Have soups for taste and health

Soups are a great addition to your regular diet, especially in winter

Drinking soupWith the rains giving way to the cold of winter, soups start to find favour with most families. A hot bowl of steaming soup in the shivering cold of the north Indian winter is certainly a great idea. Many of us have great memories of home-made soup prepared lovingly by our mothers. But, there is much more to soups than just keeping us warm and secure.

Soups are a great evening snack - tasty and delicious. While not part of the traditional Indian diet, they provide the best alternative to the heavy and oily snacks that most of us have during the evenings.

Nutritional Benefits

Soups also have a lot of nutrients as they are loaded with vegetables or chicken. The best part about soups is they give a feeling of fullness, even though they are light and low in fat and cholesterol. They can be had as a snack — just add some bread twists, some noodles or pasta! Or combine it with whole wheat bread and some salad vegetables for a light meal.

In this season of weddings and festivals, soups can be a great way of ensuring that you don't overeat. "Soups are filling and definitely I would suggest them to be taken before stepping out for a party. It gives satiety with minimum calories," says Dr Bhuvaneshwari, dietician at Apollo hospitals, Chennai.

Quick and easy

Also, while savouring a bowl of homemade soup is great, given the pressures of today's life - it's not always possible to make soups from scratch. But one need not worry, as it is easy to whip up a delicious and tasty soup in quick time - courtesy packaged soups.

Soup is a quick and convenient snack. A powder soup can be made in a few minutes, so even if the husband springs a surprise with an early return home.

A soup with a special ingredient - you!

You can also add your own special touch to every soup - be it garnishing with coriander, flavouring with lemon or garlic, addition of herbs, croutons, or even adding more vegetables, the possibilities are limited only by your imagination! All these involve addition of simple ingredients, easily available at home. Add something unique to the soup and you would've created a soup recipe with your special signature.

Perfect accompaniments

Soups are light and healthy. They contain the goodness of real vegetables which are essential to your family. "Snacking on salads with a low calorie dip, fruits with skin, whole grains as in sprouts, whole wheat bread, high fibre, low sugar biscuits and soups thrown in are good sources of ready-to-eat snacks, which will provide the necessary fibre," says Dr Jyoti Prasad, chief dietician of Manipal Hospital, Bangalore

Children start having vegetables

Intake of vegetables being low among children these days, soups can be an interesting way to increase the vegetable consumption among children. Having a bowl of soup when you're just back home, makes you feel refreshed and alive. More importantly, they keep the family going till dinner, and do not kill their appetite for dinner — a pleasant change from the heavy, oily snacks that most of us consume in the evening.

A soup at the end of the day refreshes

In today's rushed day and age, families are on the go all the time. We rush at breakfast to catch the train / bus to work, and we grab a bite at lunch before getting back to work. It is true that in today's world, time has become a very precious commodity and people are trying to do many things in a very limited time. Hence, health has become the casualty and not enough attention is paid to important things like eating, exercising and listening to our bodies.

Eating does require some time, though not a very long time. "Eating in a hurry leads to several problems. It takes a minimum of 20 minutes for the brain to realise that we are full. So if a meal is finished in 10 minutes, you might overeat as the brain would not have sent out a signal indicating that you are full," says Dr Jyothi Prasad.

Why not savour a few moments, at home, with your family over a bowl of hot steaming soup. may be with your husband when he returns from work and with your kids when they return in the evening from play. The whole family sitting together, creates a bonding within the family members. It's an experience which makes you savour each sip, soothes your frayed nerves, provides you with better nutrition, and still allows your family to appreciate the excellent dinner you have prepared.

So start soups today - take the base soups, add water and cook them in a few minutes. Then let your imagination run wild - to capture the hearts of your family and yet keep them healthier.

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