Fall is here, but you don’t have to fall behind on your diet goals.
Savory soups of the season can be your secret weapon when it comes to weight loss. Stews, purees, bisques — these meals in a bowl can help you moderate portion sizes while giving you a big dose of vegetables.
Seasonal soups are heavy in volume, but light in calories. They fill you up, while also providing the nutrients you need — that’s the trick combo to maintainable weight loss known as Volumetrics, pioneered by Barbara Rolls, the Helen A. Guthrie Chair of Nutritional Sciences and professor at Pennsylvania State University.
Rolls, author of “The Volumetrics Weight Control Plan,” explained why soups are so effective.
“Binding the water into the food makes a big difference to how the body handles it,” she told LifeZette.
So why wouldn’t a glass of water by itself work? Water by itself empties from the stomach rapidly, while water in food — think watermelon, or soup — digests much more slowly.
Rolls did one study that divided participants into groups that ate chicken casserole, chicken casserole with a glass of water, and chicken casserole with enough water added to make it into a soup. Those who consumed the soup ate 100 fewer calories in their meal, which is enough to shift 10 pounds in one year.
Those who consumed the soup ate 100 fewer calories in their meal, which is enough to shift 10 pounds in one year.
Rolls said that water from a glass satiates thirst, while water consumed within a meal, like in a soup, is metabolized like food.
The casserole by itself looked like a small amount of food, while the soup looked like a larger portion, which also contributed to the participants eating fewer calories.
“Satiety is a sequence,” Rolls said, “starting with your olfaction.”
And if your nose, eyes, and mouth tell you that you’re eating a large portion, you’ll be inclined to believe them and feel full sooner.
So choosing soup as your main course may mean that you consume fewer calories per meal. The best choice of soup is usually a broth-based mixture that is heavy on vegetables.
Examples include minestrone, rich in legumes, spinach, and zucchini; roasted vegetable soups, with gingered carrot or roasted butternut squash; and your classic chicken noodle soup. Just keep it heavy on vegetables like carrots and celery.
Don’t be afraid of adding some healthy fats either. Low-fat and nonfat diets were all the rage in the 1990s. We’re a little smarter about our nutrition now. Adding a small amount of healthy fat to your meals can actually help your body burn fat. Fats are essential for helping your body absorb certain nutrients. Finally, healthy fats make for more filling and tasty meals.
Lean toward healthier fats — olive oil, nuts, and fish. Try our Steamy Salmon Chowder below for a delicious way to incorporate both vegetables and nutritional fats.
Note: This recipe uses extra-virgin olive oil as a fat source, which has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer.