on a few pounds during the winter months?  No way!  Here's my secret: think of soup as your winter salad.  You can make your average can of soup, which may be lacking in both taste and nutrients, a delicious and nutritious lunchtime meal in a matter of minutes.  Here's how:
  1. Soups tend to get a bad rap because of their sodium content.  Read the labels carefully, and select low sodium varieties
  2. Dress up your soup with many of the same ingredients you love in your salad.  Doing so gives you control over your meal, allowing you to take it from nutritionally okay, to a real powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, and protien that will keep you satisfied for hours.  Here are some ideas to inspire:
    1. Add diced tomatoes and thinly sliced zucchini to chicken noodle or chicken barley soup
    2. Drop a handful of frozen spinach in beef barley soup
    3. Add chopped frozen shrimp to butternut squash soup
    4. Throw leftover brown rice or quinoa in lentil soup.  Then top with finely grated pecorino romano
    5. Chop broccoli and asparagus and fold into vegetable soup
    6. Slice kale or swiss chard into ribbons and add to minestrone
    7. Sprinkle your favorite soup with ground flaxseed
    8. Add cannellini beans to kale soup 
  3. Toast some whole wheat crusty bread and drizzle with olive oil.  Serve with your soup.
Sounds delicious, doesn't it?  Start creating, and your sure to tickle your taste buds and satisfy your nutrient cravings.  

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