5 Ways to Prepare Healthier Soups and Stews
Guest Post from DietsinReview
"Tis the Season for Stock Pots
As soon as we get one evening under 70 degrees, my husband immediately asks, “is it time to make chili?” He’ll ask this about 4:00 in the afternoon and ask if we can have it for that night’s dinner. I remind him that I don’t make quick chili, I make cook-all-day, slow-simmer (aka amazing) chili. The slightest crisp in the air seems to send us all running from the cool summer salads and in to the warm embrace of soups, chills, and stews.
Is that OK? It most certainly is.
With the right ingredients, these meals are typically chock-full of vegetables, aromatic spices, and lean protein that fill us up and keeps us satisfied. Here are a few tricks for maintaining a healthy relationship with your stock pot, and all it produces, this fall and winter.
1. Stock up on broth. Whether you make your own and freeze it or keep several boxes or cans in the pantry, with broth at the ready you can whip up soup and stew on a whim. Chicken, beef, and vegetable broth all tend to have 15 calories per cup – just watch the sodium on any variety. It’s also a much more tasty way to prepare rice and quinoa than water.
2. Stock up on veggies, too. While we prefer fresh because of their flavor and nutrition profiles, frozen work just as well. Fresh or frozen, keep the bags stocked in your freezer of pre-chopped carrots, broccoli, celery, peas, potatoes (red and sweet), green beans, onions, and more. This way, you never have an excuse not to bulk up a dish.
3. Bring on the beans. Beans are an excellent (and very affordable) way to add protein to a dish without adding a lot of calories or fat. You can prepare the beans yourself, or stock your pantry with low-sodium canned kidney, black, or other beans. This Black Bean and Turkey Chili is one of our favorites and it reheats very well.
4. Plan ahead. If you’ll spend an afternoon every weekend, or one intensive weekend, preparing your favorite soups, chilis, and stews, you’ll have dinner that night and homemade frozen meals for lunches or dinner all week long. Pour one-cup servings into freezer-safe containers, pair with a fresh salad or piece of fruit, and you’ll have the tastiest brown bag lunch at the office. Who wouldn’t swoon over your bowl of this Potato Leek Soup?
5. Keep it lean. If your stockpot meal calls for meat, be sure to choose only lean cuts. Ground turkey is a fantastic way to sub ground beef and reduces fat and calories tremendously. Its neutral flavor complements any spices you’re using. Juicy chunks of chicken or even pork will add flavor and healthy, lean protein to just about any stew, like this wonderful Moroccan Chicken Stew.