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    Archive for the ‘soup’ Category

    You Ask, I Answer: Fiber Content of Blended Foods

    sweet-potato-soupI recently bought a powerful blender and have been making all kinds of “cream soups” with it.

    For example, I sometimes blend carrots, spinach, onion and kale with some low sodium vegetable broth and then heat it on the stove.

    Do I lose the fiber aspect of the food because it has been pureed?  I have a 16 year-old vegetarian daughter and I find this an easy way to incorporate a ton of vegetables to her day.  I also sometimes add beans to increase the fiber content.

    What do you think?

    — Susy (Last name withheld)
    (Location Unknown)

    I think blended soups are a spectacular way to add a wollop of vegetables, fiber, and nutrients to your day!  One of my absolute favorite blended soup recipes is this cashew-based “cream” of mushroom.

    By the way, if you want to make a heartier and more filling version of your soup (which sounds delicious, by the way), replace the low-sodium vegetable broth with a cup of water and also a quarter cup of cashews or walnuts.

    In regards to your question, pureeing does not have any effect on fiber content.  That’s precisely one of the wonderful things about purees — you maintain all the nutrition found in the whole food!


    Quick & Healthy Recipe: Red Pepper Cream Soup

    red-pepperMy recent cream of mushroom soup recipe was such a hit that many of you have been asking for another “blend and heat” soup recipe.  I am happy to oblige!

    Here is a similar concoction that beautifully highlights the natural sweetness in red peppers and carrots.  Perfect for fall!  Like the mushroom soup, this is fairly hearty and filling, so you can simply follow it up with a light entree.

    YIELDS: 1 serving


    1 cup water
    1/2 cup raw cashews, almonds, or sunflower seeds
    2/3 cup raw red pepper strips
    1/4 cup raw green pepper, diced
    4 baby carrots
    2 Tablespoons raw onion, chopped
    1 Tablespoon chopped celery
    1/4 cup fresh or frozen corn
    1 garlic clove
    1 Tablespoon lemon juice
    1/6 teaspoon salt
    Black pepper, to taste
    1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger


    Combine all ingredients in blender and process until well combined.

    Transfer to small pot and heat on stovetop for 2 or 3 minutes.

    NUTRITION INFORMATION (for cashew variation):

    384 calories
    4 grams saturated fat
    400 milligrams sodium
    6 grams fiber
    13 grams protein

    Excellent source of: Copper, vitamin A, vitamin C

    Good source of: Folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin E, vitamin K


    Quick & Healthy Recipe: Five-Minute Creamy Mushroom Soup

    mushroomsI love a bowl of homemade soup on chilly days, but don’t always have the time (or patience) to make soup from scratch.

    Alas, this amazingly simple “chop, blend, and heat” recipe produces an out-of-this-world-delicious (and super healthy!) soup.  I’ve been hooked on this since day one.

    Since this soup is filling due to its share of healthy fats and protein, it can be perfectly paired with a salad or small sandwich.

    YIELDS: 1 – 2 servings


    1 cup water
    1/4 – 1/2 cup raw, unsalted cashews
    1/4 cup chopped onion of choice (I use yellow)
    1 garlic clove (use 2 if you want it extra-garlicky)
    1 cup sliced mushrooms of choice (I use white)
    1/4 cup chopped celery
    1 Tablespoon lemon juice
    1/8 teaspoon salt or miso
    Pepper, to taste


    Process all ingredients in blender.

    Transfer to pot and heat for 5 minutes.

    Serve and enjoy.  Top with cilantro or scallions!

    NUTRITION INFORMATION (per serving):

    358 calories
    4 grams saturated fat
    300 milligrams sodium
    3 grams fiber
    11 grams protein

    Excellent source of: Folate, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin B6, vitamin C

    Good source of: Copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, selenium.


    You Ask, I Answer: Fiber

    I just looked at the fiber I add to my meals and noticed it has calories. 2 tablespoons add up to 72 calories. Is that worth it?

    I take it because I was told that when you eat fat with fiber, you absorb less fat.

    In addition, I want additional fiber in my meals without additional calories or food. I need to reduce the size of my food intake.

