Souper Bowl – Play Harder, Live Longer

Submitted By: Sue Linja, RDN, LD

It’s Super Bowl Sunday and the food preparation begins. What’s on your menu….nachos or kielbasa? Chicken wings or meatballs? Soup?

Although soup doesn’t often show up on a Super Bowl menu, perhaps it should. Some experts support consumption of high volume foods to help control hunger. High volume foods are items with more fluid content such as soup and stews. Barbara Roll, PhD, nutrition researcher and author of The Volumetrics Eating Plan, claims that people feel full because of the amount of food they eat, not the number of calories or grams of fat they consume. Her plan touts eating high volume, lower calorie foods including salads, whole fruits and soups to provide a feeling of fullness with less calories – ultimately resulting in weight loss.

Besides controlling hunger and keeping calories in check, soup may also help you live longer. Throughout the various cultures where large groups of people live into their second century, soup is often a staple. During our recent interview with the world-renowned Blue Zone Melis family from Sardinia, the oldest sister chanted to us, “Fagiolo, patata, fagiolo, patata….”, translating to “beans, potato, beans, potato”, the base of the soup their famous centenarian family ate every day of their lives. The soup would contain onion, garlic, beans, potatoes (sweet or any number of varieties) and whatever seasonal vegetables were available from the family garden. They might eat the soup for one or two meals a day. Additionally, a traditional Miso soup was commonly seen on the tables of centenarians interviewed in Japan and has been touted as being even better then the US traditional chicken noodle soup for what ails the body.

Including soup at your party table may help keep caloric consumption in line and help you see many super bowls to come. Super Bowl Sunday ranks #2 in the days of the year for overindulgence, right behind Thanksgiving. The average consumption of a Superbowl spectator this February is expected to be a whopping 4000 calories. This could equate to an added pound of body weight, especially if you are doing nothing but sitting on the couch for the day.

The ultimate comfort food, soup may not prevent rapid aging or cure the common cold, but it can pack a powerful nutritional punch. In addition to creating a feeling of fullness, soup is often a good way to increase fiber, vitamins, and minerals through the addition of vegetables and whole grains. Soup is easy to prepare, inexpensive and freezes well, making it a great food for busy families and the elderly.

Keep Your Bowl Healthy

Be Mindful of Sodium – Using soup bases, broths or consommé often adds unwanted sodium to your soup. Starting with a vegetable or meat stock made from fresh local foods helps to keep the sodium content low.

Add Superfoods – It’s easy to pack the pot with nutrients. Start with olive oil to sauté your onion then try adding dark greens, squash, beans and other dark colored vegetables and whole grains. Make a fish stew using vegetables and omega-3 rich salmon. You can even use ground flax as a thickener.

Trim the Fat – Cream soup without the cream? Why not? Try using lower fat milk, non-fat half and half or light sour cream for a lower calorie alternative. You can cut the fat and calories by more then 75% just by replacing the cream. If you like meat in your soup, use it sparingly as a flavor enhancer.

So, this Super Bowl Sunday, regardless of who wins, you can score some points and improve your health with one of these game winning recipes.

Spicy Bean, Sweet Potato and Kale Soup
The Centenarian Diet™

2 Tbsp Olive Oil 2 Cups Fava and/or White Beans, Cooked
1 Small Onion – Chopped 2 Cups Fresh Tomatoes – Chopped
3 Garlic Cloves – Minced 8 Cups Vegetable or Chicken Stock or Broth
3 Cups Kale – Chopped (Low Sodium for Salt Reduction)
2 Medium Sweet Potatoes – Cubed 1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
3 Cups Kale – Chopped Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Tbsp Fresh Oregano, Basil, Thyme (1 tsp if dried)
1/2 Cup Pecorino Romano Cheese – Finely Grated

In a soup pot, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil. Add remaining ingredients (except cheese) and bring to boil. Turn down heat and simmer until sweet potatoes are soft – about 30-40 minutes. Serve in bowls and garnish with 1 Tbs cheese. Excellent served with crusted bread.

Nutritional Value: 1-1/2 cup serving contains approximately 180 calories, 8 grams total fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 260-700 mg sodium (based on stock used and salt added), 9 grams fiber

Buffalo Chicken Soup

1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion – Diced
2 Garlic Cloves – Minced
3 Tbsp Ranch Seasoning
8 Cups Vegetable of Choice – Celery, Carrots, Cauliflower – Finely Chopped
2 Cups Cooked Cubed or Shredded Chicken (Rotisserie or BBQ works well)
8 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth or Stock
1 Cup Hot Sauce (Frank’s or your favorite – use less if you like less spice)
Garnish: Chopped Green Onions, Cilantro and Blue Cheese Crumbles

In a soup pot, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil. Add chopped vegetables and cook over medium heat until slightly tender. Add remaining ingredients and bring to boil. Cook on low heat for 20-30 minutes. May add fat free sour cream to thicken or make into a cream soup. Serve hot in bowls – garnish with blue cheese, cilantro and green onions (optional)

Nutritional Value: 1-1/2 cup serving contains approximately 140 calories, 5 grams total fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 400-800 mg sodium (based on stock and hot sauce used), 3 grams fiber

3 thoughts on “Souper Bowl – Play Harder, Live Longer

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