With the cool winter weather comes the cravings for warm, hearty meals. Healthy winter soups are perfect for warming you up and giving you that comforting feeling that reminds you of home. Here are some ways to turn all of your favourite fall and winter soups into healthier options.
Create your own healthy winter soups from homemade stocks:
The base of almost every soup is the stock or broth. There are boxes and cans of vegetable, chicken and beef broths available at the grocery store. These pre-made stocks are quick and easy, but if you read the ingredient list you will see that they are not the most healthy options. They often contain high sodium and MSG. Even if the container of broth states clearly that it does not contain MSG it may still be hiding in cleverly labeled ingredients like yeast extract or organic spices.
This article from the Healthy Home Economist shows that the “No MSG” labels used on products are usually false. Making your own stock is actually very simple! You can choose the ingredients for your stock and make it as healthy as you want. And you can most definitely ensure that there is no MSG!
Ingredients for your homemade stock:
- Use organic vegetables (onions, celery and carrots)
- Fresh herbs from the garden add flavour
- Ask your local butcher for beef bones or chicken necks- they are cheap and they make tasty broths.
- Use free range or grass fed animal bones for your stock
- Look for a local farm where you can buy grass fed beef and free range chickens to use for your stock. (You can use the meat for other recipes and save the bones for your stock).
Once you’ve made a large pot of your preferred stock you can use it in any of your healthy winter soup recipes. Any leftover stock can be frozen for later use (which is even more convenient than having to go to the grocery store to buy a can or box of broth)!
Turn any fall or winter soup into a more healthy option
Shop local and according to season: The best vegetables to use in your soups are the seasonal vegetables that are available in your area. Butternut squash is a wonderful choice for adding to healthy winter soups and stews. Save the zucchini and sweet peas for summertime recipes.
Other healthy fall and winter soup ingredients include:
- Sweet potatoes
- Swiss chard
What warm bowl of soup doesn’t go well with a fresh salad?
There are plenty of other seasonal fruits and vegetables that would make a lovely accompaniment to a winter soup. One combination is a bed of fresh spinach leaves with slices of pears or apples, pomegranate seeds, pecans or walnuts and goat cheese. Dress it up with a pear vinaigrette and you have complete winter inspired meal of delicious soup and salad.
Please share your favourite fall and winter soup and salad recipes in the comments section below!