Often overlooked, soup can be an excellent source of nutrients, hydration, and comfort as part of a regular healthy diet. Many people only think of soup as sustenance when they are sick, as they turn to the healing powers of chicken noodle soup which is an age old classic.
Hot Soup for Cold Weather Comfort
When the colder weather approaches we often crave the warmth and comfort of consoling foods like soup. Many of us find ourselves experiencing a shift in the foods we are in the mood for as harsh weather conditions begin to creep in.
In contrast to the light flavours of summer, with the onslaught of snow, ice, and biting winds we generally want to eat meals that make us feel cozy and comfortable. There are so many wonderful reasons why soup is great for the body, and seniors can benefit in multiple ways by including a variety of delicious soups into their regular diets.
Soup is Great Anytime, Anywhere
Soup is a nourishing meal all year round, but can be especially satisfying on chilly days. When structuring and planning meals for seniors, there are various factors to consider. Ideally, meals should be convenient, nutritious, appetizing, and something that seniors look forward to eating when meal times roll around. Soup is definitely one menu item that ticks all of these boxes and more.
Tremendous Health Benefits of Soup
The following are just some of the reasons why soup is such a hearty and wholesome meal for seniors:
- Easy to Make: Soup is an easy meal to prepare, which means it is something that many seniors can manage on their own at home. Even on days when they don’t have help from friends, loved-ones, or caregivers soup can often be made from whatever ingredients can be found in the kitchen.
- Nourishing: Having a nice steaming bowl of soup can help to increase body temperature on those frigid days when you are chilled to the bone it seems impossible to get warm. Soup can also help to warm and soften the stomach before eating other foods to promote better digestion.
- Hydrating: Made with large quantities of water, soup provides the added bonus of hydration. Dehydration is a common problem for older adults as the natural volume of water in the body decreases with age. An extra source of H20 can help the body stave off illness and infection.
- Nutritious: The general nature of soup preparation makes it a great option for packing in an abundance of good macro and micro nutrients. Things like veggies, beans, grains, and other ingredients all together in one bowl can create a well-balanced meal. Cooking and consuming all the ingredients in the broth also means that none of the vitamins and minerals from the ingredients are lost in the cooking process, so all the goodness remains in every spoonful.
- Versatile: The variations and combinations of ingredients that can be included in a pot of soup are endless, making soup an adaptable meal for any occasion. The ability to add a wide range of different ingredients allows soups to be tailored to individual needs and tastes. Soups can be geared towards a specific diet, lower or higher calorie intake, or certain vitamins and minerals that need to be ingested.
- Satiating: Soup often gets ignored as a potential meal because it is thought to not be very filling. However, densely packing soup with a variety of ingredients including protein and rice or pasta can provide an extremely hearty meal. A side of fresh wholewheat bread can also add some fortified substance.
- Convenient: Typically stewed in a large pot, soup makes great leftovers. This is convenient for providing multiple meals throughout the week. Soup can also be frozen, making it stretch even further to be pulled out of the freezer when the craving strikes.
- Shareable: Soup is a great meal for sharing, which makes it a great social meal for houseguests and visitors. The focus can be placed on conversation and interaction without having to worry about fussing around with complicated food prep.
- Economical: Soup is a great way to use leftover ingredients from the fridge and pantry that would likely be otherwise thrown away. It can be a significant help to reduce food waste by making a weekly pot of soup with vegetables that are getting a little older in the fridge.
Soups are typically a common staple throughout our lives providing nourishment and comfort. Whether it be tucking into a nostalgic bowl of soup reminiscent of our childhood days, or cooking up something specifically intended to address nutritional and dietary needs, soup is a versatile and accessible meal that can offer fantastic health benefits for seniors.