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University of Illinois Extension serving DuPage, Kane and Kendall Counties

Main Office (Kane County)
535 South Randall Road
St. Charles, IL 60174-1591
Phone: 630-584-6166
FAX: 630-584-4610
Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Master Gardener: M-F 10 am to 2 pm

Branch Office (DuPage County)
1100 E. Warrenville Road
Suite 170
Naperville, IL 60563
Phone: 630-955-1123
FAX: 630-955-1180
Hours: M 11am - 7pm; Tu-Fri 8:30am-4:30pm Master Gardener: Tu-W-Thu 9 am to 12 pm

Branch Office (Kendall County)
7775-B Illinois Route 47
Yorkville, IL 60560
Phone: 630-553-5823
FAX: 630-553-5871
Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Master Gardener: M-F 9 am to 12:30 pm

News Release

Soup's On! Make the Most of this Wholesome Winter Option

U of I Extension Educator Offers Nutrition Tips for a Seasonal Favorite

ST. CHARLES, Ill. – It’s soup season and the options are plentiful. Whether eaten as an entrée or appetizer, soup is comfort food that provides energy and nutrition to endure the winter weather.

“The combination of warm fluid, vegetables and protein provides a bundle of nutrients and facilitates hydration,” said Laura Barr, Nutrition and Wellness Educator, University of Illinois Extension. “A hearty soup, green salad and crunchy whole grain bread make a great meal, and soup before a meal satisfies, leaving one less inclined to overeat during the main course.”

Barr recommends starting with a low-sodium stock, and then adding a lean protein and your favorite vegetables. Lean protein options include chicken and seafood, and vegetarian sources can be legumes, beans or even tofu.

“If you choose store-bought stock, go for the low-sodium options. If you make your own, you have control over the salt content,” said Barr. “Stock is the liquid strained after cooking seasoned meat, vegetables or fish. Brown stock is made by first browning beef, meat, chicken bones or vegetables, and then adding liquid. This caramelizes the product, which enhances the flavor and color. The darker the color, the more flavor.”

If your recipe includes noodles or rice, choose whole grain noodles or brown rice. Some options may even have added protein or Omega-3 fatty acids.

“If purchasing canned or frozen soups, pay attention to labels,” Barr said. “Keep sodium under 200 mg per serving (8 ounces), and watch for added sugars and saturated fats. Consider those options a ‘sometimes food.’”

For example, cream-based soups are high in saturated fats. Barr recommends not eating them too often, and to consider preparing them with 2-percent or whole milk instead of cream. The exception would be if you are under the supervision of a medical team, then always follow that dietary plan, said Barr.

“Soup can be a nutritional and tasty win-win, no matter what the season. This winter, grab a spoon and enjoy!”

For savory recipes like Fresh Corn-Vegetable Chowder and Curried Red Lentil soup, visit

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University of Illinois/U.S. Dept. of Agriculture/Local Extension Councils Cooperating

Source: Laura Barr, Extension Educator, Nutrition and Wellness,