Soup Up Your Summer!

A wholesome soup can boost the nutritional value of any meal. Due to their liquid state, soups are easily digested and absorbed. A nutritious soup made from beans, lentils, or peas provides you with valuable fiber, protein, and carbohydrates; vegetable and fruit soups are rich in essential nutrients as well.

The current trend in nutrition is to recommend eating frequent small, light meals, spaced evenly throughout the day. This contributes to more stable blood sugar levels and increased energy. Lighter soups are excellent appetizers, whereas heartier soups work well as a main dish when served with whole grain bread and a salad.

In the summer, a chilled fruit soup is a tasty and nutritious option. One of my favorite recipes includes peaches, plums, pears, cherries, and apricots. These are all low on the glycemic index, which means that the fructose (fruit sugar) they contain is released into the bloodstream slowly, due to their high fiber content. Another healthy chilled soup ideal for summer is borscht. With beets as its primary ingredient, borscht has antioxidant properties and even helps to purify the blood.

For a wholesome vegetable soup any time of the year, include these ingredients: carrots, tomatoes, onions, celery, eggplant, zucchini, string beans, and garlic. Other healthy options to incorporate into your diet are pea soup, onion soup, cabbage soup, bean soup, lentil soup, and potato soup. As far as restaurant and canned soups, keep in mind that these tend to be excessively high in salt content, so it is best to choose low sodium versions. During the summer, when it is most important to stay well hydrated, clear broth is a good choice as well.

So whatever your vacation plans are, soup up your summer…and enjoy!