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Registered Dietitians Answer Your Questions about Restaurant Nutrition

How Do I Order the Best Soup?

There are few foods that sum up “comfort” as well as soup, a hearty and healthy solution overflowing with flavor.
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There are few foods that sum up “comfort food” as well as soup.  For frosty winter days, soup can be a hearty, healthy and flavorful solution for a quick weeknight meal or leisurely weekend indulgence. If you’re craving a steamy and comforting bowl of soup, follow these dietitian tips to order the best soup and stay on track with your health goals:

Vegetables – What soups can do to vegetables is almost magical.  The flavors of the celery, tomatoes, carrots, kale and any other vegetables you or the chef may add to the pot are developed and melded into a rich and satisfying meal that even the most adamant vegetable-opponent can relish with abandon.  Most restaurants offer a hearty vegetable soup option to warm you up and enable you to stay on track with any diet.  At home, soup is a perfect meal to use up the lost and lonely vegetables heading past their prime in the crisper.  The more you incorporate, the more vitamins and minerals you can be sure you’re enjoying in every spoonful.

Whole grains – Soup can be a complete and satisfying meal all by itself, especially when whole grains are in the recipe.  When dining out, look for traditional favorites like beef and barley or chicken and brown rice. At home, try whole wheat noodles to add a new depth of taste and nutrition to chicken noodle. Brown rice can add texture to vegetable soup, and barley isn’t the only grain that can pair well with beef. Is bread your must-have soup side? Many restaurants now offer a whole grain option.

Creamy vs. broth soups – Choose broth bases over cream at restaurants and at home to help cut calories and fat. With that said, everything can be enjoyed in moderation.  If a creamy soup is your choice, order a smaller portion and pair with a nutrient dense and lower calorie side like steamed vegetables or a salad. At home, experiment with using ingredients like low- or non-fat milk and cheese, evaporated skim milk or plain yogurt in place of full fat cream, milk and cheese.

What’s your favorite soup?  How do you order the best soup at restaurants to cure your comfort food craving without doing in your diet?

Restaurants nationwide are serving hearty, healthy soups recommended by Healthy Dining’s dietitians. Next time you’re in the mood for some soup, search for a tempting choice near you on


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Registered Dietitians Answer Your Questions about Restaurant Nutrition

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