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Losing weight can be challenging because diets can be boring or require you to cook complicated meals. Including soups on your weight-loss diet expands your options, and they are easy to make in large batches ahead of time so that you do not have to spend long hours in the kitchen when you are busy with other things. Have soup for lunch or dinner with a salad, or serve yourself a bowl for an afternoon snack.
Control Your Calories with Clear Soups
Eating too many calories will prevent you from losing weight, so the best soups for weight loss are low in calories. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests choosing broth-based or bouillon-based soups to keep your calories in check 1. Soups with cream or cheese, such as cream of chicken soup, corn or clam chowder and broccoli cheese soup, can be high in calories and poor choices when you are trying to lose weight. You can thicken your soup without adding many calories by mixing in pureed pumpkin or cooked winter squash.
- Eating too many calories will prevent you from losing weight, so the best soups for weight loss are low in calories.
Fill Up on Fiber
List of Protein-Rich Leafy Vegetables
The best soups for losing weight are high in fiber because dietary fiber has a satiating effect that can help you eat less. Beans and vegetables are high-fiber options that you can add to soup without a large jump in calories. One-half cup of mixed vegetables contains only 59 calories and provides 4 grams of fiber, or 16 percent of the daily value based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Make a mixed cabbage soup with beans, tomato soup with bell peppers or chicken soup with cauliflower and green beans.
- The best soups for losing weight are high in fiber because dietary fiber has a satiating effect that can help you eat less.
Delay Hunger With Protein
Protein slows the emptying of food from the stomach so that you stay full for longer after your meal than you would after a meal without much protein. Lean proteins are best bet for weight loss. Try an Asian-inspired shrimp soup with snow peas, bok choy and mushrooms, or add leftover cooked lean ground turkey to spinach, tomato and basil soup. Tofu and cooked chicken breast and fish are other lean protein options that you can add to soups on a weight-loss diet. Avoid fatty meats, such as fatty cuts of beef, because they are higher in calories and less likely to help you lose weight.
- Protein slows the emptying of food from the stomach so that you stay full for longer after your meal than you would after a meal without much protein.
- Tofu and cooked chicken breast and fish are other lean protein options that you can add to soups on a weight-loss diet.
Pea Soup Diet
Eat soup instead of higher-calorie dishes in order to lose weight. Also, be careful not to inadvertently up the calorie count with additions such as croutons, soup crackers or full-fat cheese. Sodium does not add calories or affect your weight loss, but a high-sodium diet can contribute to higher blood pressure and an increased risk for heart disease, stroke and kidney disease, according to the publication "Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010." Choose low-sodium soup, or make your soup with low-sodium broth.
- Eat soup instead of higher-calorie dishes in order to lose weight.
- Also, be careful not to inadvertently up the calorie count with additions such as croutons, soup crackers or full-fat cheese.
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- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Eat More, Weigh Less?
- U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010
- Kuroda M, Ohta M, Okufuji T, et al. Frequency of soup intake is inversely associated with body mass index, waist circumference, and waist-to-hip ratio, but not with other metabolic risk factors in Japanese men. J Am Diet Assoc. 2011;111(1):137-42. doi:10.1016/j.jada.2010.10.004
- Zhu Y, Hollis JH. Soup consumption is associated with a reduced risk of overweight and obesity but not metabolic syndrome in US adults: NHANES 2003-2006. PLoS One. 2013;8(9):e75630. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0075630
- Wright N, Wilson L, Smith M, Duncan B, Mchugh P. The BROAD study: A randomised controlled trial using a whole food plant-based diet in the community for obesity, ischaemic heart disease or diabetes. Nutr Diabetes. 2017;7(3):e256. doi:10.1038/nutd.2017.3
- Pan A, Hu F. Effects of carbohydrates on satiety: Differences between liquid and solid food. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2011;14(4):385-390. doi:10.1097/mco.0b013e328346df36
Natalie Stein specializes in weight loss and sports nutrition. She is based in Los Angeles and is an assistant professor with the Program for Public Health at Michigan State University. Stein holds a master of science degree in nutrition and a master of public health degree from Michigan State University.