The leaves are golden and fallen and there’s a morsel in the air that’s cool but also comforting to know. Gloves are making their way out of storage, holiday Starbucks cups have arrived, and more than anything, this is all a sure sign of one major arrival: soup season. It’s officially upon us.
We know and love soup season for all of the traditional fall pointers, but when you delve into the enjoyment of eating something hot on a cold day, there’s plenty of nutritional value to explore.
“I always include plant-based soup in my clients’ meal plans because they’re filling, low-calorie, and nutrient-dense,” says Lindsey DeSoto, RDN, LD, owner of The Dietitian Momma.
But, like the soup itself, the health factor of the dish can be variable. Before you scoop up scoops of your favorite fall food, check out DeSoto’s advice on how best to keep them nourished—and maybe even reap some weight-loss benefits. Then be sure to check out our list of 23 comforting soup recipes perfect for weight loss this fall.
Knowledge is power: An old adage applies to many things, including soup. The key here, DeSoto says, is being able to monitor exactly what’s going on in your broth.
“The first thing I always tell my clients is to watch the sodium content of prepared broth,” she says. “It’s always best to make your own broth or broth to control the amount of sodium that goes into it and focus on promoting natural flavors beyond the need for salt.”
If you can’t make homemade broth, she says, at least choose the sodium-free versions at the store.
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We’re talking veggies, beans, and lean protein. Not only is it fun to throw everything in the bowl, but having a more varied soup can also help boost satiety and keep you full for longer, according to DeSoto. Interestingly enough, this health hack is due in part to the act of chewing.
DeSoto explains that “a Purée-style soup that requires just a little bit of chewing, can leave you feeling unsatisfied and hungry.”
We know, we know. A dream about cream of broccoli and cheese like no other. But, as DeSoto explains, “A creamy soup is usually high in calories, saturated fat, and sodium. Choose clear, broth-based soups to stay on track with your weight loss goals and fuel your body.”
Unless, of course, it’s a healthier version of your favorite cream soup—like our best broccoli and cheddar soup recipe.
The great thing about this hack? Non-starchy veggies are usually really the ones we imagine when thinking of a hearty and healthy soup. Cabbage, broccoli, green beans, and celery, oh my!
“Non-starchy vegetables are not only low in calories, but also rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants,” says DeSoto.
All the more reason to load up this soup with a creative blend!
The good news for soup lovers is that the dish is generally associated with better health. We steered DeSoto in the direction of a study that found that people who consume soup often have “better overall diet quality and a lower risk of obesity.”
So yeah, start by spooning that bowl warm not only because it drops, but also in the name of good health!
For more tips on eating soup, read the following: