Creating a Healthy Winter Soup

May 27, 2012 BY: LISA

If you are looking for warm, hearty and healthy in this cold weather you can’t go past some homemade soup.

You can put just about anything in and have lunch and/or dinner done for a few days, not to mention a stash in the freezer so it’s also good for a quick grab meal when you are short on time.

The soup diet comes about because most of the things you put in soup are low fat and vegetable based, so it’s a win win. However, you don’t need to follow any particular recipe and I certainly wouldn’t recommend it for breakfast, lunch and dinner…there is something to be said for variety!

Here are some basic things you could include:

Legumes- These dried beans are a great source of soluble fibre so they’re good for bowel health and cholesterol lowering. They are low GI therefore good for blood sugar levels and satiety (fullness) Legumes also provide protein so this along with fibre keeps you satisfied. You could add any type of legume or a whole lot of different kinds- either in canned or dried form.

Green leafy vegetables: Things like, spinach, silver beet, brocolli and parsley. They
are low in fat, high in dietary fiber, and rich in folic acid, vitamin C, potassium and magnesium, as well as containing a host of phytochemicals, such as lutein, cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene. They can also be a good source of iron and calcium. This makes leafy green vegetables great for every part of the body. Consumption of green leafy vegetables has been linked with lower rates of heart disease and preventative against some cancers.

Tomato: With its high concentration of the antioxidant lycopene tomatos are beneficial for heart and bone health.

Celery: Celery provides an excellent source of vitamin C and fibre. It’s a very good source of folic acid, potassium, and vitamins B1 and B6. Celery also offers a good source of vitamin B2 and calcium.


Capsicum: A great source of vitamin C and the different colours provide sources of different phyto chemicals for the body which act as antioxidants to protect the body and lower disease risk. It can also add some lovely colour to your soup!

Parsnip: I love the sweet taste it brings to a soup, particularly if you cook it first in a bit of olive oil before you add the stock. The benefits of a good extra virgin olive oil are well documented. Parsnips contain moderate amounts of vitamin A and C along with some B group vitamins. They are also a source of calcium, iron and potassium as well as a good source of dietary fibre.

Onions are high in vitamin C and chromium but they also contain vitamin B 6, vitamin A, calcium and phosphorus. However, it’s not just the vitamins and minerals that make the onion a healthy addition to your meals; it’s also the phytonutrients, flavinoids that onions contain. The most prominent of which is quercitin.

Garlic: Similar nutrient profile to onions. It has health benefits for lowering cholesterol and also has antibiotic properties and adds a great flavour.

Low salt stock: Choosing a lower sodium product means that it will have a lower effect on your blood pressure which is obviously
beneficial for everyone.

Soup makes a fabulous healthy winter lunch or dinner- it’s easy to have on hand for a quick meal and certainly has less calories than a meat pie and will be as equally satisfying, while providing a powerful nutrient punch.


Lisa Renn

Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD)



  1. Soups are one of the best things about winter and we have at least one each week on our menu!
    It is also a great way to introduce new veggies to our kids… my kids wont go for roast parsnip (yum!) – but will happily eat it in a soup!

    May 31st, 2012
  2. love the weekly e-mails for the great information they provide, Soup for lunch is a favourite of mine it is very filling and nutricious.

    jill Hoenen
    June 3rd, 2012

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