Nobody wants piping hot soup on the steamiest days, but a chilled bowl of soup on a hot summer’s day can be a refreshing treat. Cold soup may also help control your appetite, with the happy side effect of supporting your weight-loss goals.
Research shows when people begin a meal by eating low-calorie soup, they feel fuller and eat 20% fewer calories during the remainder of the meal. If you make it a habit to begin your meals with broth-forward soups, you may lose weight over time.
“Hot and cold soups are equally effective in this regard,” says study author Dr. Barbara Rolls, professor and director of the Laboratory for the Study of Human Ingestive Behavior at Penn State University — so you can feel good about eating soup year-round.
The most common cold soup recipes contain pureed or chunky vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and beets (Think: gazpacho or borscht). Fruit-based cold soups are often purees, as well. These soups are hydrating, helping you avoid confusing hunger with thirst.
Moreover, because entire fruits and vegetables are typically chopped or thrown into the blender, cold soup tends to be low in calories and high in fiber, which can help you feel full sooner. “It is the low-calorie density rather than the temperature that can enhance how full you feel after eating a big first course of soup,” says Rolls. “Other low-calorie density foods such as salads and apples have also been shown to reduce meal intake in our studies,” she notes.
When soup is made almost entirely from fresh produce, you’ll consume ample vitamins, minerals and antioxidants with each serving. “Gazpacho is a delicious and unique soup, rich with the flavors of tomato, cucumber, red pepper, red onion and garlic, with a twist of vinegar,” says Dr. William Li, author of “Eat To Beat Disease.” “Each of these ingredients is packed with natural chemicals called bioactives that can activate the body’s health defense systems improving circulation, protecting against DNA damage, and building immunity.”
During the peak of summer, the fresh produce you get from the supermarket, farmers market or your backyard garden is brimming with flavor, so you won’t need to add extra less-nutritious ingredients to make your soup tasty. “Raw fruits and vegetables have a unique crisp and pure flavor that can be enjoyed without adding cream, salt or sugar,” says Li. “When possible, start with the whole food and manipulate only when necessary or if the recipe calls for it.”
You can follow a recipe (like this delicious lime gazpacho), but you can also experiment with ingredients you like to create a chilled soup that speaks to you. Many people use tomatoes as the soup base because they’re juicy, but you can also use broth, whether store-bought or homemade. (Seek low-sodium varieties if you choose store-bought broth.)
“You can also use a stock made from your leftover vegetables, fish or chicken that is chilled in the refrigerator and then add ingredients to it,” says Li. This is a great budget-friendly option that reduces food waste.
If you enjoy sweetness, a ripe melon can be the base of fruit soup. To create a creamier texture, consider using plain Greek yogurt as a base, rather than cream. Yogurt pairs well with a number of fruit soups, chilled cucumber soup and even some other veggie-based soups. “It adds satiating protein and fewer calories,” notes Rolls. Other ways to add protein include making a chilled cucumber, avocado and shrimp soup, or if you prefer meat-free options, consider adding some beans to your bowl. “Legumes are a good choice, as they add not only protein but also fiber,” says Li.
Try this no-cook recipe, which is simple to make but contains complex flavors:
“Take large ripe tomatoes, chop them into quarters and add some basil leaves, a little balsamic vinegar, a drizzle of honey and let sit in a bowl for a few hours to marinate,” Li says. “Puree into a blender until smooth and serve with a dollop of yogurt.”
Discover hundreds of healthy recipes — from high protein to low carb — via “Recipe Discovery” in the MyFitnessPal app. Save your favorites and log directly to your diary.