Fit to eat: satisfying soups

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With the right ingredients, you can turn a bowl into a healthy, hearty meal (and skip the heavy cream).

The notion of whipping up soup from scratch might seem daunting, but many of the best recipes require little active time. The real magic happens when you let the ingredients simmer and the flavors meld together.

Aside from being easy to make, soup can pack in a meal's worth of nourishing ingredients, provided you "include an abundance of vegetables; healthy starches, like beans and whole grains; and some lean meat, fish, or poultry," says Susan Bowerman, assistant director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition.

Many of the following recipes on call for just 15 or 20 minutes of prep work and an hour or two of fragrant simmering. Others come together in less than an hour. Use fresh herbs, garlic, or ginger for flavor and you'll need a fraction of the salt hiding in most canned soups.

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Fit to Eat: Satisfying Soups
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Fit to eat: satisfying soups

Sliced pork, Chinese broccoli, and soba noodle soup

Soba noodles are made from fiber-rich buckwheat flour, which keeps you full longer. If you can't find Chinese broccoli, use other leafy vegetables such as mustard greens.

Image Credit: Martha Stewart

Shrimp, cod, and fennel soup with tomatoes

Poaching shrimp and cod in wine-and-garlic-spiked fish stock elevates their flavor but keeps calories minimal. If you can't find fish stock at your grocery store, ask your fishmonger.

Image Credit: Martha Stewart

Cannellini and kale soup

Thyme, garlic, and a bay leaf are simmered in water to create a flavorful broth that's low in calories. Frying garlic creates crunchy chips and a tasty oil to drizzle on top.

Image Credit: Martha Stewart

Beef and barley soup

All barley is high in fiber, but hulled barley is the most nutrient-dense. If you make this soup with pearl barley, use 2 cups water in step 4 and cook, covered, for 10 minutes in step 5.

Image Credit: Martha Stewart

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Related video:
One-Pot Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

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