Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mixed vegetable soup Boholano-style

Boholano-style vegetable soup comes in many varieties, but a top favorite of mine contains a light, clear broth filled with malunggay (moringa), kalabasa (squash), patola (luffa), okra (gumbo), sitaw (string beans) and carrots. Whether as appetizer or main course, such vegetable soup can be satiating and helps maintain hydration, especially in the hot and humid tropics.

As for nutrition, soups loaded with vegetables and beans provide vitamins A and C, potassium, folate and fiber. Those with a clear broth contain fewer calories and less saturated fat than soups with a cream base such as coconut milk. Creamy soups are healthy as well, but they should be consumed in moderation due to the saturated fat they usually contain, which can trigger heart health risk.

Canned soups may be convenient but be wary of their high amounts of sodium and preservatives. Better opt for the fresh homemade version, and if possible, one with an all-organic ingredients so as to avoid the consumption of chemicals (fertilizer, pesticide, fungicide, preservatives, etc.).

Incidentally, I’d like to share the following “Six simple ways to smarter, healthier eating,” which I got from an email newsletter, HEALTHbeat, published by Harvard Medical School.  Subscribing to this free newsletter is highly recommended.

Here are six ways you can eat healthy, delicious meals, and really enjoy what you’re eating.

1) Ditch whole milk

Not only does this reduce saturated fat in your diet, it shaves off calories.

How: Switch to 1% or nonfat milk, and nonfat versions of other dairy products like yogurt and ice cream. Can’t bear to go cold turkey? Step down more slowly to 2% milk, then 1% en route to nonfat, if possible.

2) Harness the power of nuts (and seeds)

Almonds, cashews, filberts, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, and pistachios pack plenty of beneficial nutrients, including vitamin E, folic acid, potassium, and fiber. Although many nuts are high in fat, the fat is mainly unsaturated – a healthy choice.

How: First, put nuts on the grocery list. Nuts are high in calories, so it’s best to enjoy them in place of other snacks, not in addition, and to keep serving sizes small.

3) Taste food before you salt it

Break the autopilot habit of reaching for the salt shaker.

How: For two days, don’t put any salt on your food at all. A short break can help reset your taste buds. Then, leave the salt shaker in the cabinet, so it becomes a bit of an effort to reach for it. Make a ritual out of truly tasting your food before you decide if it needs tweaking.

4) Pack lunch once a week

This makes healthy food choices readily available to you at work or on an outing. And since you are controlling portion sizes, you can make sure that you’re not supersizing your meal. Plus, it saves you money.

How: Once a week before you shop for groceries, write out a meal plan that leaves enough leftovers for one or two lunches.

5) Eat five (or more) vegetables and fruits a day

It’s a nutrient-packed way to fill your plate that is generally low in calories.

How: First, for one week, keep track of how often you eat fruits and vegetables. One serving equals one-half cup of chopped fruit or most vegetables; for raw leafy vegetables like lettuce and spinach, a serving is one cup. Once you have your baseline, try adding one fruit or vegetable serving a day.

6) Plan meals that are delightful, delicious and healthy

In an ideal world, food delights all our senses: it looks beautiful, smells heavenly, and tastes delicious, and its textures feel and even sound satisfying. Start thinking about food as something to really savor and enjoy.

How: Pencil in time to prepare and savor one or two special meals a week. Once you’ve assembled great ingredients, set a gorgeous table. Take a moment to truly take in scents, companions, and surroundings, and if you like, give thanks.

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Mixed vegetable soup featured above courtesy of Palwa Restaurant

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  1. I am going to try your soup recipe! and all your tips on eating healthier are right on! Especially quitting salt! We did years and years ago! Thanks for your nice comments on my blog!
    Gotta love those tomatoes! Cheers-have a great day.

    1. Not much into salty foodstuffs; more on sweets but in moderation, Kathe. However I have these rock salt (not iodized) that I put a dash in glass of water to drink in order to balance my alkalinity.

      Thanks for visiting!

  2. An excellent post. The soup looks great. We love soup, especially in cold weather.

    1. Soups are great, Amy. They help rehydrate our system.

      Thanks for visiting!

  3. Thanks for this soup recipe and the tips about healthy food!
    I love soup in cold and warm weather! When I was a child, I prefered peasoup to ice cream! Even in summer. Have a great day.

    1. Like you, Reader Wil, I love soup, especially with a delectable bread. And would you believe this: A small stall opened in my neighborhood while I was living in NYC. It was a take-out all-soup place, no seats. The line during lunch time stretched half a block long. Seinfeld called him "the soup Nazi," but he was a very nice man in real life.


  4. we Ilonggos have this version of vegetable soup called "laswa"---it has all the veggies you mentioned except for carrots. squash, sigarillas, saluyot, ampalaya can also be added. it's flavored with guinamos (dried shrimp paste).:p

    i'm munching Growers peanuts right now, and i had ampalaya with eggs & tuna flakes for lunch. :>)

    1. And I had the ampalaya with eggs for breakfast yesterday, Luna.

      One of my favorite munchies is Planters unsalted roasted peanuts. I used to buy 2 bottles of which at a time. But SM stopped carrying it. I think one can only get them at Makati supermarkets like Landmark.

      Btw, I've started craving for a bowl of cold Vichyssoise soup. Is there any at your favorite eateries, Luna?

  5. Great post!! Thanks for linking up to Tasty Thursdays at The Mandatory Mooch. Hope you will link up again this week. The party will be live tonight.

    Thanks, Nichi

  6. I definitely could eat this veggies everyday!!!

    1. It is truly nutritious and tasty, too!