We’ve all probably consumed store-bought soup at some stage, but nothing quite compares to a homemade soup. By learning how to make a healthy soup, you control all the ingredients, from choosing your favourite fruit and vegetables, to regulating how much sugar, salt and fat is added to the soup. Yes, in some instances, store-bought soups can be tasty; however, I challenge you to find one that meets the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of salt. Some soups contain as much as 50% of your RDA of salt.

In addition to that, they rarely provide you with 1 of your 5 a day of fruit or vegetables, and they are often lacking in macronutrients or micronutrients, meaning you shouldn’t be surprised if your stomach starts rumbling an hour later. What they will offer is a list of ingredients as long as your arm that you either can’t pronounce or have never heard of before.

After reading this article, the art of making a tasty, healthy soup that incorporates 1 of your 5 a day of fruit and vegetables, protein to keep you full and healthy fats will be in the realm of your control. So whether you like your soup hearty and chunky, or smooth, you’ll uncover ingredients and flavourings to make it a filling meal that will have your taste buds watering.

How to make a healthy soup - carrot, sweet potato orange soup in bowl

To get an understanding of the type of soup that you would like to make, below are some questions to ask yourself before you proceed:

  • Do you like thick or thin soup?
  • Do you want smooth or chunky soup?
  • Will the soup be your meal or just a side to other foods?
  • How filling do you want your soup to be?
  • What size portions and how many servings do you want to make?
  • Will you be concerned about protein, fat, carbohydrates or calories?
  • Do you want a soup that acts as good post-workout food to help you recover from a workout?
  • What equipment do you have to make the soup?
  • If you want smooth soup, do you have a blender or food processor?

How to make a healthy soup - Beef and vegetable stew in bowl

Protein

Meat:

  • Bacon
  • Beef pieces
  • Chicken breast
  • Steak mince
  • Ham pieces
  • Turkey pieces

Fish:

  • Cod fillet
  • Haddock
  • Prawns
  • Salmon fillet
  • Sea bass

Tip: Seafood chowder may sound healthy, but it is a cream-based meal that can contain high proportions of fat.

Plant-based:

  • Kidney beans
  • Lentils
  • Pinto beans
  • Quorn
  • Soybeans
  • Split peas
  • Tofu cubes

Tip: Compliment bean-based soups with Ezekiel bread to achieve a complete source of protein.

How to make a healthy soup - Beef stew served in pot

Fat

  • Avocado soup: Chilled avocado soup is an ideal dish in the summertime.
  • Coconut milk: Opt for low fat versions if you’re trying to reduce calories.
  • Olive oil: A drizzle over the top of the soup adds a finishing touch to the appearance.
  • Peanuts: Goes supremely well with curried sweet potato soup.

How to make a healthy soup - Chilli carrot soup in a bowl on a table

Carbohydrates

Fruit:

  • Apple: Have you ever heard of apple and leek soup or apple and butternut squash soup?
  • Pear: Apple and pear soup combined with a touch of fresh ginger will certainly get your taste buds tingling.
  • Tomato: The old reliable tomato and basil is often a popular and healthy choice.

Vegetables:

  • Broccoli
  • Butternut squash
  • Cabbage
  • Carrot
  • Cauliflower
  • Leek
  • Mushroom
  • Onion
  • Peas
  • Potato
  • Pumpkin
  • Sweet potato

I opt for my hand blender as my weapon of choice when I’m whisking up my homemade soup. Whiz through your ingredients with the Russell Hobbs Food Collection Hand Blender. In minutes, you’ll have effortlessly blended your soup with this Amazon Choice best seller! A blender is a must-have for any kitchen.

Russell Hobbs Food Collection Hand Blender

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This has no impact on you as a consumer if you choose to purchase any of these products, but I may earn for my efforts in reviewing these products.

How to make a healthy soup - Mushroom soup garnished with cream and mushrooms in a cup

Flavourings

Healthy soup doesn’t have to be bland. In some cases, the aromataic ingredients will provide sufficient flavour on their own, such as onion and carrots. But when you need to add an extra bit of kick to your meal, try these flavourings out.

  • Basil
  • Bay leaf
  • Coriander
  • Mixed herbs
  • Thyme
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Cumin
  • Chili flakes
  • Curry powder
  • Pepper
  • Lemon juice
  • Vinegar

Take caution when seasoning your meal with salt, soy sauce and worchester sauce as these contribute to increased sodium in your meal.

