Boost your meals with this helpful hack

We all love a tasty soup, it’s cheap, quick and easy to make - especially if you buy one from the shop. However, compared to making your own, the shop-bought ones tend to have reduced nutrition and often leave you feeling hungry soon after finishing it.

So, how to keep the ease of a shop-bought meal whilst having the nutrition of a homemade soup?

Soupercharge it with some simple ingredients which turn it into a filling nutritious meal compared to a watery snack.

For the classic tomato soup (always opt for low salt and sugar options) I would choose a fresh option, before you heat it up boil up some red lentils (100g per person) until they are soft, chuck some chilli flakes in, mixed herbs (oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary) and some fresh garlic, then add the soup just before the lentils are ready. Top the soup with some pumpkin seeds and you’re ready to munch!

Following these simple steps we have increased the healthy fats by 2-5 times, the fibre content by 10 times, the protein content by 20 times. This is important as vitamins A, D, E and K can only be absorbed in significant amounts in the presence of healthy fats (1), whilst fibre reduces constipation and colon cancer risk (2). Protein, a vital part of our diet for cell repair amongst other important functions, also promotes the feeling of fullness which means you are satisfied for longer and eat fewer calories over a whole day (3). Compare the nutrition for yourself here:

Info per 100g

Energy: Before - 37kcal After - 399kcal

Fat: Before - 1.4g After - 7g

Saturates: Before - 0.2g After - 1.08g

Carbs: Before - 4.3g After - 52.3g

Sugars: Before - 4.1g After - 4.4g

Fibre: Before - 1.1g After 12.82g

Protein: Before - 1.4g After - 24.54g

Salt: Before - 0.50g After - 1.3g

It’s not the ideal situation but it’s a step in the right direction in terms of nutrition and health - ideally we would be making everything from scratch but we don’t all have the equipment and time to do this. This nourishing meal will now keep you full for hours rather than minutes and your body will thank you for the added nutrition.

What other quick meals can you think of to tweak for a quick health boost?

The evidence

1) Goncalves, A., Roi, S., Nowicki, M., Dhaussy, A., Huertas, A., Amiot, M.J. and Reboul, E., 2015. Fat-soluble vitamin intestinal absorption: absorption sites in the intestine and interactions for absorption. Food Chemistry, 172, pp.155-160.

2) Lockyer, S., Spiro, A. and Stanner, S., 2016. Dietary fibre and the prevention of chronic disease–should health professionals be doing more to raise awareness?. Nutrition bulletin, 41(3), pp.214-231.

3) Greco, E., Winquist, A., Jacob Lee, T., Collins, S., Lebovic, Z., Zerbe-Kessinger, T. and Jahan Mihan, A., 2017. The role of source of protein in regulation of food intake, satiety, body weight and body composition. J. Nutr. Health Food Eng, 6(6), p.00223.


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