February is 'National Heart Health' month. What better way to warm your heart and your belly this time of year than to prepare and enjoy a delicious soup with loved ones?
Many soups, particularly cream-based ones, are high in saturated fat and sodium. Light, broth-based soups are often healthier choices, but unless the soup has some heartiness to it, you'll likely find yourself hungry soon after.
That being said, soups have the potential to be super heart-healthy and satisfying. While most soups fill the stomach initially, to sustain your fullness and energy to the next meal or snack, make sure to include a source of carbohydrates (starch) and a source of protein (beans, meat, cheese, etc.). Homeade soups are best because you can control the sodium and add extra ingredients to increase nutrition. Vegetables, beans, healthy oils like olive oil and whole grains are all heart-healthy soup additions. Here are a few soups to make a meal out of this season!
Here's one we adapted from Cooking Light:
Loaded Potato Soup
4 (6-ounce) red potatoes
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup prechopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/4 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups 1% low-fat milk, divided
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 bacon slices (or turkey bacon), halved
1.5 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1/3 cup)
4 teaspoons thinly sliced green onions
1. Pierce potatoes with a fork. Microwave on HIGH 13 minutes or until tender. Cut in half; cool slightly.
2. While potatoes cook, heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 3 minutes. Add broth. Combine flour and 1/2 cup milk; add to pan with 1 1/2 cups milk. Bring to a boil; stir often. Cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in sour cream, salt, and pepper.
3. Arrange bacon on a paper towel on a microwave-safe plate. Cover with a paper towel; microwave on HIGH for 4 minutes. Crumble bacon.
4. Discard potato skins. Coarsely mash potatoes into soup. Top with cheese, green onions, and bacon.
Other soups you may want to try:
White Bean Turkey Chili
White Bean and Cabbage with Chicken Sausage
Note: Try this with red cabbage to add some extra antioxidants
Spicy Thai Coconut Chicken Soup
Avgolemono Chicken Soup
(Greek Lemon and Chicken; use 1/2 salt to reduced sodium)
Tomato Seafood Soup
And make sure to enjoy a piece of dark chocolate after! ALSO heart healthy!