Soups are the ultimate comfort food for a cold night and keep you on track with clean eating. When the thought of a crispy, chilled salad makes you shiver, reach for a healthy soup instead.
My Easy Stock
The best soups start with homemade stock and it’s surprisingly easy if you keep “soup greens” in the freezer. Whenever I have excess or discarded veggies/herbs like celery leaves, parsley stems or the end of an onion or carrot I add them to a big freezer bag. When the bag is full just throw the contents in a pot of water with salt, peppercorns and a bay leaf for veggie stock. Add bones from a rotisserie chicken to make chicken stock.
Bring to a simmer. After an hour or so discard the veggies/bones and strain. Return to pot and simmer until it reduces and the flavor is to your taste. If you’re using bones skim the fat that rises to the surface. You can use your stock right away or freeze it.
1. Chicken Noodle
You can’t deny the healing powers of a classic chicken noodle soup. It has brought many a cold and flu victim back from the edge of despair. The chicken noodle soup from Fitness Magazine is about as easy as it gets. It combines a mirepoix (French cooking term for the “holy trinity” of carrots, celery and onion), low-sodium chicken broth, some dried herbs with egg noodles and pre-cooked chicken. You’ll be tucking into the magic of chicken noodle soup in less than 30 minutes. Full Recipe
Per Serving: 222 Calories, 4 g Total Fat (1 g Saturated Fat), 19 g Carbohydrates (3 g Fiber), 26 g Protein.
2. Beef Barley
On those bitter cold nights you might need something hearty and this one is like a meal. Browning steak in the bottom of a Dutch oven will impart a good depth of flavor in the finished soup. As well, quick cooking barley means you won’t be standing at the stove forever, and barley is a great source of fiber and chock full of vitamins and minerals. Tomato paste and a touch of vinegar gives this beef barley soup a little something extra. Full Recipe
Per Serving: 250 calories; 8 g Fat (2 g sat, 5 g mono); 26 mg Cholesterol; 29 g Carbohydrates; 0 g Added Sugars; 17 g Protein; 5 g Fiber; 701 mg Sodium; 573 mg Potassium.
3. Creamy Potato
Creamy potato? How can that be healthy? Using potato and cauliflower and, getting the creamy factor by pureeing the ingredients you can achieve the same decadent texture that you get with butter and cream. The recipe from cooking light still uses cheese but swaps full fat products for 2% milk and some fat-free sour cream. You won’t be losing out on the classic flavor of the belly-busting version but you’ll save yourself from unwanted empty calories. Full Recipe
Per Serving: 223 Calories, 2.7g Saturated Fat, 478mg Sodim
4. Broccoli Cheese
When the weather gets cool we want the kind of gooey, cheesey hug you can only get from a bowl of broccoli cheddar soup. Alas, cheesey hugs should be had only in moderation. For a lighter version, the Picky Eater Blog offers up a recipe adapted from Cooking Light. Low fat cheese and a judicious amount of half and half (remember some fat in your diet is a good thing) pairs perfectly with broccoli florets. Full Recipe
Per Serving: 110 Calories, 6g Fat, 458mg Sodium, 8.6g Carbs, 3.9g Fiber, 0.9g Sugar, 7.7g Protein
5. Amy’s Lentil
Even though the best food is made from scratch it’s just not always feasible. If you need a quick meal or something to throw in your bag for lunch then a can of soup is a good option. The problem is, most canned soups, even those deemed “healthy” or “light” are laden with sodium. Amy’s Lentil has a lower sodium content but is full of spices so it doesn’t lose flavor. “It was so well-seasoned I didn’t miss the salt,” said a research editor at Family Circle.
Serving: 1 Cup
Per Serving: 160 Calories, 4g Fat, 340mg Sodium in 1 cup
6. Wonton Soup
Just like grabbing a can of soup it’s likely some nights will leave you calling for takeout rather than cooking. Restaurant soups have unknown calories, fat and sodium so sticking with one that you know will be on the lighter side is smart. Shape.com recommends wonton soup as your go-to. Most will clock in at around 100 calories and you get the satisfaction of a dumpling with some protein and tons of flavor. These can pack a wallop of sodium so enjoy in moderation.
Nutritional Information *varies but in general*
Per Serving: 181 Calories, 7g Fat, 12.24 Carbs, 14.17 Protein, 769mg Sodium