Adventures in Healthy Eating: Soup!

O you who have believed, eat from the good things which We have provided for you… Holy Quran 2:172

If you follow Mommy Muslim then you know that I struggle with getting my kids to eat healthy food. I also struggle with eating healthy. Sometimes we do great and then other times, not so much. But as fall approaches, I know I can turn to a great healthy option, soup. Soup is a wonderful way to sneak in many healthy vegetables. This is great for my daughter who asks me when I serve multiple veggies; “Should I pick the vegetable I want?” She is convinced that a complete meal consists of just one vegetable.


Isn’t Raw food better for you?


According to Wikipedia: “Raw foodism, also known as rawism or following a raw food diet, is the dietary practice of eating only or mostly food that is uncooked and unprocessed.” Raw food enthusiasts believe that eating vegetables raw is healthier. Raw foods allow the body to consume all of the nutrients of the food. Nutrients that might otherwise be lost during cooking. However the Centers for Disease Control states on their website that: “…sometimes raw fruits and vegetables contain harmful germs that can make you and your family sick, such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria. CDC estimates that germs on fresh produce cause a large percentage of U.S. foodborne illnesses. The safest produce is cooked; the next safest is washed.” Some nutritionists also believe that eating some foods raw makes them harder for the body to process. Cooking also increases the antioxidant content of some foods. Foods like asparagus, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, legumes and potatoes are all better cooked. While foods like broccoli, onions, garlic and cabbage are better for you raw or cooked only minimally.


Any vegetables are better than no vegetables.


No matter where you stand on the raw vs cooked spectrum, you would probably agree that any veggies are better than none. I would love to see my kids eat a plateful of vegetables every day. But it doesn’t work out that way. They have their go-to-vegetables that they prefer. Broccoli, string beans, spinach, and corn are the only veggies that all three love. Any other vegetable, excluding salad greens, is going to leave someone unhappy. Usually two out of three will hate it! My goal at all times is to get them to expand their veggie palate.


Soup to the resuce!


When cool weather approaches, I turn to soup as a healthy alternative. Soup allows me to combine vegetables in a tasty mix that is generally appealing to them. It gives them the chance to eat a wider variety per serving. This means that, although it may have less nutritional value than its raw counterpart, they are eating more of it. Soup also retains some of the vitamins that are lost during the boiling process. (When we boil vegetables some vitamins can leach into the water. Typically we pour the nutrient rich water down the drain!) During the cooler months warm soup also acts as a comfort food.


Soup as medicine.


We have all heard of the folk remedy, take chicken noodle soup for a cold. Health experts believe that this soup actually does help!. The soup thins mucus, decongests, and has mild anti-inflammatory properties. A lemon rice soup with a little celery and spinach can give a boost of vitamin C. According to some studies; the ingredients ginger and garlic are anti-viral and anti-inflammatory. Mixing fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, sage and basil are easy ways to boost your soup’s anti-oxidant content.


But my kids don’t like soups with vegetables.


The beauty of soup is that you can hide the taste of the veggies with your soup base. My soups usually have one of three bases. The first base is a tomato base. This was my go-to base for a long time. The tomato covers a lot of complimentary tastes very well. And you can hide your vegetables by blending them into a broth that you mix into the base. String beans, carrots, spinach, and broccoli all mix very well into a tomato base. My good friend Zainab introduced me to the cream base. This base relies on heavy whipping cream, milk, coconut milk, butter, etc. This base mixes well with spinach, corn, potatoes, broccoli, and asparagus. My third base is a meat based broth. This is where I use my chicken or lamb stock to make a soup. Sometimes the meat is included, for example in lamb stew or chicken noodle soup. Sometimes I use the broth to make a vegetable soup. You can blend a soup as long as it doesn’t have any bones. This works well for children who are resistant to having a bowl of soup with visible chunks of vegetables. These kids enjoy slurping soup down from a mug.


Conclusion:


With fall approaching we could all use a healthy boost from our favorite comfort foods. When we cook these foods for our children we are serving them foods that will comfort and nourish them for a lifetime. May your soup be full of love, health and blessings – Ameen.


Be sure to share your favorite soup recipe in the comments or join the conversation at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/701687213752206
Pick up your copy of my blank recipe book, perfect for recording your favorite recipes. The book is divided by sections. The “Appetizers and Salads” section is the perfect place to save your delicious soup recipe! https://amzn.to/2SbsbxG

    


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