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Warming Winter Soups
Warm up this winter with a hearty soup and prevent stacking on the pounds!

Three ways soups can help

1. Save Time. Soups are meals in a pot, and there are less dishes to wash afterward. Make them in bulk and serve leftovers the next day (the flavor only gets better), or freeze them for later use. A pressure cooker significantly cuts time when cooking beans and whole grains.

2. Save calories. Soups are lower in calories than many other foods, especially if they consist largely of vegetables. In their natural state, vegetables are high in water and fiber content and low in fat and energy density (a measure of calories per weight unit of food). Vegetable-based soups can make you feel fuller, reduce your hunger, and help you eat fewer calories throughout winter. Allow approximately two cups per serving.

3. Pack in the nutrients. Soups can be nutrient dense (unless you serve a clear broth). They allow you to pack a punch with protein, healthy carbs, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Soups are better than taking a vitamin pill!

How should I make soup?

1. Start with a good base—sauté onions and garlic in olive oil, vegetables-based stock, or water to develop a robust flavor. Team with spices and/ or dried herbs. For example, ginger will go well with carrot, turmeric and cumin with brown lentils, and sweet paprika with cannellini beans.

2. Pick legumes such as black beans, chickpeas, or split peas. These are healthier proteins than meat.

3. Pile on the vegetables. Try cabbage, sweet potato, leeks, cauliflower, beets, and spinach. Use simple combinations or multiple types.

4. Add a handful of whole grains such as barely, brown rice, or bulgur wheat to thicken, or serve the soup with grainy bread.

5. Finish with fresh herbs such as parsley, coriander, dill, or chives. Drizzle with lemon or orange juice for a fresh taste! (For example, try lemon in red lentil soup.)

Go easy on the cream, sour cream, and coconut cream! Use skim milk, soy milk, or light evaporated milk (including coconut flavored) or a dollop of low-fat yogurt.

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By Sue Radd. Reprinted with persmission from Signs of the Times, March 2008. Copyright © 2008 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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