Depending on who you are, the idea of having soup for dinner can conjure up images of slurping away on salty brine, then enduring hunger pangs hours later when it wasn’t enough to satisfy. But soup doesn’t have to be just watery or milky broth with a few limp vegetables. Instead, it can be packed with flavor, texture, and nutrients — including protein. Protein helps to curb hunger, build muscle, and even ward off diabetes and heart disease. If you’re looking to make gains at the gym, there’s no better aid than a protein-heavy diet.
As we enter winter, soup might become a standby to warm you up and ward off the doldrums. If you choose the right recipes, those soups can also help you build muscle at the gym and fill you up, thanks to the copious amounts of protein in them. Eating a bowl of soup before your main meal can also help you lose weight. “Soups and stews are incredibly filling because of their very high water content,” dietician Dawn Jackson Blatner, a FITNESS advisory board member, told Fitness. “That means you get full on fewer calories than if you eat something like, say, a casserole, which has much less water in it.”
How much protein do you actually need? The typical man needs about 56 grams of protein per day, but those who work out regularly (three to five times per week), need more — at least 80 grams per day, depending on how strenuous the workouts are. For women, protein intake should fall between 46 grams and 71 grams per day. It can be a daunting task to take in that amount of protein, but these soups will start you on your way.
Another added bonus of soup is its flexibility at meal time. Some of these recipes can simmer in a slow cooker while you’re at work, while others you can make over the weekend and reheat whenever you need a protein boost throughout the week. Regardless of your palate and work schedule, there’s bound to be a recipe that will be a perfect addition to your cooking repertoire.