All it takes is just a little thinking ahead.
It is way too easy to overindulge during the holiday season. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s we are all too familiar with the bounty of food, that yes, we are very lucky to have. All of the holiday parties, passed appetizers, glasses overflowing with wine and bubbly, can all wreak havoc on our routine. But what’s an easy way to stay on track and make sure you’re feeding your body the good stuff while you’re living your best holiday life? Make a big pot of filling, freezable soup to have on hand for lunches and dinners.
Soup is one of those glorious meals that warms us up from the inside out on a chilly day, filling in a satisfying way, while also nourishing. You can pack soups with vegetables, good-for-you stock, and protein-packed legumes. So when this time of the year rolls around (or when I know I’ll be insanely busy), I rely heavily on soups to make me feel and stay healthy. This way, there are no excuses to be made when it's sitting there packed and ready at your fingertips.
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My usual go-to is a super simple lentil soup. I make a big batch of it on Sunday or Monday night and have it for either lunch or dinner throughout the week. And if unexpected plans come along, I pop it in the freezer in a pint container or these stain-free containers. Pro tip: pack a quart’s worth and bring it to the office to have during the week.
So get in the kitchen, grab a large saucepan, and make soup. Start with chopping 1 medium onion, 2 cloves garlic, 2 celery sticks, and 1 carrot. Cook over medium in 2 tablespoons olive oil, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add 1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste and cook, stirring throughout, until darkened, about 2 minutes. If you’d like to add any spices, do so at this point to toast them until fragrant, about 30 seconds. I like a mix of ground cumin and coriander, or ras-el-hanout. Add 1½ cups lentils, 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock, and season with salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Got some rosemary, thyme, or bay leaf on hand? Add it in! Simmer until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Adjust seasoning. To serve, top with Parmesan or a mix of fresh herbs such as cilantro and parsley. Add some water if you’d like a brothier soup.
If you’re looking to pack it with even more nutrition, add a couple of handfuls of stemmed and ribbed kale, or swap the carrot for a couple of cups of winter squash or a sweet potato. I play around with different flavor combinations, but this is the soup that helps me stay healthy when my calendar is overflowing.
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Try more healthy soups now that you’re on a roll.