While we were talking about healthy stuff yesterday, my mind immediately went to soup. Is there anything more calming, warming, satisfying and healthy than a good bowl of soup?
And by good bowl of soup I don’t mean Campbell’s, or Knorr or Progresso or any of the brands that start with “Healthy” and or any other soup that come in cans or frozen bags or tetra-paks. Why? Because they have astronomical sodium contents – some over 1,000 mg of sodium per cup! And most restaurant soups are the same — heated up, ready-made packages. Blech.
So your best option, of course, is to make your own soup. Anybody can make soup. You can’t mess up soup. There are no soup rules. You can literally throw anything into a pot with some water and call it soup.
And you don’t have to watch and tend soup like you do with other meals. You chuck the stuff into a slow cooker or put it on the stove on simmer and go do whatever until you feel like eating it.
Soup is great because it’s got lots of water which will fills you up without having to consume a lot of calories and fat and starch. You have to eat soup slowly because it’s really hot and eating slowly is good. It helps you savour and enjoy the flavours.
If you like creamy soups but don’t want the richness of creamy soups, do this: roughly chop up some onion, potato and whatever vegetable you like – fresh or frozen, (some good options are broccoli or asparagus or carrots/parsnips) add a few herbs, a little salt & pepper and a couple of spoonfuls of canned and rinsed navy or butter beans, (maybe some ginger if you’re making carrot soup) and enough water to cover everything. Let it simmer just until the potato is done. Then get out the hand-blender and blend everything into a creamy consistency. If you like chunks of stuff in your creamy soup, take out a few of the vegetables and beans before blending. Voila – your protein, veg and carbs all in one rich, luscious bowl of deliciousness.
This soup doesn’t freeze well because of the potato, but with most other soups you should always make a huge batch and then freeze what you don’t eat in individual serving-sized containers. (those Ziplock containers are excellent and stack nicely).
You never know when you might want soup. Really, there is no excuse for not having a good variety of soups in your freezer at all times. Right now, in my freezer (and it’s pretty tiny) I have:
- Split pea soup with fresh peas;
- Red lentil, carrot ginger soup;
- Soup au Pistou;
- French onion soup;
- Chick pea curry; and,
Stock is also a good thing to have on hand and to make yourself because again, store bought stock is all salt. I don’t even put salt in my stock. Whenever I end up with a collection of bits and pieces of vegetables that are getting a tad old I boil them up with a lot of water for about 30 minutes. I almost always make sure I add some celery and parsley to the mix because they make tasty and attractive stock. Also, any water left over from boiling vegetables can be saved up and frozen and added to stock. There’s lots of good stuff in that vegetable water.
So, all of you who are looking to eat better, go make some soup.
And, if I may paraphrase Conor who commented on yesterday’s post: getting fit and healthy is always referred to as a “battle” or “fight” against your body, when really you should think of it as a way of supporting yourself and your quality of life in feeling good and fit and getting the most out of each day.