Tip: Thinning your soup with too much water can dilute the flavour and make it blander. Always be careful to add small quantities of water. Remember you can always add more but you can’t take it out. If you do find the soup has gone bland, you can always add a bit more of the above flavourings.

Foods to avoid

Eliminating or reducing the quantity of the below ingredients can provide a healthier soup which is lower in fat, salt, sugar and calories in general.

A good technique to apply if your soup looks oily or greasy is to skim the visible fat from the top of the liquid. You can achieve this by using a ladle or even blotting the soup with white bread, which is an excellent absorbent.

Additionally, if you’re in a restaurant or purchasing soup, avoid soups with ‘cream of’ in the title as they contain higher fat and calories than the soups that don’t have cream, e.g. vegetable soup.

Protein:

  • Meat: Fatty cuts of meat or meats with visible fat or skin: Eliminate it, swap it for <5% ground meat or remove the skin.
  • Processed meats: Often contain lower levels of protein and higher levels of saturated fat than less processed meat sources, e.g. sausages.
  • Milk: Eliminate it, reduce the quantity or swap it for low-fat or skimmed milk.

Fat:

  • Butter: Eliminate it, reduce the quantity or swap it for half-fat butter.
  • Cheese: Eliminate it, reduce the quantity or swap it for half-fat cheese.
  • Coconut milk: Eliminate it, reduce the quantity or swap it for reduced-fat coconut milk.
  • Full-fat cream: Eliminate it, reduce the quantity or swap it for half-fat cream.
  • Oil: Eliminate it or reduce the quantity.
  • Peanut butter: From a calorie and fat perspective, it can be rather high.
  • Sour cream: Eliminate it, reduce the quantity or swap it for half-fat cream or low fat yoghurt.

Tip: If your soup looks greasy, add a couple of ice cubes or a lettuce leaf into the soup and the fat will stick to them. Remove the ice cubes before they melt and remove the lettuce after 1 – 2 minutes.

Carbohydrates:

  • Canned vegetables: Can be loaded with salt and preservatives.
  • Croutons: High in calories, fat and salt, and they don’t offer much valuable nutrition.
  • Dumplings: Can be high in calories with limited nutritional value.
  • Juice: Juice tends to be high in sugar.
  • Refined grains, e.g. white bread, white flour, white rice. Eliminate or swap for brown bread, brown flour or brown rice.
  • Sugar: Eliminate it or reduce the quantity.

How to make a healthy soup - croutons in ceramic bowlJar

Salt:

  • Broths: Eliminate it, reduce the quantity or swap it for reduced-salt broth.
  • Salt: Eliminate it, reduce the quantity or swap it for herbs, spices or reduced-sodium salt.
  • Sauces: Eliminate it, reduce the quantity or swap sauces high in salt for lower salt alternatives, e.g. swap ketchup for passata, worchester sauce and soy sauce for reduced-sodium versions.
  • Stock cubes: Eliminate it, reduce the quantity or swap it for reduced-salt stock cubes.

Did you know? A 100ml serving of a prepared stock cube can provide as much as 16% of your recommended daily allowance of salt.

Miscellaneous:

  • Monosodium glutamate, better known as MSG
  • Artificial colourings
  • Artificial flavourings
  • Preservatives

How to make a healthy soup - Knorr stock cubes on a table

Summary

  • Soups can come in a variety of forms including thick, think, smooth and chunky
  • Healthy sources of protein include lean cuts of meat, fish
  • Peas, beans and lentils all comprise good sources of non-meat protein sources
  • Homemade soup is often healthier than store-bought soup
  • Eliminating certain ingredients can significantly reduce calories, fat and salt
  • Caution should be taken when seasoning food with salt, soy sauce and worchester sauce

Now that you know all the healthy ingredients to incorporate into a soup, why not make life in the kitchen easier and more efficient with healthy eating kitchen gadgets – small utensils. These gadgets are guaranteed to make life in the kitchen a breeze and are particularly useful when it comes to making soup from scratch. Say goodbye to lumpy soup and minimise the ordeal of peeling vegetables!

