We tend to think of soup as a good meal to have when we are on a diet; it gives us a hot meal to enjoy that is low in calories. While it is true that soups can be low in calories, then a lot of the ones on the market today pack a hefty dose of calories and can have high levels of salt in them as well. If you look at the labels for soup in the store then watch out because they will often list the values per 100g, and unless you are a mouse then you probably won’t just eat 100g, you’ll have the whole tin which is usually 400g or more.
The creamy soups are the worst for calories, for instance the amount of calories in a chicken noodle soup from one of the top brands is just under 200, yet a tin of the cream of chicken soup has nearly double that at 388 per 400g, with 2,808mg of salt and 8g of saturated fat (source: USDA National Nutrient Database). Yet if you don’t add in any extra things like croutons, then eating less than 400 calories for a main meal is actually quite low, which is great for your diet (and 200 calories for the chicken noodle soup is very low!).
If you want to have a soup which is even healthier (and preferably contains a lot less salt) then the best way is to make it yourself. Making your own soup is not hard at all, for instance to make a tasty carrot and coriander soup then all you need is:
– 1lb of sliced carrots
– 1 tbsp of olive oil
– 1 sliced onion
– 1 chopped bunch of fresh coriander
– 1 sliced onion (red or white)
– 2 pints of vegetable stock
– Anything else you want to add for taste like pepper etc
Then you just put the oil in a saucepan and heat that up, add in the sliced onions and carrots and cook them until you can see them start to soften. Then you add in the chopped coriander and any spices you want to add (just make it without any spices the first time, you can experiment on later batches once you know how it tastes) and continue to cook that for about 60 seconds just to release the flavors from the coriander into the mixture. Then pour in the vegetable stock and simmer that until the vegetables are starting to look really soft and mushy. Take it off the heat and leave it to cool before you use a hand blender to turn it into a smooth paste, then you can reheat it and serve when you want it!
It really is a quick meal to make and tastes delicious, plus if you make a batch of it at the start of the week then you can enjoy it as your lunch on multiple days.