For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, the sun is making its clothes-shedding presence known. Spring is melting into summer and bulky sweaters are being replaced by sleeveless tops. Goodbye bulge hiding parkas; hello bathing suits.
It’s about this time of the year we start to regret not keeping up with that annual New Year’s resolution we make every January 1st. You know the one – to get into better shape by eating healthier and exercising more. Oh, the best laid plans.
Well, it’s never too late!
Years ago there was a Campbell’s Soup commercial showing a young woman whose goal in life was to fit into her itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini. She devised a plan to eat Campbell’s Soup for lunch instead of her presumably usual calorie laden meal. She also had said bikini hanging on her wall for inspiration. I’ve never forgotten that commercial – not only because they had that fun yellow polka dot bikini song playing throughout, but because the premise made sense.
It’s been proven that it takes about 20 minutes for the brain to figure out that the stomach is full. This is why diet experts always tell us to eat slowly. What’s so great about soup is that because of its high water content it fills us up quickly. Of course, because of it’s high water content, we get hungry again sooner. But, at least, the soup got us away from the table unscathed. With a little planning we can have a low calorie snack (such as another bowl of soup, a banana, or some yogurt) mid-afternoon to tide us over until dinner.
Of course, if you have a soup made with cream and/or butter, you’re defeating the purpose. I’ve been making a vegetable soup that’s super easy (just throw everything into the pot) and varies depending on which veggies I have on hand or feel like buying. Sometimes, when I’m in a decadent mood, I even sprinkle on a little shredded cheese – just for the protein, of course. It’s also a great way to get those daily servings of vegetables – especially for the kids. For some reason they seem to eat them in soup.
VEGETABLE SOUP – makes about 7 cups
- 1 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes, remove stem ends and chop
- 1½ cups vegetable stock (for recipe, click on VEGETABLE STOCK)
- 1 cup onions, chopped
- 1 cup carrots, sliced
- 1 zucchini, halved and sliced
- 3 mushrooms, coarsely chopped
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 3 small white potatoes, chopped
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp salt
- optional suggestions: spinach, quinoa, barley, green beans, cauliflower, kale
Clean and prepare all veggies. Throw everything into a large pot and bring to a boil. Cover and turn down heat. Simmer until vegetables are cooked – I always judge by the carrots. EASY!!!
The nice thing about making your own soup (sorry Campbell’s) is that it’s so much cheaper and you can tailor it to suit your taste. Also it’s a great way to use up those leftover veggies that you just can’t bring yourself to throw out.
Apologies to those of you who now have the itsy bitsy bikini song running in your head!