The weather has cooled down to the point that it is officially soup season in my house. And along with the cooler weather comes the beautiful fall harvest. Apples, kale, spinach, cauliflower and a variety of squashes are at their peak right now, so take full advantage of your farmers market and grab some fall produce to make some soul-soothing soup.
Soup is nature’s comfort food. It is also a go-to when you’re sick with the cold or flu. But there are many other reasons to make, eat and enjoy soups.
Reasons to eat more soup
1. Ups your vegetable intake. Plus, eating seasonally is the cornerstone of good health. When produce is picked at its peak, it usually has more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than food harvested before ripeness and then shipped long distances.
2. Helps the local economy. Eating seasonally also means enjoying locally grown foods, which benefits local farmers, community, and the environment, too.
3. Easy and time-saving. Turning all that harvest bounty into a big pot of soup is less time-consuming than you might think. Slash prep time by rounding up kitchen “volunteers” to help wash, peel and chop. Or, better yet, let the food processor or blender do a lot of the hard work.
4. Keeps you fuller longer. Studies have found that soup can make you feel fuller for longer, and research has shown that regular soup eaters have healthier body mass indexes (BMI). People who eat soup before a main course tend to eat less overall, so consuming some of your calories in the form of soup can keep hunger at bay and help you lose weight, without making you feel like you’re depriving yourself.
5. Economical. Soup makes for a fantastic way to use up your leftovers – leftover roasted vegetables, for instance, are delicious transformed into soup – you just need to add some stock, heat everything up, and blend the mixture with a blender. It is also a great way to use those less-than-desirable-looking vegetables hanging around. There is still a lot of nutrition in those scraggly carrots!
6. Can boost your immune system. There’s a reason we always eat chicken noodle soup when we’re sick. Warm soup can help raise our core body temperature to help fight off illness. According to the Mayo Clinic, chicken soup also has anti-inflammatory properties which can help reduce aches and pains and has been shown to help clear up mucus.
7. Calming. Warm bowl of soup has an incredibly comforting effect. On a stressful day, eating a bowl of soup can help reduce your anxiety and calm your nerves. It can also help boost your energy, which will improve your mood.
8. Convenient. When you make soup, make a big pot and freeze the extra in single-serving containers. After a long and busy day, you can easily grab a serving and warm it up for a delicious and warm meal.
9. Great for picky eaters. A study out of the Netherlands found that toddlers who were given veggie- and herb-packed soups for 7 weeks showed an improved tolerance for vegetables of all kinds when compared with toddlers who didn’t eat soup.
10. Delicious! There need be no other reason than that. See below for one of my favorite, simple recipes using in-season butternut squash.
Butternut Squash Soup
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
Place all vegetables on a roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Place all vegetables in a large soup pot, and pour in enough stock to cover vegetables. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and add some grated ginger for a little kick. Cook for 30 minutes, and then puree everything with a handheld blender.
Photo from here, with thanks.