Saturday, November 27, 2010
For a quick healthy meal, Soup's On!!
It's been called "Grandma's penicillin," and for good reason: Studies confirm that a hot bowl of soup can reduce inflammation and clear away mucous to ease the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections. Don't have time for homemade? You don't have to settle for super-salty, preservative-packed canned soups anymore: The new breed of packaged soups stick to Grandma's all-natural recipes. Here's what to look for:
Read the ingredients. Don't buy a soup that lists any ingredient you wouldn't use at home. Organic tomatoes, carrots, green beans and corn? Great! Monopotassium phosphate, hydrolyzed wheat gluten, disodium guanylate and hydrogenated anything? No so much. And insist on whole grains - brown rice and whole wheat pasta - for a satisfying dose of fiber.
Hold the sodium. Even if you don't have high blood pressure or other risk factors for heart disease, it's a good idea to limit your daily sodium to 1,500mg. Frozen soups have the least sodium - often as little as 40mg per serving - whereas canned soups need more sodium as a preservative. If you make canned soup a regular part of your diet, you can keep your daily sodium under 1,500mg by cutting out salty snacks and processed meats at other meals. Drink plenty of water, and eat potassium-rich foods like bananas, avocado, beans and low-fat yogurt, which can help flush excess sodium out of your system.
Eat only one serving! Most soup packages hold two servings, but the nutrition data on the label is based on one. If you plan on polishing off the whole container, multiply that info by two.
Turn soup into a meal. A complete meal requires whole grains, vegetables, lean protein and heart-healthy fat. That means getting creative with some packaged soups: Toss in extra veggies, beans or tofu, quinoa or wild rice and low-fat cheese or yogurt.