December 2, 2019 - 2:01pm --

Cold weather can make ordering takeout or going out to eat tempting, but that can put a strain on your wallet and be less healthy than cooking at home. Soups are a great solution! They are simple to make and will warm you up. In this post we will walk you through how to create your own soup with items on hand.

First, pick a liquid base. We suggest low sodium broth, or bouillon cubes added to water. Bring about 4-6 cups (or the amount you think is best) of broth to a low simmer in a large pot. If you want your soup to have a more creamy taste, try adding ¼ cup low-fat milk to the broth. This is a sneaky way to add more calcium to your diet for strong bones!

Black Bean SoupSecond, pick a protein. Beans are a low-cost and low-fat source of protein you can keep on hand in your pantry. There are many different types of beans, such as black-eyed peas, pinto beans, or garbanzo beans. They can be purchased canned or dry and have a longer shelf life than animal proteins like meat and poultry. If you are using dry beans, rinse them and follow instructions on the label to cook them. If you are using canned beans, rinse the top of the can before opening, drain the liquid and rinse the beans to reduce sodium. Then pour the beans into a separate pan at medium heat with a teaspoon of oil. Keep the beans on the burner at medium heat for 5 minutes.

Lastly, fill the pot up with vegetables! Canned vegetables have a longer shelf life than fresh vegetables, so they can be kept on-hand for last-minute soup dinners. When shopping for canned vegetables, look for “low-sodium” or “no salt added” on the label to reduce the amount of sodium that goes into your soup. Try to pick differently colored vegetables to increase the variety of nutrients. One delicious combo you can try is mushrooms and artichokes. Just like with the beans, rinse the top of the can before opening, drain the liquid, and add to the pan to warm with the protein.

Once your proteins and vegetables are warmed up, add them to the pot with the broth and let simmer for a few minutes to blend the flavor. Then pour into bowls and enjoy with a whole wheat roll or crackers. Enjoy!

Check out these soup recipes from Celebrate Your Plate as well:

By Nina Hoffmeyer