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January: National Soup Month

By Staff | Jan 10, 2014

What’s better on a cold winter day than a warm bowl of soup? Soup can be nutritious, easy to prepare, and inexpensive. It can be great hot or cold, prepared with minimal clean-up, only needs one pot, and the combination of ingredients is unlimited. Soup is a great dish for a variety of palettes and can be tailored to be spicy, savory or sweet. January is National Soup Month, a good time to think about how soup can fit into a healthy eating plan. Follow these helpful tips for making soup delicious and nutritious.

Tips for Delicious and Nutritious Soup:

Soup for every season. As appetizers, side dishes, or the main dishes, soups help celebrate the bounty of the four seasons. Soups can be thick and hearty, smooth and creamy, or a savory bean. They can be served hot, or cold.

Be sodium savvy. To keep soups tasty and healthy, use low-sodium broth, stock, or soup base for the foundation. Experiment with flavorful herbs and spices in place of salt. The most effective replacements are savory flavors, and flavors with “bite,” such as black pepper, garlic powder, curry powder, cumin, dill seeds, basil, ginger, coriander and onion. Use minced or powdered garlic and onion rather than their salt form. When substituting minced or powdered garlic and onion for the salt version, use about half as much.

Make healthier choices with Nutrition Facts labels. When buying canned soups, use the Nutrition Facts Label to help choose ones with a lower percent Daily Value (DV) for sodium. Foods with less than 140 milligrams (mg) sodium per serving can be labeled as low-sodium foods. Claims such as “low in sodium” or “very low in sodium” on the front of the food label can help identify foods that contain less salt.

Choose healthier substitutions. Soup can be a healthy, inexpensive meal. Keep soups lower in fat and calories by using ingredients like cheese, sour cream, or bacon sparingly as a topping or garnish. Or choose healthier substitutes like reduced-fat shredded cheese, low-fat sour cream, non-fat plain yogurt, or turkey bacon. Substitute a whole-grain product for a refined product such as using whole-wheat noodles, barley, or brown rice.

Cook once, eat twice. Homemade soups can be made ahead of time and in large quantities. Eat refrigerated soup within three to four days or freeze it. Don’t let soup sit at room temperature for more than two hours. To speed cooling, store soups in shallow containers. When serving a second time, bring to a boil.

Quick and easy vegetable soup

By: Lisa Franzen -Castle, RD, PhD, Nutrition Specialist, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension

1 (14 ounce) can chicken broth

1 (11.5 ounce) can tomato-vegetable juice cocktail

1 cup water

1 large potato, diced

2 carrots, sliced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 cup chopped fresh green beans

1 cup fresh corn kernels

Salt and pepper to taste

Creole seasoning to taste

In a large stock pot, combine broth, tomato juice, water, potatoes, carrots, celery, undrained chopped tomatoes, green beans, and corn. Season with salt, pepper and Creole seasoning. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes or until all vegetables are tender.

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