After the over indulgence and festivities of Christmas, New Year is the perfect time to go back to basics (if you temporarily left them), start afresh and make healthier choices. For many readers of this blog this might well signal the start to the bariatric surgery process. I know of many who will be starting their pre-surgery regime with weight-loss surgery dates in early January and February and looking ahead to their 3 stage process after their op. Others, longer term out from surgery may have relaxed their eating just a little too much over the holidays and poor choices may have crept into their daily meals too often. No matter – this is no race to the tape and with some commitment, support and new resolution to do better, we can all launch into 2015 with renewed vigour!
I always think of soups as being a winter staple (even though there are plenty of spring, summer and autumnal ones not to be missed) and I make many from scratch in the bariatriccookery.com test kitchen. You can see an array of them below as a visual – simply click through the links below them to access the recipe on the website. But I also welcome a can, pot or sachet of one, ready-made in my store cupboard, freezer or refrigerator for convenience sake! I especially welcome one at this time of year when turkey leftovers are becoming a bit tiresome. Sadly not many commercial soups come up to scratch when you look at their fat, salt and sugar levels.
Thankfully now there is a new ‘free-from’ winter soups range on the supermarket shelf from Tideford Organics. Handmade using an array of wonderful ‘superfoods’ these tasty soups are all organic, gluten-free, low in fat and salt and contain no added sugar. I asked to taste and review them along with the bariatriccookery.com team to see if they met our criteria for a good buy . Here’s what we thought….
Red Lentil with Apricots and Crushed Chillies
This was by far and away my favourite since I do like foods with a bit of a kick, and the team loved its flavour, not finding it too spicy. The chilli kick is nicely and cleverly balanced with the sweetness of apricots. It’s a hearty soup seasoned judiciously with turmeric, bay leaves, mustard and cumin seeds. It’s silky smooth and so suitable for the early stages of eating after surgery but would also be appreciated by those further down the line because it is satisfying and hearty and will make a welcome change to the salad or sandwich offering at lunchtime. Calories levels are good, and sugars and fats under what you can usually find.
Assuming one 600 g/11/4 lb pot serves 2 (for normal appetites) we would say the average WLS portion is about about 200 ml/1 cup or one-third of the pot for all the soups.
CALORIES PER NORMAL PORTION: 114 (WLS PORTION: 76)
PROTEIN: 3.9g CARBOHYDRATE: 13.8g (sugars 6.3g) FAT: 4.2g
Winter Beetroot Soup with Curly Kale
Displaying a fabulously rich ruby purple colour, this soup combines beetroot and curly kale with a hint of seasonal parsnip and carrot. Everyone enjoyed the delicate sweetness and yet extraordinary earthiness of the soup, although I thought it lacked a bit of body – somewhat thin (although it would be perfect for those who can only tolerate less hearty soup offerings). It had an impressive low calorie count and would be festive and most welcome on a cold dreary day with a spoonful of natural yogurt swirled into the top (and great for some additional protein).
CALORIES PER NORMAL PORTION: 78 (WLS PORTION 52)
PROTEIN: 1.8g CARBOHYDRATE: 11.4g (sugars 7.2g) FAT: 2.1g
Sweet Potato Soup with Chia Seeds and Quinoa
This was another crowd pleaser and pronounced very ‘moreish’ by those who initially looked at the chia seeds and wondered what they were. Comforting and creamy it is a mildly spicy soup with spices like turmeric and chilli nicely balanced with sweet potatoes and coconut milk. It is bound to be popular with the healthy eating brigade not least because it has the ‘superfood’ chia seeds and quinoa added but whilst exotic sounding it was welcomed as being surprisingly homely. Certainly an interesting soup and one to ring the changes in a familiar routine. The highest in calories, sugars and fat it just survived our radar check!
CALORIES PER NORMAL PORTION: 144 (WLS PORTION 96)
PROTEIN: 3.9g CARBOHYDRATE: 19.2g (sugars 4.8g) FAT: 5.1g
Soups are priced at £2.79 for 600 g/11/4 lb pot and available from Selfridges, Ocado, Plant Organics, Whole Foods and all well-known independents nationwide in the UK. For further information see www.tidefordorganics.com
BARIATRIC COOKERY WINTER SOUPS ROUND-UP
Here’s our round-up of home-made soups – click on the pic below to access the recipe and slurp to your heart’s content!