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Wednesday, January 20, 2010 • Posted January 20, 2010

Save Big with Soups

Nothing will satisfy like a big bowl of homemade soup during these cold winter days. Research has found that people who eat soup more often are healthier. Soup before a meal also fills you up and aids in weight management.

A cup of soup can be the beginning to a main meal or an accompaniment to a sandwich for lunch. Make it your main dish by serving larger portions, with sides of fruit, a salad and a slice of whole grain bread spread with a sweet spread. A real comfort meal!

Most soups can save money because they need only a small amount of meat group ingredients or use inexpensive meat substitutes like beans. You can make efficient use of leftovers like vegetables, rice, noodles or meat by adding them. Keep a container in the freezer and add small amounts of leftovers to it; they won’t spoil or be wasted until you make a pot of soup. Make a big pot of soup and freeze meal-size portions for quick meals in the future.

If you buy canned soups for convenience, be sure to check the labels. Many are very high in sodium. You can easily use up your recommended allotment of sodium (2300 mg) by consuming one can of soup. Most cans contain 2.5 servings, so if you eat the whole can, you must multiply the amount of sodium, fat, calories, by 2 1/2. Cream soups often contain a significant amount of fat - 10 or more grams in a cup or 25 g in a can. Reduced sodium and reduced fat broths and soups are available.

You can make a canned soup healthier by adding extra water and leftover rice, noodles or frozen vegetable, or using low fat milk instead of water.

Be creative in your choice of ingredients. Think out of the box (and can), and experiment with unusual combinations. You can make soup fancy enough for company by topping with a little grated cheese, croutons, a dollop of sour cream or some toasted nuts. Soup can be tasty, filling, easy, economical and healthy.

Cheesy Broccoli Soup - Serves 4

Nutrition Facts: 210 calories per 3/4 cup, 30% of your Daily Value of Vitamin A and 80% of your Daily Value of Vitamin C. Only 17% of your Daily Value of Sodium.

* 1/4 cup water

* 2 to 2 1/2 cups frozen chopped broccoli

* 3 tablespoons flour

* 1/4 teaspoon onion powder or garlic powder

* 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

* 3 tablespoons margarine

* 2 cups nonfat milk

* 4 slices (3 ounces) American cheese


1. Heat 1/4 cup water to boiling in 3 quart saucepan. Add broccoli. Cover and cook 1 to 2 minutes. Drain.

2. In small bowl, combine flour, onion or garlic powder and pepper.

3. Add margarine to saucepan and melt over medium heat. Add flour mixture and stir with whisk or fork until well mixed.

4. Gradually stir in milk, stirring constantly with whisk to keep sauce smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring or whisking a few times, until thick and bubbly about 4 to 5 minutes.

5. Add broccoli to sauce and turn heat to low. Add cheese slices. Cook and stir about 2 minutes or until cheese melts.

6. Serve immediately.

Source: Iowa State University Extension - Nutrition and Health Field Specialist

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