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Comfort Food that also Offers Health Benefits

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” as well as soup.  For frosty winter days, stuffy, sore noses, even reconnecting with your family over the dinner table, soup can be a hearty and healthy solution overflowing with flavor.  What better time to celebrate this simple staple than National Soup Month?  If you’re due for a steamy bowl of comfort, take a cue from our dietitians to 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 anything else you want to throw into 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 stay on track with any diet.  At home, soup is a perfect meal to use up the lost and lonely vegetables easing past their prime in the crisper.  The more you incorporate, the more vitamins and minerals you can be sure you’re slurping up.
Kare-Udon-(Curry-Udon-Soup).jpgWhole grains – Soup can be a complete and satisfying meal all by itself, especially when whole grains are on the ingredient list.  When dining out, look for traditional favorites like beef and barley or chicken and brown rice.  Making your own?  Whole wheat noodles can 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.  Do you prefer sopping up soup with bread?  Many restaurants and grocery stores offer a whole grain option.
Creamy vs. broth soups – Choose broth bases over cream at restaurants and at home.  This simple choice is not only full of flavor and nutrients but can also save you hundreds of calories, giving you a jump on swimsuit season.  With that said, everything can be enjoyed in moderation.  If a creamy soup is your choice, be smart about how you enjoy it.  At restaurants, order a cup (not a bowl) of your favorite cream-based soup with a side of vegetables or salad.  At home, experiment with swapping ingredients such as lower or non-fat milk and cheese, evaporated skim milk or plain yogurt.  If the only kind of soup you want when you are in bed with the latest round of aches and chills is Great Aunt Ann’s classic ham and potato with sharp cheddar, then savor a smaller cup with a dessert of vitamin C rich and in-season fruits such as sweet and juicy oranges.
What’s your favorite soup?  How do you incorporate this comfortable and tasty staple into your diet?  Try some of these bowls of comfort from participating Healthy Dining restaurants:

Au Bon Pan - Curried Rice and Lentil Soup (Small)
Plump, brown lentils are simmered in a tomato vegetarian broth with onions, carrots, ground peppers, curry powder and long grain rice.

The Black Forest CafĂ©  - Moroccan Vegetable Stew
A fragrant and colorful stew of carrots, potatoes, spinach, zucchini and chick peas punctuated with an exotic blend of mint, cumin, coriander and garlic; served with farro, a barley like whole grain. Garnished with a dollop of spicy red chili yogurt.

Litestars - Angel Face Soupdrink™
Our own vegetable stock, cauliflower, carrots, Litestars spices and salt.

Farmer Boys - Chicken Noodle Soup (Bowl)

Corner Bakery Cafe - Santa Fe Ranch Salad and Three Lentil Vegetable Soup - SPECIAL REQUEST

Blimpie - Minestrone Soup



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