It's perfect for a quick lunch on a cold day, and equally welcome on a dark winter's night. Possibly with a wedge of crusty bread, eaten whilst sat in front of a roaring log fire. Well I can dream!
I love soup. Making it is simple and satisfying, and more often than not it's a quick, simple and cheap option. Food never need be wasted - there's always a soup you can concoct with whatever you've got sitting in the fridge.
There are some fantastic recipes on the BBC Good Food website, or why not be creative? Some veg, herbs/spices, perhaps a bit of meat/fish and some of stock is all that's really needed for a DIY soup. That and a decent blender.
Or if you don't have the time or inclination to make your own, there are plenty of delicious soups available from the supermarket shelves. Be warned though - it's essential to be a bit savvy and read the food labels if you want to avoid soups laden with cream and butter, and loaded down with added salt.
My current favourites are Glorious! Skinny soups. Containing less than 160 per portion (half a pot), and less than 3% fat, the range is a great choice for people watching their weight, or just for general healthy eating.
Did you know that eating soup can actually assist in weight loss?
Research has demonstrated that eating a blended/liquid meal such as soup actually affects our level of satiety - how full we feel after eating - and can help us to feel fuller for longer.
Imagine a plate of meat and vegetables (or veggies and beans/lentils for any vegetarians) and a glass of water. You could sit and eat the food, and drink the water, and feel satisfied - you're comfortably full and no longer have an appetite to eat. But after a while (perhaps a couple/three hours) that full feeling has gone and you may start to feel peckish again. However, if you blend the solid food with the water, the length of time you feel full is extended.
This is how it works.
When we eat food it enters the stomach. The transit of the food from the stomach to the intestines is controlled by the pyloric sphincter, and the length of time this takes is linked to the length of time we feel sated.
When we drink water it passes quickly through the pyloric sphincter, so doesn't contribute to how full we feel. This leaves the volume of the food alone to provide a feeling of fullness.
However, when we blend solid foods with water the total volume of the two combined gives a greater sensation of fullness, for a longer period of time.
When full, receptors in the stomach send signals to the brain that reduce the production of the hormone ghrelin. Ghrelin is responsible for our appetite, and when the level is reduced, so too is our desire for food.
So by eating soup we can control our hunger, and by controlling our hunger we can control how much we eat.
So there it is. Eating soup can help to control weight. And when you consider how quick, simple, cheap and delicious soups can be, what's not to like?