Now that it’s almost time to end our winter hibernation, we can finally think about shedding those extra layers—the turtlenecks, sweaters and scarves we’ve worn for the past few months (not to mention all those additional layers of avoirdupois that have accumulated a bit further down on our bodies. . ahem).
A great antidote to the months of cold weather is a bowl of steaming, simple, nutritious soup. Soup warms and nourishes the body while simultaneously comforting the soul. And it’s really, really good for you.
What makes soup so great? Consider the following:
- It’s Easy. Basically, a bowl of soup can provide a full meal, and all you need do is throw a variety of different ingredients into a pot, and simmer. Depending on the specific foodstuffs you include, a bowl of piping hot soup can be ready in under 30 minutes. And when you’re done, here’s the bonus: only one pot to clean up. How perfect is that?
- It’s Healthy. When you cook vegetables, beans, or grains in water (even if you steam them), many of the essential vitamins and minerals leach out into the liquid, which remains in the pot or is spilled down the drain. With soup, you slurp up your nutrients along with the broth. It’s also a great way to get in some of those 5-10 vegetable servings in a single meal. And let’s not forget that most soups can be rendered low fat and low-calorie—which can help with getting back in shape after a lazy winter.
- It’s Versatile: The beauty of soups is that they are infinitely adaptable. You can mix up any number or combination of ingredients according to your own tastes. You prefer sweet potato to butternut squash? No problem! You’d rather add white beans to your tomato soup? Go ahead! Almost anything goes.
- It’s Recyclable. Soup stores well and can be easily reheated and eaten again for a few days. Better yet, cook up a huge pot, then pour single-serving leftovers into individual Ziploc freezer bags; freeze stacked on a cookie sheet to keep the bags flat. Once frozen, you can store the bags compactly in the freezer for easy meals down the road.
Here are some soups to get you started: