The Anatomy of Vegetable Bean Soup – How Healthy is it and at What Cost?

With all of the diets out there and the choices we have to make on a daily basis to make sure we maintain a healthy diet for ourselves and our families, choices can become overwhelming and confusing. There are too many books, too many experts, too much information! Simplicity is the key here. What works, what doesn’t. Healthy eating should not be a chore. It should be easier to understand.

First and foremost, I am not a dietitian, nor a nutritionist. I am, however, a busy mother who, like so many people reading here, wants to feed their families the best foods with the most nutrional value at a reasonable price. Research is the key.

In addition to making the process of food vitamin intake easier to understand, it should also be noted that it is not expensive to buy the foods our body needs. I am not sure where the idea came from, but many people I have come in contact with on this subject have raised concerns that eating a healthier diet is just more expensive. I realize that many advertising campaigns make you feel like if you are not eating some off the wall expensive super-food, you are doing yourself and your family a disservice. They prey on consumers not understanding the food pyramid touting their food as all inclusive nutritional value and then charge a premium price for this convenience. Now, by law, they have to state what the nutritional value is on the package but, here again, who understands this stuff fully? With a little research, everybody can and to top that off, you don’t need to buy a $10 super-food when that same $10 can buy many items to create many meals. Sure, buying a can of soup can save you a few dollars over buying individual vegetables in their packages to make your own soup but at what cost, ultimately?

There has to be a way to be able to get more of the intake of these foods that we need. To save the day is our old stand by, almost forgotten, vegetable soup. No, not from the can. Real vegetable soup. As busy as we are, chopping up a few vegetables and putting them in a pan is not that time consuming and can be done in less time than it takes to reply to the dozens of emails we get a day or the time it takes to commute to the office each day. Priorities.

In an effort to figure out how to get more of these essential foods in our diet, I sometimes take a dish and completely dissect it for vitamin content, fiber content and overall goodness. This was one such recipe I did this with. Granted, you are not going to want soup on a 100 degree day in the summer but for fall and winter meals, the comfort in a steaming bowl of soup cannot be beat after a long cold day.

In order to look at the nutritional content, let’s first look at the recipe itself with the complete nutritional information for a serving to get started.

Vegetable Bean Soup

1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups water
1 (15 1/2 ounce) can great northern beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup stewed tomatoes
1/2 cup cubed peeled potatoes
1/2 cup frozen cut green beans
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/3 teaspoon pepper

In a large saucepan, saute onion, celery, carrot and garlic until tender.
Stir in remaining ingredients.
Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat; simmer uncovered for 15 minutes or until heated through and potatoes are tender.
Discard bay leaf.

Calories 187
Calories from Fat 38 (20%)
Amount Per Serving %DV
Total Fat 4.2g 6%
Saturated Fat 0.7g 3%
Polyunsat. Fat 0.7g
Monounsat. Fat 2.6g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 274mg 11%
Potassium 690mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 29.6g 9%
Dietary Fiber 8.3g 33%
Sugars 4.1g
Protein 9.6g 19%
Vitamin A 2529mcg 50%
Vitamin B6 0.2mg 11%
Vitamin B12 0.0mcg 0%
Vitamin C 13mg 22%
Vitamin E 0mcg 2%
Calcium 103mg 10%
Magnesium 63mg 15%
Iron 3mg 16%
Alcohol 0.0g Caffeine 0.0mg

The standards that we need in order to maintain a healthy diet come from each ingredient seperately. Put together is the end result of the soup. 1/2 cup of each vegetable this recipe calls for is one of each…one potato, one carrot, one stalk of celery, etc. The can of beans is right around 50 cents. The total cost of getting all that nutrition is under $2.00 or approximately 50 cents per serving.

I hope that with this information, you are set on a path of research and discovery on how even the most busy families can benefit from a few minutes of kitchen time. It’s worth the effort in knowing that you have done your best to provide your family with everything they need in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It’s not as hard as it seems.

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