Three Healthy Winter Soups to Fuel Your Fitness
Soup serves up all the ingredients you need to replenish after exercise. Try one of these satisfying options.
Now that winter is closing in, your exercise outfits have gone from shorts and tees to jackets and layers. Your fitness routine may look a bit different than it did in the warmer months. Maybe your run has moved from the roads to the treadmill or your bike ride has turned into a session on the stationary bike. Maybe you’re increasing your time strength training. At the very least, what hasn’t changed is your need for healthy, nutritious food to fuel your workouts. The perfect solution is a pot of healthy winter soup.
There are few meals with the potential to be as complete and nutritious as soup. In a single bowl, you can pack in protein, hydration, full servings of vegetables, and daily requirements for essential vitamins and minerals. Maybe the best part: You can make a big pot of soup on the weekend and enjoy a satisfying meal without the hassle during the busy week.
Pull out a pot and start chopping. These three tasty recipes add a dose of delicious to your winter meal rotation. Anyone can enjoy them, but if you happen to be following a gluten-free, Whole 30 or Keto diet, these bowls have you covered. Take your pick:
Whole 30: Crockpot Turkey Cabbage Stew
This recipe comes from Laura Peifer, a certified holistic health coach and running coach, currently working on her master’s degree to become a registered dietician. While she didn’t design this soup specifically with the Whole 30 diet in mind, it checks all the boxes. “People trying Whole 30 are looking to avoid processed foods, white flours and sugars,” she says. “They also avoid grains, beans and dairy—anything that can have an inflammatory effect on the body.”
Whole 30 often serves as an elimination diet—a method of removing various food groups to see if a person feels better without them. But you don’t need to have food sensitivities to enjoy this soup. “It’s the perfect post-exercise meal,” says Peifer. “You get protein and carbs to help repair muscles and feel full, and the ingredients are all anti-inflammatory and fueling.”
• 1 onion, diced
• 5 cups shredded cabbage (about ½ of one large cabbage)
• 2 cups diced (or canned) tomatoes with juices
• 1-pound organic ground turkey or lean ground beef, grass fed
• 1 cup chicken broth
• 1 tsp sea salt
• 1 tsp dried parsley
• ½ tsp oregano
• ½ tsp basil
• dash of ground pepper
• diced avocado and crumbled feta, optional for topping
• 1 cup dry rice
Add onion and meat to the bottom of a slow cooker. (Add 1 Tbsp. coconut oil if using very lean turkey to prevent sticking.) Top with broth, cabbage, tomatoes and spices. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Stir the stew to break apart the meat. Meanwhile, measure a cup of dry rice to cook on the stove or in a rice cooker. To serve, top rice with cabbage stew and sprinkle with diced avocado, feta and fresh parsley as desired.
Gluten Free: Creamy Hungarian Mushroom Soup
Lindsay Cotter , a sports nutrition specialist with a focus on gluten-free foods and author of the Nourishing Superfood Bowls cookbook, shares this recipe for creamy mushroom soup. “The nice thing about this recipe is that it can be tailored to your needs,” she says. “It’s easy to adjust the flavors.” Cotter adds that soup is her go-to meal, seven months out of the year. This recipe is her favorite. “It’s rich in vitamin D, choline, potassium, vitamin C, calcium and anti-inflammatory properties from the spices,” she says. That’s all.
• 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
• 1.5 cups chopped onions
• 1 lb. fresh white button mushrooms, sliced. (~3 to 4 cups sliced).
• 1/3 cup dry white wine (optional)
• 2 tsp dried dill weed
• 1 Tbsp hot paprika and pinch of smoked paprika (optional)
• 1 Tbsp tamari sauce or coconut aminos
• 2.5 cups vegetable or chicken broth
• 1 cup non dairy milk
• 3 Tbsp arrowroot flour
• 1 tsp kosher salt
• ground black pepper to taste
• 2 tsp lemon juice
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
• 1/2 cup Greek yogurt or full fat coconut milk (*canned and chilled for vegan option)
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté the onions in the pot for 5 minutes. Add mushrooms to the pot sauté on high for 5 more minutes. Optional: Add a splash of dry white wine. Stir in dill, paprika, tamari sauce and broth. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. While the soup simmers, whisk the milk and arrowroot flour together in a small bowl. Slowly whisk this into the soup and blend well. Cover and simmer everything for 15 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Finally, stir in the salt, ground black pepper, lemon juice, parsley and yogurt. Mix together and allow to heat through over low heat, about 3 to 5 minutes. Do not allow it to boil. Serve immediately.
Keto: Easy Broccoli Cheese Soup
Maya Krampf, founder of Wholesome Yum and Wholesome Yum Foods developed this easy, five-ingredient soup for those on a low-carb or Keto diet. “The star of this simple broccoli cheese soup is, of course, the broccoli,” she says. “It packs lots of vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B-6, potassium and fiber.” In addition, she points out, the cheese in the recipe is a great source of calcium. “Since the soup is low-carb, it makes you feel good—you get stable, sustained energy without a blood sugar spike,” Krampf says.
• 4 cloves of garlic, minced
• 2 Tbsp olive oil
• 3.5 cups chicken broth
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 4 cups of broccoli, chopped
• 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Sauté garlic in olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven, until fragrant, about 45-60 seconds. Add chicken broth, heavy cream and chopped broccoli. Simmer until the broccoli is tender, about 10-20 minutes. Add the shredded cheddar gradually, stirring constantly until melted. Optional: Puree the broccoli into the soup along with the cheese using an immersion blender.
Pick one—or all three—of these healthy winter soups and fuel your fitness while enjoying a delicious, complete meal.