For many of us, soups stir up memories of mom’s comforting chicken noodle on a cold day or a cozy bowl of tomato after playing outside ’til dark. But beyond warming our hearts and bellies, it turns out soups can be powerful allies in managing our weight, too. I decided to dig into the science and experience behind using soups for slimming success. What I discovered convinced me these humble bowls of broth can be one of our best diet secrets.
A Hot Tip for Healthier Eating
With obesity rates rising across America, more folks are looking for enjoyable ways to reach and maintain a healthy weight. This had me curious whether soups could be a tasty tool for shedding pounds. I learned soups come in endless varieties, making it easy to find options that suit different diets and preferences. Their high water content fills us up so we eat less without sacrificing comfort. And homemade broths allow us to control nutrients and sodium for optimal nourishment.
Research shows soups can reduce overall calories compared to other foods while helping us feel full and satisfied. In one study, people ate 20% less at lunch when they started with a low-cal broth-based soup. Another found folks reported feeling fuller but eating fewer calories when stick-to-your ribs soups were on the menu. For those seeking to slim down without sacrifice, soups seem an ideal choice.
The Skinny on Soups and Weight Loss
Growing evidence supports soups’ ability to chip away pounds. Two key factors driving this relationship are soups’ high water volume and low calorie density.
Foods with lots of liquid fill up the stomach and promote feelings of satiety or fullness. Hearty soups have tons of water bulk that takes up space to signal our brains we’re satisfied, even with less food overall.
Soups also tend to deliver relatively few calories compared to the servings we happily consume. Low calorie density foods like broth-based soups allow us to indulge in sizable bowls for minimal calorie cost. Studies find varying a soup’s calorie density directly impacts hunger and satisfaction after eating. The lighter we go, the fuller we feel.
Multiple studies link slurping down soups regularly to greater weight loss. One large study associated intake of broth-based, veggie-heavy soups with easier weight control over time. In other trials, dieters munching soups lost more pounds than non-soup eaters with the same calorie goals. Science says incorporating hearty soups into our routine can really move the needle on reaching a healthy weight.
In one clinical trial published in Appetite in 2011, researchers examined how eating a low-calorie soup before lunch affected appetite and calorie intake later in the day. They recruited 60 adults and had them eat a fixed breakfast, followed by either a vegetable soup or no soup before their lunch. Those who ate the veggie soup before lunch ended up consuming 20% fewer calories at lunch compared to when they skipped the soup. This suggests starting a meal with a warming bowl of low-cal broth and veggies is an effective strategy to curb overeating and promote weight loss.
Another study in Nutrition Research looked specifically at how high water content foods influence fullness and hunger. They had 51 participants eat options like soups, salads and whole apples that naturally contain a lot of water. These were compared to more condensed versions like juice, mashed potatoes and applesauce equal in calories. Eating the high-H2O foods led to increased feelings of fullness and greater satisfaction despite no real difference in calories. This shows how soup’s natural water volume can support appetite control and successful weight management.
Overall the body of research makes a strong case that thanks to their twin benefits of high satiety and low calorie density, incorporating soups into your menu planning can be a smart move if you’re seeking to lose weight.
Build a Better Bowl with Nutrient-Packed Broths
Every superb soup starts with an awesome broth. Broths elevate soups from just okay to wonderful for our health. The right homemade broth concentrates nutrition and flavor while avoiding excess salt and calories.
Simmering bones and vegetables makes simple but powerful broths. For a light veggie stock, I love boiling carrots, onions and celery in water. Chicken broth offers protein and nutrients like chondroitin sulfate for joints. Cooking beef or chicken bones yields bone broth, rich in calcium, magnesium and phosphorus from the marrow.
I always opt for low-sodium broths and add just enough salt to heighten flavor. Herbs, garlic and veggies further boost nutrition minus the calories. With the perfect broth, we gain a nourishing foundation for concocting healthy soups as nature intended.
When time is tight, quality commercial broths can substitute. Compare sodium levels to choose wisely. With savvy selections, boxed broths can still provide healthy convenience.
When making homemade broth, both vegetable and bone broths have compelling research behind their health perks. One study published in the Journal of Food Science and Technology looked at optimal methods for whipping up veggie broth. They found simmering a combo of carrots, onions, celery, parsley, leeks and cabbage produced a mineral-loaded broth with the highest nutrient levels. This super soup starter delivered important vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, magnesium, potassium and zinc.
Meanwhile, bone broth may offer even more nutritional bang for the buck. A study in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine analyzed chicken bone broth made by steeping bones, feet, skin and gizzards for 5-6 hours. The resulting broth was chock full of proteins like collagen and minerals like calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. This signature blend supports bone and joint health. So a steaming mug of homemade broth can deliver a big dose of nutrition for very minimal calories.
When purchasing pre-made broths, read labels carefully. One report in the Journal of Food Science and Technology looked at 32 commercial vegetable and chicken broths. While veggie broths tended to be lower in calories, chicken had more satisfying protein. But sodium content varied tremendously from 260 to 760 milligrams per cup. Doing your homework pays off in choosing quality store-bought broths that can still offer hassle-free nutrition.
Satisfying Soup Options For Every Craving
A major perk of soups is the options to please every palate and diet plan. Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, low-carb, high-protein — soups can be customized to our goals.
Veggie lovers can purée beans, lentils and produce like cauliflower for a creamy, plant-based soup to fill up on. Hearty minestrone and vegetarian chili incorporate nourishing beans, veggies and spices in lieu of meat. For an instant vitamin infusion, whirl spinach or kale into broth for a vibrant green soup.
