Soup is like a warm hug: it's good for you, it's comforting and it's the antidote to a cold winter's night.
And soup doesn't have to be boring! Here's how to make your soups even more nutritious and exciting.
How to make soup healthier
Give your broth a dietary boost using these tips.
- Only 1 in 20 Australian adults consumes the recommended 5 serves of vegetables every day. An easy way to get your fill is to keep a pack of frozen veggies in the freezer, or tinned veggies (with no added salt) in the pantry, to add to your soups at home.
- Increase your dairy intake and make soup creamy by adding yoghurt to homemade soups. Stir reduced-fat Greek yoghurt into soup after it’s been cooked and well-combined with a stick blender.
- Store-bought barbecue chicken is an easy way to incorporate lean protein into soup. Simply remove the skin, shred chicken into pieces and stir through your soup as it cooks.
- If you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, you can beef up the iron content of your soup by adding legumes (e.g. lentils, beans or chick peas), tofu, pumpkin seeds or kale.
- Opt for low-GI grains in soup, such as barley. The Glycemic Index (GI) is a ranking between 0 and 100 which describes how quickly the carbohydrate in a food is digested. Carbs with a GI of 55 or less are more slowly digested and are therefore better for you.
- For added vitamin E and protein, blend almond meal into your soups. Almonds are also a rich source of healthy, monounsaturated fats, which help decrease the 'bad' (LDL) cholesterol in your blood while increasing the 'good' (HDL) cholesterol.
- If your recipe calls for coconut milk, make it healthy by making your own. Mix together 1 cup of skim milk or evaporated skim milk with 2 teaspoons of corn starch, 1 teaspoon of coconut essence and a little sugar to taste.
Pass on the salt
Having too much salt in your diet can raise blood pressure, which puts you at increased risk of health conditions such as heart disease and stroke. It may also speed up the body's loss of calcium.
Canned and packaged soups can contain a lot of salt, as well as the ingredients soy sauce and stock. The recommended amount of salt for adults is 6g per day or less, equivalent to 1 teaspoon of salt.
Check labels on store-bought soup for sodium content and be careful not to add too much salt to your homemade soups.
Can chicken soup cure a cold?
There's no conclusive evidence that chicken soup can effectively treat the common cold.
Consuming broths, however, can help ensure you're getting enough fluids. Soup is also easier to eat than other foods if you have a sore throat.
There is some evidence that hot fluids and steam can aid in the movement of nasal mucus.
Ultimately, warming up with chicken soup might just make you feel better if you have a cold. And that's good medicine.
For more information
Visit these sites for more advice on healthy eating:
- Dietitians Australia
- Nutrition Australia
- Diabetes Australia
- Heart Foundation
- Glycemic Index Foundation
Want more like this?
For health and wellbeing news you can use, go to the healthdirect blog.