Soup can be a healthy, nutritious food to include in a weight-loss plan, depending on the ingredients you use. Pennsylvania State University researchers found that study participants who ate a bowl of soup as the first course of a meal ate 20 percent fewer calories that meal, soup included. To decrease calories and fat, use fewer animal products. To increase nutrition, add beans and whole-grain noodles. Whether you make your own soups or buy them canned or packaged in the grocery store, eat soups that provide low-fat, low-calorie nutrition.
Decrease animal fat and increase vegetable content for healthy diet soups.
Tomato and Black Bean Soup
Tomatoes are a good source of lycopene, vitamin C, potassium and folates that may have cancer and heart disease-fighting benefits, according to the MayoClinic.com. Skip the heavy cream and butter that makes so many tomato soup recipes smooth and silky–and fattening. Use fresh or canned tomatoes, reading the ingredients on canned tomatoes to help you avoid additives and preservatives. To cut the acidity and make it smoother, add olive oil, a healthy monounsaturated fat. To cut the bitterness of the tomatoes, add a bit of sugar. Create your own recipes as you experiment with the amount of salt, pepper and other seasonings. Add drained, rinsed black beans for extra protein and iron. Use only enough beans to add flavor if you want to decrease the calories in your soup.
This rich variation of onion soup gets much of its flavor–and fat and calories–from the cheese and crouton baked over the top of the soup to finish it. For a lighter version, start with a store-bought, low-fat, low-calorie onion soup–some have as few as 50 calories per cup. “Frenchify” your light onion soup by adding several whole-grain croutons and a sprinkle of low-fat cheese before serving. To cut calories, skip the croutons and cheese and add a savory flavor with a dash of red wine or red wine balsamic vinegar. A can of Progresso onion soup has only 100 calories – that’s 50 calories if you have half a one-cup serving!
Roasted Butternut Squash
Butternut squash is fat-free and a rich source of vitamins A and C. Pumpkins seeds on top of roasted squash combine to create a healthy vegetable soup that’s a change of pace from your average bowl of chicken noodle. Start with roasted butternut or summer squash and add celery, carrots and onions for more flavor and nutrition. Use a vegetable stock or low-fat, low-sodium chicken stock to help process the vegetables into a soup. Add cinnamon for sweetness and salt and pepper to taste. Use less stock and server a thicker soup as an entree, along with a healthy salad and whole-grain bread.