From a soup that promises to strengthen your immune system, to another that could help you to sleep better — can these new winter warmers be as healthy as they sound?
MANDY FRANCIS asked Fiona Moncrieff, a dietitian for the NHS-backed healthy eating programme Second Nature based in London to assess a selection. We then rated them out of ten.
Bol Sweet Potato & Cauli-daal immune-boosting super soup
Bol Sweet Potato & Cauli-daal immune-boosting super soup, 500g, £2.75, ocado.com.
Per 100g: Calories, 57; saturated fat, 0.8g; protein, 3.4g; fibre, 3.9g; sugar, 1.9g; salt, 0.34g
Claim: ‘Each spoonful will boost your immune system.’
Expert verdict: Fiona Moncrieff, a dietitian for NHS-backed healthy eating programme Second Nature, in London, says the 500g serving provides three of your five-a-day. Sweet potato and cauliflower are good sources of fibre and antioxidants. This is also high in healthy fats and the lentils are high in protein and fibre.
But one serving alone will not boost immunity — we need a balanced diet, good sleep, low stress and regular exercise for that. And the lentils won’t provide all the amino acids we need (to build and repair tissue), as animal proteins do.
Texture/taste: Hearty and filling, with strong Indian spices.
Glorious! SkinnyLicious soup Japanese Rainbow Miso
Glorious! SkinnyLicious soup Japanese Rainbow Miso, 600g, £1.50, sainsburys.co.uk
Per 100g: Calories, 27; saturated fat, 0.1g; protein, 1.4g; fibre, 0.9g; sugar, 2.2g; salt, 0.58g
Claim: ‘Low in fat and calories, high fibre, high protein and provides one of your five-a-day.’
Expert verdict: A smooth soup, made from carrot, sweetcorn and red peppers with miso, tofu, ginger and coriander. The recommended 300g portion provides just 4.2g protein (from the tofu), only 6 per cent of your daily needs, and just 2.7g fibre, 9 per cent of your daily needs.
Low in fat and with just 81 calories in a serving, this is unlikely to keep you full for long. Fat is often vilified but a certain amount keeps you feeling fuller for longer, so add coconut milk or olive oil (plus a roll with chicken, egg or nut butter, for protein).
Texture/taste: Good, spicy flavour but a bit thin.
Ossa The Broup Traditional Chicken
Ossa The Broup Traditional Chicken, 500g, £7.99, planetorganic.com
Per 100g: Calories, 53; saturated fat, 7g; protein, 4.5g; fibre, 0.6g; sugar, 1.5g; salt, 0.17g
Claim: ‘A protein boost, perfect after a workout or at times of stress.’
Expert verdict: This is 64 per cent chicken bone broth — made by simmering bones to release vitamins, minerals and collagen (which gives elasticity to skin). The maker says bone broth can ‘act as a broom for the digestive system’ and ‘repair the gut lining’.
Bone broth contains gelatin, which can help food move through the digestive tract, but there’s not enough research to prove it repairs gut lining. Still, this is a great source of protein: a 250g serving will provide 11.25g — more than the other soups. This also has chicken meat, which provides all nine amino acids our bodies need.
Texture/taste: A light chicken-y stock with vegetable chunks. Home-made flavour.
Press Sweet Potato and Carrot soup
Press Sweet Potato and Carrot soup, 500g, £3.19, ocado.com
Per 100g: Calories, 53; saturated fat, 0.2g; protein, 0.7g; fibre, 1.3g; sugar, 3g; salt, 0.6g
Claim: A ‘creamy, nutritious soup. Immune-boosting turmeric to help you feel energised. Source of fibre.’
Expert verdict: This has a smaller recommended serving size (250g) compared with the usual 300g to 500g. At just 133 calories, you’d need to add protein, fat, and a wholemeal roll to make it a meal.
Turmeric contains curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory linked to a reduced risk of disease, but the curcumin content of turmeric isn’t high (just 3 per cent) and most studies that have found benefits use curcumin extracts — with levels hard to reach using supermarket spice (or in this soup). The sweet potato and carrots are rich in antioxidant beta carotene.
Texture/taste: Silky, vegetable sweetness and strong spices.
Re:Nourish Calm Tomato, Basil, Passion Flower
Re:Nourish Calm Tomato, Basil, Passion Flower, 500g, £2, waitrose.com
Per 100g: Calories, 32; saturated fat, 0.4g; protein, 0.8g; fibre, 1.2g; sugar, 2.4g; salt, 0.4g