For traditional chicken noodle and beef stew fans, additions like mushrooms, carrots and whole grain pasta decrease calories while retaining comforting texture. Leaner beef and skinless poultry keep meat-based soups figure-friendly.
Lower-carb followers can skip the noodles for zucchini noodles or shreds. Protein sources like chicken, fish or grass-fed beef turn keto-friendly in light, veggie-rich broths. However we prefer to indulge, with a little creativity, soups can be customized to buoy our weight loss.
For vegetarians and vegans seeking healthy, waistline-friendly soups, plant-based options can totally satisfy. Ditching meat naturally reduces calories, while amping up vegetables, beans and whole grains maximizes nutrients. For instance, a hearty three-bean chili still delivers a dose of protein and fiber with budget-friendly dried beans as the base. Piling in extra veggies like tomatoes, peppers and mushrooms boosts nutrition without weighing it down.
Another favorite, minestrone soup, uses beans, whole grain pasta and a rainbow of vegetables for a hearty meal in a bowl. I love seeking out seasonal vegetables to highlight fresh flavors at their peak. And don’t overlook the magic of puréed soups – simply blend up beans, nuts or vegetables like cauliflower for a smooth, creamy soup that feels indulgent with a fraction of the calories. With so many nourishing plant-based options, vegetarians can eat both healthfully and heartily.
For meat-lovers not quite ready to fully vegetarianize, small changes can still lighten up traditional soups to align with weight goals. Using leaner cuts of beef and pork trims away excess fat and calories. Skipping skin on chicken does the same. Packing in more low-calorie vegetables like carrots, tomatoes and spinach builds more bulk for fewer calories. And when a soup calls for noodles, swap at least half for veggie noodles or whole grain varieties to cut carbs and calories without sacrificing satisfaction. With simple tweaks, classic meat and veggie soups can still fit into healthy eating.
Make Soups a Habit, Shed Pounds Without The Struggle
Replacing impulse grabs with soups requires a shift in habits. But a few tricks make it easier to rely on soups for reaching our healthy weight goals.
An easy first move – swap high-cal snacks for a steaming bowl to fill us up without derailing dinner. Pre-portioning soup to eat before a meal helps temper portions for lighter, satisfying suppers.
Planning ahead saves time and makes soup a no-brainer go-to. I like to prep big batches on weekends for quick reheats during hectic work weeks. Keeping individually portioned servings in the freezer makes healthy eating on demand a cinch.
Eating from a bowl rather than the pot provides a natural visual cue for reasonable serving sizes. Choosing small bowls keeps portions in check. Before we know it, mealtime soup rituals become as second nature as breathing.
Transforming soup into an everyday dietary staple requires some strategy and commitment. But the payoff for your waistline is well worth the effort. Here are some tips and tricks to seamlessly incorporate satiating soups into daily menus:
- Prepare a big batch of your favorite soup recipe on Sundays so you have pre-made portions ready to reheat all week long. Divide into individual containers for grabbing and going.
- Keep your freezer stocked with frozen broths and pre-portioned soups for those nights you need dinner in a hurry. Thaw in the fridge the night before or microwave to use.
- Buy pre-chopped veggies like onions and carrots on busy weeknights to cut down on soup prep time after work. Just sauté and simmer in broth.
- Substitute a cup of soup for unhealthy snacks throughout your day to fill your belly without excess calories.
- Start lunch by drinking a cup of broth-based soup before eating the rest of your meal to help fill up earlier.
- Use small soup bowls or mugs to keep portion sizes reasonable. No refilling monster bowls!
With the right habits, making soups part of your daily eating routine feels easy and natural. The initial legwork on planning and prep makes enjoying the sustained benefits for your waistline a breeze.
Close with a Happy, Healthy Belly
Study after study convinces me that working soups into our diet regimen can help develop the trim, vigorous body we long for. Their exceptional nutritional quality, generous liquid content, modest calories and limitless taste possibilities make soups a standout choice for fueling our wellness journey.
Experiment with unique flavor combos to create your own signature slimming soups. With a soup-centered strategy and fitness plan, we can sculpt the strong, energetic bodies we deserve.
Let’s ladle up this knowledge to expand our culinary horizons and shrink our waists. Savoring the flavors of nourishing homemade broths and herbs infuses everyday eating with joy and health. Each steaming spoonful moves us closer to becoming the vibrant, healthy people we aspire to be. I’m raising my spoon to a new soup-filled chapter! Who’s with me?
In closing, the compelling research shows making broth-laden soups a regular part of our meal plan can be an easy but highly effective tactic for losing weight. Soups give us that coveted combination of high volume and low calories that delivers lasting fullness and reduced hunger. The studies clearly demonstrate their benefits for cutting calories and promoting weight loss. With a bit of creativity, we can craft endless varieties that work within virtually any dietary preference. And adopting some simple meal planning strategies makes it easy to turn to satisfying soups day after day.
So next time you’re craving comfort, warmth or just a convenient meal, look to a steaming bowl of soup. Let all that liquid goodness help you achieve your weight loss ambitions one fulfilling spoonful at a time. With science confirming their waist-whittling power and options for every taste, soups can be a slimmer’s secret weapon. Get ready to fall in love with a whole new world of slimming soups as you pursue your health goals. Each mouth-watering spoonful brings you one step closer to the healthy, vibrant you that you deserve to be.
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