For healthy weight loss, slurp your appetizers before your dinner.
Research shows that they can help you lose weight because they have a high water content, which can help you feel full.
A flavorful bowl can help reduce your main portion size, trim fat and boost veggie intake.
For many people a steaming bowl brings an image of a cozy comfort food that just has to be good for you.
Indeed, they can certainly be a boost as you try to stay fit and healthy.
But "look" before you eat, because the details of the ingredients make the difference.
The long-held connection of good health may stem from grandma’s advice that you should have chicken broth when feeling under the weather.
Some research has shown that one or more of the compounds in grandma's suggestion provide mild anti-inflammatory benefits that reduce mucus production and thus, lessen a stuffy nose or cough.
We still have relatively little research to confirm the link, but there’s no harm in trying.
In fact, these could certainly be an ally for weight control, too.
Americans’ portions have grown markedly in the last 20 years, apparently contributing to our boom in obesity.
Broth-based varieties packed with veggies give you the biggest bang for your caloric buck.
And, just like salad, soup is a good vehicle for vegetables (the fiber in vegetables also promotes feelings of fullness for few calories).
Research suggests that starting a meal with a hearty bowlful can help reduce portion size.
A study published in Appetite, people who started lunch with vegetable soup ended up eating 20 percent less than those who skipped the soup.
Makes perfect sense to me!
For relatively few calories, soup brings a feeling of fullness and makes it easier to eat less of other foods in a meal.
The key for success with this strategy may depend upon serving smaller portions of the other foods.
Studies have clearly established that for many of us, eating super-sized portions is not necessarily due to hunger, but it's a response to seeing more food.
If that’s true, then the fact that a bowl of broth satisfies our hunger won’t necessarily lead us to eat less, if we still see large amounts of food.
Remember the saying, "your eyes are bigger than your stomach".
We tend to eat with our eyes and this is why (better) restaurants have a tendency to focus on presentation.
Drink Your Veggies
Broth servings can also benefit long-term health by serving as a vehicle to work more vegetables into meals.
The tomato version provides a serving of vegetables in the liquid itself, and then you can add a variety of vegetables.
Pureed winter squash is also an excellent base that is packed with nutrients.
(Simply puree steamed, microwaved or baked squash, and thin to the consistency you prefer with chicken or vegetable broth or fat-free milk.)
Broth-based types can be packed with one to two standard servings of vegetables per bowl, too.
If you start with a commercial variety that’s light on vegetables, you can always add frozen, canned or leftover fresh veggies of your own.
We like to add frozen mixed vegetables (because they're firmer) to our chicken...well, I guess we're just creating our own chicken vegetable, aren't we.
The key to making it a healthy food option is to make sure it's concentrated with the super foods that we need to increase in our diet and not loaded with what we need to reduce...
...which is sodium and saturated fat.
Conventional commercial brands often contain from 750 to 1,000 milligrams of sodium per 1-cup serving, a hefty portion of the suggested maximum of 2,300 mg a day.
(If you start with a condensed variety, a serving is less than half of a 10-ounce can).
Watch out for the Sodium
Reduced-sodium soups, often still contain 400 to 850 mg per cup.
This is better, but definitely not truly low-sodium.
Some people dilute the reduced-sodium version with sodium-free bouillon to produce a soup with even lower sodium than commercial varieties.
You can add onion, garlic and herbs for plenty of flavor.
As for fat content, cheesy or creamy types tend to deliver 5 to 9 grams of saturated fat per cup; a substantial portion of many people’s cap of 15 to 20 grams a day, particularly if your portion sneaks above the one cup mark.
I try to stay away from the creamed varieties for this very reason.
Vegetable and broth-based varieties make limiting fat much easier.
Soup can play a role in creating meals that reduce cancer risk and promote overall health.
By starting with a bowl loaded with vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans, you can instantly switch the balance of a meal in a healthy direction.
It can in fact, even be the complete meal, following this approach.
A hearty broth chock-full of vegetables that includes a small amount of lean meat or poultry can provide a satisfying and healthy meal.
The following is a rustic Vegetable-Minestrone soup.
And the best part?
It tastes even better a day or two after you make it.
So you can eat it for lunch all week.
Rustic Vegestronie Soup
This vegetable-packed recipe makes a big pot, so cook it up on the weekend and keep some in the refrigerator for up to 5 days and freeze the rest in single-serve portions.
That way you always have an easy, delicious vegetable soup to start your meal or to eat for lunch.
Think of this vegetable minestrone recipe as a starting point for other healthy soup variations, too: toss in leftover chopped cooked chicken or whole-wheat pasta or brown rice to make it more satisfying.
Top it with a generous spoonful of fresh Parmesan cheese, bringing the Italian flavor to the forefront and keeping any feelings of diet deprivation at bay.
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 60 mins
Total time: 1 hour 15 mins
2 Tbs. Coconut Oil
1 Large Yellow Onion, medium dice
6 Small Stalks Celery (preferably from the heart, leaves attached), sliced
4 Large Carrots, peeled and diced (try to keep them about the same size)
2 Medium sized Zucchini, medium diced
1.5 lbs. Lean Ground Beef
2 tsp. Sea Salt
1 tsp. Fresh cracked Pepper
2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
3 Garlic Cloves, finely minced
3 Tbs. Tomato Paste
2 (14.5 oz) Cans Diced Italian Tomatoes
8 C. low-sodium Beef Broth
4 C. Red Cabbage (about half a large head) diced bite sized
1 Bunch of Kale, stems removed, chopped up
Grated, fresh Parmesan cheese
Heat 2 Tablespoons of Coconut Oil in a large heavy bottomed pot such as a Dutch Oven, over medium heat.
Add onions, celery, carrots and saute until translucent and vegetables start to soften (about 10 minutes).
Add zucchini and saute for 3-5 more minutes and then push veggies to one side of your pot.
Turn heat up to medium high and ground beef in and proceed to crumble and brown.
As beef begins to brown, stir in with all the vegetables.
Add salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and minced garlic and saute for 2 minutes.
Stir in tomato paste and let it melt into other ingredients.
Add diced Italian Tomatoes and beef broth and bring to a boil.
Once boiling, lower heat to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes uncovered
Add cabbage and kale and simmer for 10 minutes, covered.
Top with fresh Parmesan if desired.
Serve and Enjoy!Tweet
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