What are your favourite types of soup? Do you purchase soup or make your own? Have you any tips or food combinations that you think go well with soups or broths? As always, I’d love to hear your comments and feedback on the article in the comments section below.

How to make a healthy soup - Broth soup in a bowl

Sources

Clancy, J., 2011. 7 Tips For Full Flavoured Soup Without Stock | Stonesoup. [online] Stonesoup. Available at: https://thestonesoup.com/blog/2011/01/17/introducing-soupstones-7-tips-for-full-flavoured-soups-without-using-stock-5-ingredients-10-minutes/  [Accessed 18 July 2020].

Kurr, K., 2020. Removing Fat From Soup, Stew, Chili, And Even Spaghetti Meat Sauce. [online] No Time 2 Cook. Available at: https://www.notime2cook.com/removingfatfromsoup/  [Accessed 17 July 2020].

Smith, D., 2018. The 20 Worst Soup Ingredients For Weight Loss | Eat This, Not That!. [online] Eat This Not That. Available at: https://www.eatthis.com/worst-soup-ingredients/ [Accessed 17 July 2020].

Tesco.ie. 2020. [online] Available at: https://www.tesco.ie [Accessed 17 July 2020].

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12 Comments

  • Amy Smith · 19/07/2020 at 2:41 PM

    I love the idea of making my own soup and I can’t believe that a tin of soup could contain 50% of my RDA of salt that in itself is enough to pt you off buying it.
    I really love your tip with the ice cube or lettuce leaf for skimming off excess fat, this is genius!
    Another great post!

      Sharon · 20/07/2020 at 7:54 PM

      Hi Amy,

      It is shocking, especially because they don’t exactly taste all that salty! Maybe if you’re making soup, you can try out the tip and see if it works.

      Thanks for your comment and feedback!

      Sharon

    Alyse · 21/07/2020 at 2:26 AM

    Yum! Thanks for all these great healthy tips in your article How to make a healthy soup. I can’t wait to make soup! My favorite is fish stew. Do you have a recipe for fish stew?

    Krista · 21/07/2020 at 2:49 AM

    I love making my own soup! The flavor always is so much better. Thanks for good writing, and that tip is interesting. I will have to try it out when I make soup again. Very informative.

      Sharon · 21/07/2020 at 6:26 PM

      Hello,

      Welcome to the site and thank you for your kind words. I’m glad you found some inspiration and learned how to make a healthy soup! I hope the tips work out for you as well.

      If there’s anything I can help you with, don’t hesitate to reach out!

      Best wishes,
      Sharon

    Teresa · 21/07/2020 at 4:52 AM

    Wow, you really give me a lot to think about when it comes to soup. I do wonder
    something. We dined at a restaurant that serves Consomme prior to the meal.
    What is the difference between Consomme and broth?
    I have never considered adding apple or pear to my soup. That’s interesting.
    I tend to prefer a filling soup for a meal. I have a really good baked potato soup recipe.
    I make it more in the winter. It’s so good!

      Sharon · 21/07/2020 at 7:45 PM

      Hi Teresa,

      Broth is the liquid produced after simmering ingredients (vegetables, meat etc.) for a long period of time. Consomme is broth that has been clarified in order to remove impurities from it. So consomme could be considered superior to regular broth. I hope I’m explaining it clearly?

      Soup is ideal for cold evenings or winter days. Baked potato soup sounds delicious.

      Thanks for your comment,
      Sharon

    Dana · 21/07/2020 at 2:16 PM

    I’ve never tried to make homemade soup. You give some real good ideas to try out. And you’re right, when you make your own you can control the amount of salt in it. Canned soups are always too salty for me…always have to water it down.

    It’s a rainy, gloomy day today…I will try to make soup today for my family to try. Hope they like it!

    A ekufaa · 21/07/2020 at 5:49 PM

    Well…well… well… now I want some soup Sharon! I make my own soup all the time. Sometimes it turns out thick and I will use your tip on adding small quantities of water carefully to get the mixture right. Thanks for this interesting post.

      Sharon · 21/07/2020 at 7:49 PM

      Hi there,

      Soup isn’t the worst food to crave, so I may have steered you away from unhealthy foods (you’re welcome hehe). I hope the article was of use to you and you found some options to try, there are so many soups to make when you look into it.

      Thanks for your comment,
      Sharon

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