Soup and salad seem to be those side foods, don’t they? We don’t take them seriously. They aren’t mains. They’re a ‘by-the-way’ kind of afterthought like that hard roll we may or may not eat. Kind of like previews to the movie. Not totally satiating but more mildly interesting – sometimes good but mostly just watery stuff that needs more salt or pepper.
I’ve been drinking various soups all week and I’m surprised how much I’m enjoying it.
Recent research shows that eating soup can curb appetite, making you feel full faster. It’s also a good way to get in nutrient dense foods, those foods that are high in nutrients per calorie. Much different from simple foods that may be high in sugar, simple carbs like white flour, oil or salt. Those foods are high on immediate flavor but once they satisfy your tongue aren’t doing much for all the complex processes your body needs nutrients to perform.
How can you make a basic delicious vegetable soup?
Start with a base of spices and veggies to set the flavor foundation. So in a large pot cook dry spices or herbs of your choice with diced onion, carrot and celery. The spices I like are dry crushed thyme, black peppercorns, a bay leaf, a small stick of cinnamon, a couple of cloves, a couple of cardamom pods, salt, pepper, celery salt, garlic pepper or herbs de Provence. Then add about two liters of cold filtered water and a vegetable or chicken bullion (stock or flavor) cube.
Then add what veggies you like such as chopped broccoli, diced squash, cauliflower, spinach, etc. Here are some more ideas of what you can add to your nutrient dense healthy vegetable soup:
The higher the nutrient density score on that list, the higher the nutrients per calorie of food. But everything on that list is super nutrient dense and if you’re eating a grapefruit a day then you’re on your way to increasing nutrient dense healthy foods into your diet! I always remember a conversation I overheard I heard once in a busy ferry station on the way to Staten Island. A very lean and muscular fitness trainer was telling the guys who worked at the snack store about healthy eating habits. I always remember he said “Oh and I do this – Eat a grapefruit every day!” A citrus fruit high in antioxidants and vitamin C, in my opinion, is a great addition to any diet.
I’ve been choosing to add more soup and salad to my diet this week and I notice how much better it makes me feel. It’s less heavy than many of the “main” options, easy to make and I notice how full I get as opposed to when I eat more sugary/doughy foods, which after eating, I feel like still eating!
Do you like soup and salad? What kinds? Would you consider having a soup or salad as a main course at least once a week or do you already eat that way?