We’re in for a chilly winter. At least, that’s what is being predicted in this year’s “Old Farmer’s Almanac.” The newest edition of the 230-year-old series projects the 2021-22 winter as a particularly cold one, dubbing it the “season of shivers,” and says it could even be “one of the longest and coldest that we’ve seen in years.”
If you believe the Almanac or not, there are colder temperatures approaching for both Fall and Winter, and before making your way through the possible long, cold temperatures ahead, it’s time to think about putting more soups in your diet! Eating steaming hot soups and stews can keep you and your family warm and toasty. Soup not only takes the bite out of a frosty night, it’s also a fuss-free way to get dinner done quickly.
Here are great reasons to be making soups:
- They’re good for you. While some soups can devastate a diet (cream-based varieties can be particularly high in fat and calories), most serve as a great vehicle to meet your daily quota for veggies. View soups as an opportunity to cash in on nature’s bounty (winter crops, including pumpkin, butternut squash, carrots and parsnips, won’t wilt or get limp when you cook them). If you have produce that’s about to pass its prime, tossing them into a soup recipe can give them new life. You can even drop frozen vegetables into boiling broth without compromising taste or texture.
- They’re inexpensive and easy to prepare. Soups and stews don’t require a large amount of hands-on time. In fact, if you use a slow cooker or a pressure cooker like the Instant Pot, you can prepare a savory soup in five minutes flat, and let the cooker do the rest of the work. If you amp up the liquid and vegetables, you can use smaller amounts of expensive ingredients, such as chicken, fish and beef. Then, make it a meal with whole-grain bread on the side and a small salad if you like. Also, you can make soups out of leftovers to avoid waste…I make soups from left-over steak (we have a recipe for that here), baked potatoes, roasted vegetables and more. I even make soups out of left-over Chinese vegetables.
- They freeze well. Soup and stews are great if you want to meal prep lunches or dinners in advance. Whip up a batch on the weekend, and you can stash half in the freezer to enjoy later.
- They keep you hydrated. During the winter chill, it’s not uncommon to drink less than you need. But while you may not be hot and sweaty, you still lose fluid through daily activities. Since soups are mostly liquid, they’re a great way to stay hydrated and full.
- They give your immune system a boost. Soups can help you stave off cold and flu, and they’re a great antidote for times when you are sick, too! Most soups are loaded with disease-fighting nutrients. In fact, studies show that chicken soup in particular can help prevent the common cold, especially if you load it up with fresh garlic, onions, celery and carrots. (They all contain powerful immune-boosting chemicals.) Plus, the hot liquid helps soothe a sore throat.
Of course, I add Midwest Mermaid Muse’s Land & SEAsoning to soups, stews and chili (especially with my new Caribe/Mexican blend). I either add it with other seasonings, or sprinkle some on when serving – doing so adds flavor and turns up the volume on nutrition!
Here’s a great article about several healthy soups you can make from the food and nutrition experts at EatingWell. Enjoy!
Sources: Henry Ford Live Well, Eating Well, 2021 Old Farmer’s Almanac