By Mary Lynne Hixson, MA, RD
Last fall the Med approach series reached the pyramid’s foundation: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, beans/lentils, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices - Base every meal on these foods. (https://oldwayspt.org). This month features vegetables looking into a bowl of soup.
Nine out of 10 Americans fall short on meeting vegetables’ guidance of 2-3 cups daily. Why a worry? Vegetables - an integral part of the Mediterranean way of eating - are nutritional powerhouses of fiber, antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals that promote health and prevent chronic diseases. (www.dietaryguidelines.gov) For what counts as a cup of vegetables, go to https://www.myplate.gov/eat-healthy/vegetables.
Where are vegetables most often found? Forty-five percent of consumed vegetables are a separate meal item. Forty percent come in mixed dishes. Soups, an easy strategy for increasing vegetable intake, are a warm welcomed meal on cold days.
Soup as a meal-in-a-bowl is ideally a combination of generous vegetables (including legumes), a protein (meat, fish, poultry, legumes) and a carb (rice, pasta, quinoa) in a liquid (broth, water); plus, seasonings.
Hearty, chunky soups are actually possible without a recipe. Soups are a perfect strategy to avoid food waste by using leftovers.
Ready-made canned and packaged soups can be “enriched or upgraded” with leftover vegetables, frozen vegetable mixes, a carb and a protein to make them meal worthy. An idea for transforming canned tomato soup into a meal is available at: https://www.epicurious.com/expert-advice/10-simple-ways-to-improve-canned-tomato-soup-article.
My no-recipe method for a quick-scratch chicken soup:
Remember to choose Med approach ingredients when preparing homemade soups and purchasing ready-made chunky soups: vegetables, whole grain pasta, brown rice, quinoa, olive oil, legumes, chicken, fish, herbs.
About Mary Lynne Hixson, MA, RD:
Mary Lynne, a registered dietitian, helps others enhance their health through the advocacy of nutrient-rich food choices and safe food-handling practices. Her expertise also includes counseling patients who have Type 2 diabetes and advising those who are in medically managed weight loss programs. After her 35+ year career, she retired and became involved with the launch of Harvest of Hope Pantry in 2012 as a Board of Directors member. Mary Lynne is a weekly volunteer with Cultivate’s Carry-Out Caravan program, shopping and delivering groceries to seniors in the Boulder area, and also a frequent volunteer with Harvest of Hope.
Help seniors flourish by reconnecting them—as recipients and contributors—with their surrounding communities.