January 2, 2014

Soups On!

There is no healthier and more delicious way to stay warm than with a hot bowl of soup! Soups are a great way to be adventurous and incorporate new and different, nutrient-rich vegetables and grains all in one bowl. Soup 2014

The history of soup dates back to the beginning of cooking. When food was scarce, combining various ingredients that were seasonally available into a bowl and heating it was a cheap way to provide for a quick, nutrient-rich meal.

Today, soups come in many different varieties: canned, microwave-ready, portable and even dehydrated. However, these convenient soups can often be high in sodium which can cause a serious health risk to those with high blood pressure and heart disease. Your first choice when purchasing canned soups should be brands that are low sodium.

MANNA nutritionists suggest reducing the sodium content in canned soups by draining a portion of the broth and replacing it with water before heating the soup. You can also try adding extra vegetables or grains to canned soups to increase the fiber and nutrient content. The best way to control the amount of sodium in soup is to cook your own from scratch.

Try to use seasonal ingredients such as kale, leeks, winter squash, potatoes, and parsnips.  Consider adding whole grains such as barley, bulgur and quinoa to provide flavor, fiber and nutrients. One cup of these grains can contain up to 6 grams of fiber, up to 10 grams of protein, and plenty of B vitamins and folic acid.

Here are a few more tips from the MANNA kitchen to yours:
• Use a blender to puree beans, potatoes, or other vegetables to act as a thickening agent rather than adding cream which is high in fat and cholesterol.
• Use low-sodium broths if you are using broths purchased in a store.
• Looking for flavor? Try adding herbs and spices instead of salt.
• After preparation, the soup can be refrigerated to allow fat to harden and skimmed off the top to lower the fat content as well as calories.

MANNA will be kicking off Souper Bowl 2014 this month. We will be selling our Chicken Noodle, Creamy Corn Chowder and Minestrone – all made from fresh ingredients and cooked in our MANNA kitchen. Soups go on sale January 1st and will be available for pickup at MANNA. For more info, or to order, please visit www.mannapa.org