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The basics of hearty soup

The basics of hearty soup

The arrival of the cold season calls for the return of soup on the menu. Warming and comforting, soup can very well be a meal on its own. In order to do so, you only need to know a few tips that will allow you to cook complete and balanced soups. Let's see together what three basic components are necessary to make a good hearty soup.

1.    Vegetables

Soup is a great recipe for consuming vegetables and also for using those that are starting to wilt in the refrigerator. Squash, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, mushrooms, the options are endless! Vegetables provide fiber and vitamins to your soups. Be sure to vary their colors to benefit from a diversity of vitamins. Ideally, favor local and seasonal vegetables for their freshness, but also to reduce your environmental footprint and to encourage the local economy. It is also possible to add vegetables as a side dish, such as a green salad or crudités, to complete a soup that would contain less.

2.    Starchy foods 

Starchy foods are a source of fiber and carbohydrates. Fiber has a satiating effect and carbohydrates are the fuel of choice for muscles and brain. Pasta, noodles, rice, barley, quinoa, and potatoes are examples of starches that you can easily use to cook a variety of soups. For more nutritious soups, choose whole grain foods that provide more fiber, vitamins and minerals than refined or fortified grains. If you want to make a soup without starchy foods, make sure to complete your meal by adding a source of carbohydrates, such as a slice of bread or some crackers.

3.    Protein foods

Protein foods, as their name suggests, are a source of protein. Protein makes a filling soup that will keep you going until your next meal. Protein foods include legumes (lentils, peas, and beans), tofu, tempeh, poultry, fish, seafood, meat, eggs, nuts, dairy, etc. These foods can be incorporated directly into the soup during cooking, added as a garnish (e.g. grated cheese, roasted seeds, etc.) or served as a side dish to complete the meal (e.g. hard-boiled eggs, Greek yogurt, etc.).

4.    Other considerations

It is important to remember that soups can be an important source of sodium in the diet. By cooking your own soups, you can limit the amount of sodium added. To achieve this, consider using fresh or dried herbs and spices to season your soups. This helps to limit the amount of salt added while providing flavor and taste. You can also use a low-sodium broth or make your own vegetable broth and add a reasonable amount of salt. It is recommended to aim for around 500 mg of sodium per meal. This is about 1 mL of salt, or just under 1/4 teaspoon. Now that you know the three essentials to making a complete and balanced soup, get your aprons on!



Marie-Noël Marsan, Nutritionist

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