Now that cooler fall temperatures have finally arrived, many families have begun to serve more soups and stews at mealtime. These one-pot favorites can be part of a healthy meal plan when prepared with less fat and salt. Soups and chili tend to be high in sodium if prepared with canned ingredients or pre-packaged mixes. Ground beef and stew meat can add saturated fat and calories.
Try these tips to serve a healthy version of your traditional recipes:
- Use lean protein such as chicken, turkey, seafood, or extra lean ground beef.
- Trim fat from meat before browning, and drain cooked meat well to remove fat before adding other ingredients.
- If time permits, allow soups to cool without stirring so excess fat can be skimmed from the top surface of the dish.
- Add extra vegetables, including beans, to soups and chili to increase fiber content and reduce calories.
- Use fresh or frozen vegetables or no-salt added canned products to lower sodium content.
- Whole-grains such as barley and brown rice or whole-wheat pastas can be a delicious addition to many recipes.
- Serve broth based soups more often. Cream based soups or those prepared with canned cream soups can be higher in fat and calories.
- For gumbo, use fat-free roux. Brown all-purpose flour in a 400 degree oven, stirring every 15 minutes until flour has reached desired brownness.
- After dinner, leftover soup should be refrigerated promptly to prevent food borne illness. Pour soup into a shallow container. Soup refrigerated in a deep soup pot may not cool quickly enough to stop bacteria growth. Reheat soups to boiling before serving.
For more information about preparing nutritious family meals, visit ChooseMyPlate.gov or the LSU AgCenter website.
Danna Gillett is the Family and Consumer Sciences Agent for Richland Parish. News article published in The Richland Beacon and in the Delhi Dispatch.