By your Member Service and Fitness Staff at Century Fitness

Are your favorite soups “fit” to be tried? If you are making them yourself, they are likely much healthier than canned, packaged or restaurant choices. Soups particularly have a propensity to be very high in sodium, unneeded extra fat, and other non-nutritious additives.

First let’s consider soups for their worthiness. Soups are very adaptable to different styles of eating. They are often quicker to make than other forms of cooking. Soup provides additional hydration that you might not get otherwise. Some cultures serve soup prior to the main meal to help those dining begin to feel full, which in turn saves on the portion size of the next course. Soups are ideal for rejuvenating leftovers.

According to Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, a registered dietitian and consultant for Food Network there are ways to make a soup healthier. “The Base- As a general rule, broth-based soups tend to run lower in calories than those made with cream. But there are tricks you can use to scale back on cream, or skip it altogether! To start, decide if you’d like a broth-based or creamy soup. Choose a low-sodium broth (vegetable, chicken and beef are easily found at the market). You can also make your own stock; as a time-saver, make a double batch and freeze half for later.

For a creamier soup, use starchy veggies to get the consistency you love. Butternut squash and potatoes make great thickeners. You can also combine flour or cornstarch with stock or a touch of butter to thicken things up (aka slurry or roux). If you’re stuck on heavy cream, first note that it contains 414 calories and 44 grams of fat per cup. Whole or reduced-fat (2%) milk or half-and-half can help lighten things up while still maintaining a nice, creamy texture.

Healthy Add-Ins- Some soups, like butternut squash, are great without chunky add-ins. But adding the right combo of spices helps bring out flavor. Other soups, like chicken or tomato, taste great with ingredients like rice, pasta or vegetables. Add as many herbs and vegetables as you please—it will add color and flavor for fewer calories. … Other hearty ingredients such as beans and whole grains can also boost the good-for-you nutrients, but again, use them in moderate amounts.”

These articles are intended to be provide knowledge of general health and fitness principles and is not medical advice.  Please consult with a physician if you have questions.