Think of a bowl of soup before a meal. Lots of water in the broth, vegetables (which are nutrient-dense, not energy-dense) and maybe some meat or chicken. The soup will take up a lot of space in your stomach, which means you won't need to eat much of the rest of your meal. In fact, Rolls' research at Penn State reveals that soup-eaters eat about one-quarter less food during the remainder of the meal than people who don't eat the soup.
I like to order soup when I go out to eat in restaurants. A delicious soup with a salad or some whole grain bread is almost always enough food so I don't even need to order a high-calorie entree. Soup makes a great meal at home, and so easy to cook too. Especially if you use a slow-cooker. Add all of the ingredients in the morning and by late afternoon your home will be filled with a delicious aroma and your healthy dinner will be ready.
Here are a few tips for keeping soups and stews easy to prepare and healthy:
- Buy soup stock that is low in sodium, or make your own broth.
- Clear soups have fewer calories than creamed soups.
- Add lots of vegetables. Potatoes, carrots, celery, peas and onions add flavor and healthy nutrition. Tomatoes and mushrooms are good too.
- If you make a noodle soup, use whole grain noodles. Because consumers are becoming aware of the importance of whole grains, it is getting easier to find whole grain pasta with better taste and texture.
- Serve your soup with a salad or some warm whole grain bread. A bread-maker comes in just as handy as a crock pot.
- You can make a large batch of soup and freeze some for later. Keep in mind that cream soups and noodles don't freeze as well as soup with clear broth, meat, vegetables and beans. Of course, you can make the soup without the noodles and prepare a few each time you warm up your frozen soup.