Warm Up with Winter Soups and Stews

Arlington residents are keeping warm and learning to cook healthy soups and stews at Langston-Brown Senior Center. You can, too! Load your homemade soups with winter vegetables–especially bright red and orange–and reheat leftovers for quick meals throughout the week. Sure, canned soups are convenient. But, they can be high in salt and hard on your heart. By making soups yourself, you can lower the salt to a healthy amount without sacrificing flavor.

Here are some tips for boosting flavor without salt.

1. Start with a flavorful vegetable base. Heat a small amount of oil and cook diced onion, carrots, and celery over medium-low heat until soft.

2. Intensify with spices. Add spices to the hot oil and cook until fragrant. Try cumin, curry, garlic, or smoked paprika. Fresh herbs and garlic cloves will have a bolder taste than powdered.

3. Use a low sodium broth. Check the nutrition facts label and choose the broth or stock with the lowest sodium. Or, make the stock yourself without using salt.

4. Finish with a splash of acidic flavor. A few tablespoons of vinegar or citrus juice at the end will brighten the flavor and round out the taste. If using cooking wine as the acid, add this to the vegetable base before the broth and allow it to cook for a few minutes. Try this healthy Root Vegetable Stew recipe tonight for a meal your whole family will love!

Find more VCE senior nutrition and cooking classes in the Arlington 55+ guide.

By Laurie Van Dyk, Virginia Tech Dietetic Intern 2014-2015

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