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Soups are highly misinterpreted as automatically healthy just due to their form. Even soups full of vegetables can seem healthy until you realize they are in a full-fat, highly salted, or creamy base. While these soups are delicious, they should be kept to a minimum to control your weight and heart health. It only takes a few simple ingredient swaps to keep them a healthy part of your daily diet.
Here are five-ingredient swaps to make soups healthier but are still tasty and fulfilling:
Milk or Cream
Starting with a broth-based will generally reduce the calories, but you can even change your milk or cream-based recipes by using broth instead of milk or cream. The flavor will be different, but it will still be delicious. You can also experiment with using lower fat nut-based options such as cashew milk in some of your recipes.
Butter or Fat
Depending on why the fat is in the recipe will inform how much you can switch out. For example, in a soup, you can get away with eliminating almost all of the added fat. Instead of sauteing the onions in oil, just skip that step. Instead of finishing your broth with cream or coconut milk, just use broth or a lower fat option like homemade cashew milk or coconut milk.
Top with a dollop of unsweetened nonfat Greek yogurt or homemade soy sour cream instead of dairy-based sour cream. Also, consider using fermented toppings like fermented radishes or kimchee as a garnish for a flavor boost without fat.
Any time a meal has refined carbs like white potatoes, rice, and flour, it’s a chance to make the meal healthy by adding nutrition by swapping the refined carbs for whole grains. For example, making your own rye bread croutons may take a little work, but the results are worth it in terms of flavor and added nutrition.
When it comes to adding protein to a soup, you can add anything from beans to meat products. What are your goals? For some, a high-protein soup will fill them up and keep the hunger away. For the next person, they prefer a high veg soup for energy instead. Just remember that you need a lot less protein per serving than you may think to flavor the soup and make it nutritious.
In the end, soups are only healthy if they are prepared with the right ingredients. Start with a vegetable broth, measure your fats and keep your garnishes to a minimum. Add more protein and swap refined carbohydrates for whole grains or vegetables in order to make the soup a healthy part of your daily diet.
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