    — Marta (last name withheld)
    Miami, FL

    It is indeed true that fiber can decrease the absorption of fat (to a certain degree) by forming viscous gels that trap fat particles in, preventing them from being stored in tissues.

    There are, however, other important reasons why fiber plays a huge role in weight management.

    Soluble fiber — the only component of oat bran, and partially found in fruits, vegetables, and some whole grains — helps slow down transit time of digested particles, thereby helping us feel satiated for long periods of time.

    This is why a cup of oatmeal in the morning sprinkled with a few fruits and nuts makes you feel hungry later in the day than if you were to eat two Pop-tarts (which, despite having more calories, are completely lacking fiber).

    Keep in mind that insoluble fiber — which wheat bran is entirely made of — has no calories.

    The fiber in whole wheat bread (and the skin of fruits and vegetables) does not add calories to your day.

    This is partially why I always recommend people get fiber from whole foods, as opposed to supplements (another reason being that when you eat a fruit or vegetable, you are also getting important vitamins and minerals not found in a fiber pill).

    Having fiber-rich meals will help you reduce your caloric intake. A 600 calorie meal providing 15 grams of fiber will keep you fuller longer than a 900 calorie one with 6 grams of fiber.

    A cup of lentil soup, for instance, provides 9 grams of fiber and 150 calories (along with 8 grams of protein, which also helps you feel full). This is a much better meal component than a 120 calorie cup of tomato bisque, which only provides 2 grams of fiber (and 2 grams of protein).

    The tomato soup will leave you feeling hungry a lot faster than the lentil soup, resulting in you taking in more calories soon after.


    Do You Know What You’re Sipping?

    Ah, autumn! Leaves turn, pumpkin is all the rage, animals begin stocking up on food, and we trade in iced lattes for soup.

    As nutritionally innocent as a hot cup of it may sound, you can make some real blunders as you navigate the canned soup aisle at the supermarket.

    Read below to mak sure the soup in your cart will do more than soothe your soul.

    Calculate calories!

    Although many people consider one can of soup to be one serving, food companies beg to differ. A standard can of soup is considered two servings, meaning you need to multiply every single value on that food label by two.

    Sometimes, this leads to higher numbers than one would expect. For instance, a can of Campell’s Chunky New England Clam Chowder clocks in at 480 calories, while the same variety made by Progresso adds up to 460 calories. Amy’s Organic Tom Kha Phak Coconut Soup is also a significant source of calories, at 440 per can.

    Stay vigilant of sodium levels.

    Canned and frozen goods — except for flash-frozen fruits and vegetables — are often loaded with sodium, a mineral that is necessary for basic cellular functions, but can contribute to several health risks if consumed in high amounts.

    Although the recommended daily allowance is set at no more than 2,400 milligrams, the average adult in the United States is getting 150% of the amount.

    The worst culprits in soup world? Progresso’s Savory Beef, Barley, and Vegetable Soup (1,980 mg per can), Progresso’s Chickarina (2,020 mg per can), and Campbell’s Chunky New England Clam Chowder (1,960 mg per can).

    Luckily, there are some sodium saints. Amy’s Organic recently launched a new line of “light in sodium” soups which, on average, contain approximately 550 milligrams of sodium per can.

    Health Valley offers “no salt added” soups which are extremely low in sodium, contributing a mere 140 milligrams per can.

    Don’t saturate yourself.

    If you’re not careful, you could be taking in a lot of saturated fat with your soup of choice.

    Consider the following. A can of Campbell’s Chunky Sirloin Burger with Country Vegetable soup packs in 10 grams of saturated fat (50% of the recommended daily limit, and more than a Crunch bar).

    One good strategy is to be careful of chowders and other cream-based soups.

    Find fiber.

    Those of you seeking to get more fiber in your diet should turn to soup for help.

    Varieties chock full of beans and legumes will offer significant amounts of fiber, protein, and healthy fats — the three pillars of satiety!

    The average can of black bean soup will provide a powerful 14 grams of fiber, while lentil varieties typically contain 10 to 12 grams of the intestinal tract clearing, cholesterol-lowering, colon cancer protecting all-star.


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