Sometimes, when the clouds fill the sky and the air turns cold, I crave a huge bowl of steaming soup. My favorite soups are chicken noodle, bacon corn chowder, a good, spicy tortilla soup. However, while these soups may be delicious, they can often be loaded with unhealthy ingredients like cream, oil, and refined carbs. I compiled a list of my favorite healthy soup hacks that are great for creating a nutritious and balanced meal that still tastes amazing. 

1. Citrus Boost

lemon, juice, citrus, lemonade, citron
Rebecca Block

To up the flavor and add brightness to your soup, add a squeeze of lemon or lime to your bowl. I love the sharp acidity of the citrus contrasting with the warm soup base. Citrus is especially good in soups like Tortilla Soup, Italian Wedding, Chicken Noodle, or pretty much any recipe with a clear base. Of all the healthy soup hacks, this is my favorite and one I use very often. 

2. Cream Alternatives

soup, cream, bread, vegetable, parsley, broccoli, garlic, broth
Parisa Soraya

Heavy cream is delicious but very bad for you. It is basically just a carton of calories and fat. To replace that velvety element in recipes, turn to options like pureed beans or sweet potatoes, greek yogurt, or non-dairy milk. These options provide much more nutritional value while at the same time packing a tasty punch. 

3. Skip the Croutons

vegetable, cereal, legume, meat, pea, chickpeas, garbanzo, corn
Christin Urso

Toppings on soup are a must have, at least for me. While I do love buttery bread cubes and crunchy tortilla chips, they aren't the healthiest options. Things like roasted chickpeas, nuts, and whole-grain tortilla chips provide that satisfying crunch while keeping your soup on the healthy side. Other healthy toppings I love are avocados and shaved parmesan cheese. 

4. Add Leafy Greens

vegetable, lettuce, kale, herb, pasture, parsley
Kristine Mahan

I am not the biggest fan of things like kale and spinach.  However, leafy greens are known to be nutritional powerhouses and provide amazing health benefits. When added to soup, they cook down and are almost hidden among the other ingredients, so you don't even know you are being healthy. Cooking them does result in some lost nutrients, but getting in some greens is better than nothing.

5. Use More Spices

Spice, oregano
Victoria Hoang

Most soups have a base of vegetables and a simple broth or stock. Adding spices like cayenne, herbs, and cumin or turmeric create a more complex and intriguing soup. Many spices are also known to contain powerful antioxidants as well as antibacterial and anti-viral properties. 

6. Switch to Whole-Grain Carbs

cereal, wheat, porridge, corn, buckwheat, groats, millet
Christin Urso

Refined carbs are delicious but are weak in terms of nutritional value. Ingredients like quinoa, brown rice, and lentil or bean based pasta provide more nutrients and fiber that will help you stay fuller longer after your meal.

7. Swap Meat with Beans 

cereal, coffee, black beans, beans, vegetable, azuki bean, pasture, legume, kidney bean
Zoe Malin

Meat is a great source of protein and flavor, but choices like bacon, red meat, and processed meat are known to be potentially carcinogenic aka can cause cancer in the long term. Beans are cholesterol free, provide fiber, and have little to no fat content. They are a great alternative for those looking to swap meat out of their soup. Great bean options include lentils, navy beans, and black beans. 

All of these healthy soup hacks are simple and easy to implement. Soup is a great meal that can provide nutrients to power you through the day. I hope you find these hacks helpful and use them to your advantage!

Still craving more soup content? Check out these amazing articles:

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