Soup is one meal that is enjoyed around the world and can incorporate a variety of different ingredients to offer a well-balanced nutritious meal for you and your family. Nowadays, it is easy to pick up a can of premade soup for a quick easy meal, but it is no doubt that soup is healthier and more delicious when made from home.
February 4th is National Homemade Soup Day, which is why there is no better time than now to take a trip to the supermarket and cozy up to a warm pot of homemade soup!
The origin of soup likely dates back to the invention of the cooking pot. Soup is a
traditional meal enjoyed worldwide and popular favorites include Italian Minestrone, Eastern European Borsht and Gazpacho, a cold soup popular in Spanish culture. Most canned soups you can purchase at the supermarket are loaded with sodium and lack nutrition, but soup can still be a go-to meal in your household if it is made fresh. Homemade soup is just as easy and inexpensive to make as canned soup, but it is important to utilize ingredients that provide a balance of nutrients and food groups.
Here is an outline of ingredients that can be combined to cook up an infinite number of hearty, nourishing soup creations:
1. Choose your base: Always utilize a low sodium chicken or vegetable broth. A lot of people tend to use canned products or bouillon cubes which are exceptionally high in sodium, so try and stay away from those options and even consider making your own homemade stock.
2. Incorporate a variety of vegetables: This is where soup gets exciting, because you can include any vegetable or combination of vegetables you want. Root vegetables, onions, garlic, celery, carrots and leeks often need to be sautéed in olive oil for a few minutes prior to adding the stock so that they soften. Softer vegetables, like leafy greens require little heat to soften, so it’s best to add them to the stock towards the end of cooking, but this also depends on whether you prefer your vegetables crisp or soft.
3. Include Lean meats: Chicken, fish and shellfish are considered to be leaner than red meats and will help keep your soup lower in fat. Lean meats often cook fairly quickly. After the stock has come to a boil, you can add your lean meats and soft veggies.
4. Make your soup hearty by adding grains and/or legumes: To make for a more filling, balanced meal, consider adding grains or legumes to your soup. Choose from a whole grain pasta, rice, quinoa or barley. Beans and lentils are also healthy additions to homemade soup in that they are fibrous and high in protein. Incorporate beans and lentils especially if you are making a vegetarian pot of soup.
Use these tips to get creative! You will realize that soup is a healthy meal option, especially if you have little time for meal preparation. Happy National Homemade Soup Day!
Your turn to take action: What is your favorite homemade soup recipe?