GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — As the weather gets cold, soups can be the perfect way to warm up. Soups are also a great way to incorporate healthy, nutritious ingredients.
Sarah VanEearden, RDN from the McCahill group, showed us some delicious and nutritious preparation tips for your next bowl of soup.
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- Max out the vegetables! Start with the traditional Mirepoix, a blend of chopped onion, carrot and celery. Or, take it further with high-fiber items like leeks, rutabaga or mushrooms. Soups are a great vessel for leafy greens as well. Wilt kale, spinach or collard greens in during the last 5 minutes of cooking to add calcium, vitamins and minerals.
- Choose high quality proteins. While many soups rely on bacon, sausage or ham as a protein source, these processed meats are the least desirable for health. Aim to use fresh or leftover chicken or turkey, or rely on plant-based protein like beans, legumes, and higher protein whole grains like quinoa. Topping your soups with plain greek yogurt can also add a dose of protein.
- Explore healthy carb options. Soups can be quite interesting, especially if you look beyond white rice and potatoes. Try various whole grains like farro, barley, wild rice or wheatberries. Explore different beans and legumes like red lentils, cannellini beans or black-eyed peas. These items bring high-quality energy to the soups, as well as protein and iron.
- Find flavor without adding salt. Get to know aromatics like garlic, shallots, onion and celery that can give the soup great flavor from the start. Use spices and herbs, both fresh and dried, to bring even more interest. If your soup is still missing a little something at the end, try a bit of tomato paste or a shot of vinegar for vegetable and broth-based soups. For creamy soups, consider a hint of nutmeg and/or cayenne pepper. You can also experiment with a squeeze of lemon, or a spoonful of pesto, harissa, or even hummus to brighten the dish.
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