The Secret to Surviving the Winter: Healthy and Filling Soups
It’s winter time. It’s either cold or snowing or raining or all of the above!! We asked our healthy and nutrition writer , Simone Stromer, MD, CHC [AADP]
www.nutritionthroughlife.com  to give us some tips for healthy winter eating. Read on.
During winter, chances are that you are craving more comfort foods, generally those packed with excess fat and calories. Soups are now the most important meal to add to your diet because they are the ultimate food to warm your body and fill you up with all the nutrients that you need while being relatively low in calories and processed ingredients. In Japan, where there are low rates of obesity, miso soup with nutritious seaweed and soy beans is commonly a daily part of the diet, and is even prepared for breakfast. Soups are also the ultimate meal-in-a-bowl; a large bowl paired with a piece of crusty whole grain or sour dough bread can keep you going for hours.
Here are some tips for getting the most out of your winter soups:
Soup is an excellent way to pack in a few of those high-nutrient/high-fiber food groups-- whole grains (like rice  and barley ), vegetables  (any kind), and beans (like chickpeas , red kidney beans  and lentils ). Adding these to your soups will turn a simple vegetable soup into a balanced meal.
Ultra-low calorie soups (like plain tomato soup , low-fat minestrone soup without pasta , or non-dairy carrot-ginger soup ) can be used as snack foods—you can eat the soup slowly and the large amount of liquid will fill you up, preventing you from reaching for the piece of bread, bag of nuts, or potato chips that you may have wanted.
It is preferable that soups are made from vegetable, chicken, or beef broths and kept clear, with the exception of adding tomato paste or stewed tomatoes for extra flavor. If you buy store-bought soup stock or broth, try to avoid those with MSG and more than 100 mg of sodium per serving.
If you want to add a touch of creaminess to your soup, avoid high-fat creamers like heavy cream or half and half and artificial creamers and instead try low-fat sour cream, low-fat milk or soy milk in small quantities. Add the low-fat options to your soup at the end of cooking to avoid boiling them.
For a dairy meal, try adding a sprinkle of shredded low-fat cheese or parmesan to the top of your vegetable soup.
Soup is not only healthy, but it is delicious as well. My family loves the minestrone with homemade white bread  or with pasta and some grated mozzarella. Try a bunch and let your family discover their favorite.
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