Winter is well and truly upon us and for many of us, there is nothing better than a warm, homemade soup on a cold winter’s day. Soup is the perfect option as it can be cheap, quick and easy to prepare, and if done right, can be nutritious and delicious too.
Here are a few of our top tips for making a nutritionally balanced soup that is nourishing and helps keep you happy and full!
1. Include a variety of vegetables
Everyday, we should aim to include at least 5 serves of vegetables in our diet. Not only is this important to provide fibre and a range of vitamins and minerals for optimal health, but the antioxidants in vegetables can help boost our immune system too.
Increase the taste, flavour and nutritional quality of your soup by adding vegetables that vary in type and colour. Try pumpkin, cauliflower, broccoli, carrot, potato, leek, tomato, onion and mushroom as some simple ones to start with.
2. Add lean, mean protein
In a balanced meal, the protein found in fish, poultry, red meat, legumes, tofu, eggs or nuts helps form the building blocks of our bodies and promotes satiety. If soup is forming the bulk of your meal, try adding a hearty source of protein such as creamy lentils, steamed chicken pieces or slow-roasted lamb. Just 100g of fish or meat or 1 cup of cooked legumes per bowl is a perfect serving size.
This means vegetarians also have plenty of options, as legumes such as lentils, kidney beans and chickpeas all contain sufficient protein to do the trick too.
3. Cook up some carbohydrates
Pasta, soba noodles, basmati rice, sweet potato, pumpkin and multigrain bread are all great accompaniments to the perfect winter soup. These carbohydrate-rich foods have a low Glycaemic Index (GI) so they are digested over a longer time, helping to keep our blood sugars stable and ensure we are fuller for longer.
Try adding half a cup per serving of soup, or serve alongside a piece of toasty bread for dipping!
An Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) can help you modify your favourite recipes to get the most nutritional benefit.
Book in with our dietitian today to learn more about individualised recipe modification and how you can make the best diet and lifestyle choices to achieve your wellness goals.