Soup is a great start to any meal in these chilly winter months. It’s a warm, comforting food, and it can help you lose weight or maintain your weight.
You can fill up or bring down your hunger level at the beginning of a meal with soup, often in an low-calorie way. You do need to choose soups that are vegetable based or made from stock, and have no added butter, cheese, cream or large amounts of starch.
But that leaves tons of fabulous flavours to choose from, including mushroom, tomato, squash, cauliflower, onion, broccoli, vegetable, minestrone, chicken, fish, beet and pepper soup. Many of these have virtually no calories, so you are starting the meal with a food that will warm you, nourish you with vitamins, provide fluids and, most importantly, lead you to eating less of the meal or feeling more satiated afterward.
It takes 20 minutes for our metabolism to shut off from the time we start to eat until our brain and stomach effectively communicate with each other that no more food is needed. Because most Canadians eat dinner in five to 10 minutes, we finish a full portion but still feel hungry, because our brain is saying so, even though our stomach is full. By starting a meal with soup, a hot food that requires slow eating because of its heat and high liquid content, we can stretch out the amount of time we spend eating dinner, as well as fill up on a healthful food.
So this winter start your meals with soup. By adding meat, fish, soy or legumes to soup, you can turn it into a balanced meal. Here’s to staying warm and healthy this winter!
Lisa Weinberg is a registered dietitian/nutritionist in Toronto, in private practice and at the Genesis Professional Group. You can also follow Weinberg at http://twitter.com/lisaweinbergrd If you have any nutrition questions, please send them to The CJN.