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Top Soup Secrets: 5 Reasons To Pick Up a Spoon & Start Slurping

If you aren’t including soup in your meal planning, you could be missing out on one of the most comforting, healthy, versatile foods to ever grace your placemat. Soup will have your heart:  its hidden gastronomic advantages can warm your insides and pique your taste buds like no other dish can.

To help you see the upside of udon and the benefit of bouillon, we’ve got the top five soup secrets that will have you yearning for whatever’s du jour – as well as a few hazards it will behoove you to dodge in your quest for the podge. 

1. Stone Soup Works

The stone soup fable tells the tale of the glorious soup created seemingly by magic from just water and a stone. While hungry villagers willingly contributed carrots, potatoes, and herbs to help make the soup even better, before they knew it, a lovely meal had been created.

Feeling like all you have is a stone when it comes to mealtime? Soup is the answer. Soup is budget friendly, and its scalability can almost seem like magic. And, now that you know how to cook, you’ve done the job of stocking the basics. Use chicken, beef, or vegetable stock as your stone. Then, make like a hungry village and see what transpires. 

2. Soup is Truly the Best of Both Worlds

Soup is the perfect culinary conundrum. It can be thrifty and decadent, healthy and indulgent. It loves a quick serve and a slow simmer. It’s sweet and it’s sour; it can be sipped from a cup or eaten with a fork. It’s light, but because it’s mostly liquid, it’s also filling, making it a hearty meal for even the hungriest person. It also fulfills the requirements for comfort food, especially when it’s piping hot and the air is cold.

Plus, soup is perfect for gatherings. It caters easily to vegetarians, it’s easy to make beforehand, and it serves endless amounts. Did we mention it’s a single pot meal? And it allows you to focus on some fun sides that can sometimes get short shrift. 

3. Soup Packs a Serious Nutritional Punch

Soup is a perfect way to get intense nutrition into your diet. Full servings of vegetables are perfect for soup – try tubers, greens, or popular winter vegetables such as parsnips, carrots, rutabagas and cabbage, which are all full of vitamins and minerals. You can easily get your fiber from beans or brown rice, and because it’s rich in beneficial lycopene, Classic Tomato Soup is doubly satisfying. Also, proteins go further in soups—use less to cut down on your meat intake, or try leaner cuts. 

4. It Features Veggies AND Fruits

Veggies are a natural for soups, of course, but soup can showcase fruit with equal aplomb. It offers some wonderfully appealing ways to get your fruit servings. Chilled Melon Champagne Soup sound appetizing? Perhaps a Maine Wild Blueberry Soup, with its simple blend of blueberries, Pinot Noir, and honey will satisfy your desire for the soup-perb. 

5. It’s a Creative’s Dream

If you are making soup, it’s time for your inner Jackson Pollock to shine. Whether your preference is for yin or for yang, you can’t go wrong—soup allows for mid-course taste corrections and is a virtual canvas of favorite herbs and spices. A sprinkle of cilantro? A dust of Parmesan? A plop of cream fraîche? Soup is a garnisher’s delight. Soup welcomes a myriad of protein substitutions, a multitude of herbs, veggies and food combinations such as roasted butternut squash with sage, broccolini and spinach, crab and mushroom and garbanzos and low-fat sour cream.

And of course, there’s always chicken and noodle, the most reliable soup combination of all. It’s healing, delicious, and never outshined.

…Caveat Souptor (Slurper Beware)

Soup, as satisfying as it is, can hide some shadowy secrets within its broth if you aren’t paying attention. Here’s how not to let your luscious liquid leak into health’s danger zone:

Beware of dairy.
When you move into bisque, chowder and other creamy soup territory, cream can kill your calorie count. Consider the benefits of choosing milk over cream and lower fat dairies over whole milk. WebMD breaks it down here.

Rein in the carbs.
Who can resist a Crown Pilot cracker with their chowder or a few Saltines with their tomato soup? Make sure your crunching is done in moderation. Carbs help make soup more satisfying and that’s fine—but don’t get up from the table and realize you just had bread and butter for dinner, washed down with a dribble of consommé.

Ease up on salt & butter.
High sodium soups can sabotage your health. Making soup yourself is the best way to avoid the high sodium in packaged and canned soups. Look for low sodium stocks – salt to taste on the table and let those veggies, herbs and spices shine through instead. Also, be careful not to overindulge in butter. Sauté veggies in olive oil if sautéing is required, and remember that butter additions requested by recipes can usually be eliminated.

With just a soupçon of imagination you’ll be getting more mileage out of your healthy foods and filling your tank with nature’s least chewable delights. Ladle on!

These sites will help you get your soup on:

The Organic Authority has Unique Soup Ideas.

Get Low Fat Soup Recipes and tips from WebMD.

Martha comes through with Winter Soups.

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