Soup for Summer!

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gazpachoOften during the hot and sticky summer months we probably don’t think about making soup for our meals. It’s August and the weather continues to be hot, hot, hot!! The great thing about soup is that it doesn’t have to be served hot and the possibilities are endless! So, why not try COLD soup?

Here are 3 good reasons why cold soup can be a very healthy option for a quick, easy, and nutritious summer meal.

1. Soup can be Hydrating!
During the summer heat it is always a good idea to stay on top of fluid intake since it is very easy to become dehydrated especially when playing or working outside in the direct heat. If you are thirsty that is your first signal that your body is already slightly dehydrated. Another indicator is if urine color is very yellow. If you are hydrated then urine will be very pale or almost clear. The liquid base of a cold soup provides extra hydration on top of your daily beverages plus it can add sodium and potassium to the diet depending on the soup which are important electrolytes lost through sweat. Sodium actually helps the body hold fluid as well. The new recommendations for sodium intake are 2300mg/day and 1500mg/day if 50 years or older.

2. Soup can be Satisfying and Slimming!
A healthy chilled soup can be oh so refreshing and satisfing on a hot summer day! Since Soup is a liquid base it has the quick ability to fill a hungry stomach without usually adding a lot of extra calories. In fact in 2007 a NIH (National Institute of Health) supported study found that when people ate soup as an appetizer they were able to cut total meal caloric intake by 20%, it also showed that pairing a meal with soup did not cause individuals to compensate for lost calories and stayed satisfied until the next meal. The strongest finding in the study showed a direct relationship with foods that have high water content and satiety which can be a very good tool to use in weight loss or weight management. When it comes to eating healthy cold soups or soups in general I always recommend to stick with the following:

  • Make it yourself- when we make our own food we have direct control over the content so we can make our meals healthy plus it saves money!
  • Stick to broth base – Broth base (chicken, vegetable, beef, or fruit broth is typically going to have a lower caloric content) versus a cream base, cream bases are usually going to have very high calorie and fat contents. If the recipe does call for cream, I recommend using low-fat or fat-free milks, sour creams, fat free half and half or using half the amount of cream the recipe calls for. I also caution against soups with heavy oil content that can pack in whopping amounts of calories.
  • Load the soup with veggies or fruits depending on the soup. This is such a great way to pack in loads of nutrients in a meal.
  • Keep it Low-Sodium – even though sodium has it’s place in our diet it can be very easy to over do it in soup, so I always recommend using the salt shaker sparingly and look for low-sodium broth base. Utilizing herbs in place of salt in soups is also a great way to up the taste factor.

Healthy summer soups are a great way to incorporate all the fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs that are in season. Dicing up your favorite veggies and tossing them in a soup, pulverizing vegetables or fruits to make a yummy chilled soup, or even mixing some fruits and vegetables in a soup can add loads of diverse vitamins, fiber, and nutrients to the diet. The really fun part about summer chilled soups is that it is easy to add creativity to your meals which can be enjoyable for the whole family. It is also an easy meal to make ahead of time, and pull out of the refrigerator, add a side salad and voila you have a quick, cool, summer meal that will not break the calorie bank. I am going to leave you with one of my favorite summer soups that is full of nutrition and so tasty. Growing up this soup was a summer staple for our family, and I cannot claim the recipe since my dear Mama is the queen bee of this Gazpacho recipe. Here it is, hope you enjoy!

Mama’s Healthy Gazpacho Recipe:
8 cups Tomato Juice low Sodium
(you can make can also make your own tomato juice)
1 tbsp natural bouillon
5 chopped tomatoes
1 1/4 cup cucumber chopped fine
1 green pepper chopped fine
1 medium onion chopped fine
1 1/2 cup wine vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil or olive oil
2 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Dash of pepper

Heat tomato juice to boiling, add bouillon cubes, stir until dissolved.
Stir in remaining ingredients. Refrigerate several hours or overnight.

A few more cold soup ideas:
Watermelon Gazpacho
Blueberry Soup
Herbed Zucchini Soup
Possibilities are Endless!!!

Happy and Healthy Eating!