Cauliflower Turmeric Soup

Eat the rainbow is definitely good advice when comes to eating your produce, but remember, just because a veggie is white doesn’t mean it’s not nutritious! Cauliflower, the cloud of your produce rainbow, is still loaded with nutrition. Cauliflower is an excellent source of potassium and it’s a good source of fiber, with about 3g of fiber per cup. Cauliflower and other white veggies, such as parsnips and mushrooms, are also rich in a phytochemical called anthoxanthin. Research so far shows that this phytochemical can help with improve heart health, reduce risk of cancer and stroke, and reduce inflammation.

— Dana Mealing, RDN, LDN, community nutrition educator, Tevis Center for Wellness

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Peruvian Chicken and Rice Soup (Aguadito de Pollo)

We all get bored with making the same recipes over and over. Whenever I get into a recipe rut, I pick a random country, head over to Pinterest and see what fantastic cuisine they have to offer. Sometimes I’ll use a random selection generator online. I tried this for this week, came up with Peru, and the recipe I found did not disappoint! This soup is warming for the cold weather, but also light and refreshing. It’s loaded with nutrient-dense cilantro, peppers, lean chicken and complex carbs from brown rice and potato. This soup has a little kick to it, so let’s talk about what makes peppers spicy: capsaicin. Capsaicin is a phytochemical (we’ve heard that word before!) that has quite a bit of research around it. Studies show that those who each chilis on a regular basis have an associated reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and a 25% relative reduction in all-cause mortality. Embrace the chilis! — Dana Mealing, RDN, LDN

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Turkey Soup

Looking for something to do with leftover turkey? Making a soup is a great way extract all the nutritional goodies out of that bird, leaving you with a soup base that is deeply nourishing both for the body and soul! When you make a broth from the turkey carcass, you’ll be getting nutrients such as collagen, an important component for maintaining the health of your skin, tendons and other connective tissues, along with vitamin A, vitamin K2, zinc, calcium, manganese and selenium. If it’s too soon for more turkey, this soup can keep in the freezer for 3 months.

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Sweet and Savory Red Pepper Soup

Red peppers can make a delicious addition to any meal, but serving them roasted really brings out their sweet, rich flavor. Peppers are an excellent source of many vitamins, such as vitamin A, E, C, B6 and B9, along with minerals such as folate and manganese. The vitamin C in red peppers is something that stands out. Research shows the average red bell pepper has over 300% the daily recommended amount of vitamin C. Compare that to an average orange that has about 90% the daily recommended amount. This high vitamin C content gives red peppers a powerful antioxidative effect, which scientists are researching as a way to alleviate arthritis.  

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Mason Jar Soup

Meal prep can get boring — chicken with brown rice and broccoli, or some leftover dinner— same old, same old. This meal prep idea is fresh and unique and provides a healthy alternative to a classic meal you might remember from your college days: Cup o’ Noodles! … except this version is packed with nutrition.

This recipe leaves room for you to get creative with your veggies; you can really add anything you want. Have you heard the phrase “eat the rainbow” before? Every color in our veggies correlates to a different set of nutrients, and if we “eat the rainbow,” we get in a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients to optimize our health. I encourage you to try some new colored veggies when you make this mason jar noodle soup. Top it off with a soft-boiled egg to make this meal prep extra satisfying.

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Mushroom Soup

Eating fungi has a multitude of health benefits. Mushrooms are a great source of fiber and are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Though mushrooms are fungi, and technically not vegetables, we categorize them as such for dietary purposes. When compared to other veggies, mushrooms have some of the highest amount of vitamin D when exposed to UV light. They are also a good source of B vitamins, particularly B2 and B3, and the B12 that is in mushrooms is more bioavailable than the forms in other vegetables. Much research has been done on mushrooms and their potential benefits on healing cancers and neurogenerative diseases, but the research continues and there are no definitive recommendations.

Mushrooms make a tasty addition to any meal. This soup is a Hungarian classic—creamy, bright, savory—and the perfect thing to ease the pre-spring chill.  

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Sauerkraut Soup

This recipe has a secret ingredient you likely have never used before: juniper berry. Junipers are a common spice used throughout Scandinavia all the way down to Hungary. Junipers are currently being studied for their wide array of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Some research has even suggested that juniper may help raise HDL, the good cholesterol, and may assist in better regulating blood sugar. A word of warning though: not every juniper is safe for consumption, so please buy your junipers rather than collecting ones you may have in your yard. 

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Turkey and Whole-Wheat Dumpling Stew

This turkey stew has a thicker broth and delightful, chewy, cloud-like dumplings. Turkey is a great option for a lean protein, and we have long heard about how the breast or “white” meat is lower in fat than the “dark” meat that is found in the thighs and legs. However, you may be surprised to hear that dark meat also has a higher concentration of vitamins and minerals, including several B vitamins, zinc and selenium. This goes to show that a healthy diet is about balance, and you can feel good about having both white and dark meat in your dish.

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Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Cheddar broccoli soup is one of the ultimate comfort foods for cold, cloudy days. How can we wrap ourselves in the creamy, cheesy goodness without sacrificing healthy habits? To start, don’t skimp on the broccoli! Broccoli is an amazing vegetable, and lots of research is currently being done on its health benefits, particularly its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. All cruciferous veggies—broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale—have been associated with a reduced risk of developing cancer. Broccoli, in particular, has been soaring in popularity because of its high content of diindolymethane, or DIM for short. Research is still ongoing, but it’s looking to be a strong anti-cancer agent. This improved recipe also reduces the amount of saturated fat by reducing butter and swapping out heavy cream for Greek yogurt. Read More