I don’t know about you, but winter is the hardest time for me to maintain or lose weight. When it’s cold I’m like a bear! I want to eat and eat a lot…and I want it HOT! I don’t want a salad, or veggies and protein….I want good, stick to your ribs food! Problem is, that kind of food is usually high in fat and calories. If you’re from the South like me that means lots of gravy and stuff…smothered everything! When I was younger and my metabolism was through the roof, I could eat like that all day and it didn’t bother me. But now I can just look at it and gain 5 pounds and 2 inches! Any body feel my pain?
I’ve found that broth-based soups can fill the gap. They are hot and hardy and can be prepared in so many different ways you won’t get bored. The key here, as always, is to watch what you put in. Potatoes are okay but not too many. If I’m trying to lose weight, I generally leave the potatoes out completely until I’ve met my goal. Salt is usually the biggest enemy with broth soups. Fortunately there are many low sodium options on the store shelves today OR you can make your own! It’s super easy and I’ll show you how later.
Veggies are your friend in broth-based soups. The sky is the limit! So go crazy…add as many as you want!
Herbs and spices are some other friends to have with these soups. Again, the sky’s the limit. Want to go more Mediterranean? Basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, saffron are all good choices. Want a little cajun flavor? Red pepper is the thing to have. Spices I always have on hand are garlic powder and onion powder…these two go in everything…and I mean EVERYTHING I cook…except maybe eggs! LOL!
My Vegetable Soup (above) is quick and easy. Packed full of flavor and nutrition! I used chicken stock, carrots, bell pepper, tomato, zucchini, cabbage, onions, celery, garlic, and Italian herb seasoning. You can add a little salt to taste if needed.
Put it all together in a pot and bring it to a boil. Let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are just tender. If over cooked, the vegetables lose most of their nutrition.
And that’s it! If you want some meat, you can add chicken. You can also use beef broth and add beef to change the flavor entirely. Or how about beans? Packed with protein and vitamins, they are a great alternative to meat if you are concerned about that. Pinto, black beans, lentils and great northern are all good choices. There are many, many more. Check out your local grocery to see all the choices!
Now about that broth. What I generally do is I’ll get a whole chicken and cut it up and put everything in a big pot, cover with water and bring it to a boil. There will be a foam that can develop on the top so skim that off, then add your seasonings. I use garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper but you can experiment and season to your taste. Simmer for about 30 minutes, remove chicken and set aside to cool. I de-bone mine and freeze what I don’t use right away. I like to put the broth in the refrigerator for a while after its cooled to harden up all that fat so I can skim it off and throw it away! For beef broth, you do it the same way, but just use beef. For vegetable broth you can do the same but I let mine cook a bit longer to let the vegetables really be able to infuse the water. Then you can poor it into plastic containers or gallon size bags and freeze it. And that’s it! You can use the broth in lots of different recipes, not just soup. So keep it on hand!
Broth soups are a great way to keep yourself warm while not packing on the pounds during these cold winter months. What are some of your favorites? I’d love for you to share your recipes. Happy cooking!