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A Dietitian's Favorite Dish: Black Bean & Veggie Soup

As a dietitian, I am always looking for easy recipes that are healthy to pass along to clients and for my own cooking.  This soup recipe is really easy, low calorie and nutritious.  Soup makes a great meal when the weather is chilly and the holidays are near.  Making soup is very economical, and is usually cheaper than getting pre-made soup from a restaurant.  This recipe can be modified easily by substituting different vegetables or beans for variety.  The added pumpkin goes undetected in texture and adds extra vitamin A, C and iron.  This soup saves well as leftovers, and can be reheated and paired with a salad and if desired, some crusty whole grain bread for a complete meal.

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Black Bean and Veggie Soup (serves 4-6)

Ingredients:
•    1 onion, chopped
•    1 each green, red and yellow pepper, chopped
•    1 small zucchini, chopped finely
•    2-3 garlic cloves, minced
•    1 tbsp olive oil
•    4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
•    1- 15oz can diced tomatoes
•    1- 15 oz canned pumpkin
•    1- 15oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
•    Optional seasonings to taste: chili powder, salt and pepper, cumin or dried basil.

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Directions:
•    Add chopped vegetables and olive oil and cook over high heat until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
•    Add in stock, tomatoes, pumpkin, black beans and optional seasonings.
•    Heat through until soup is hot.  Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Nutrition Information (per serving, based on 5 servings):
Calories: 202, Fat: 4.3 gm, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Carbohydrate: 26.9 gm, Fiber: 7.7 gm, Protein 10.2 gm. Vitamin A 291%, Vitamin C 222%, Iron 18%, Calcium 8%.

The black beans, peppers and pumpkin make this soup very antioxidant rich.  Antioxidants are important for protecting the body from free radicals.  Free radicals cause damage in the body, and have been related to diseases such as heart disease, stroke and cancer.  Choose fruits and vegetables that are vibrant in color for antioxidant rich sources.  The vitamin C source in the soup is also important for optimizing iron absorption from the black beans and pumpkin.  Vitamin C aids in iron absorption from non-heme iron sources.  Non-heme iron is found in plant foods.  With only about 200 calories per serving, this soup makes a filling, low calorie main course.  Having seconds could definitely be an ok option or the addition of an accompanying salad.  Another option is serving over a lean piece of meat as a sauce.   

Holly Klamer is a Registered Dietitian and personal trainer in Colorado. She received her undergraduate degree with a double major in Dietetics and Health Fitness from Central Michigan University. She then went to Colorado State University for her Master's degree in Human Nutrition emphasizing in Exercise Science. There she completed her dietetic internship to be a Registered Dietitian and was a teaching assistant in the nutrition department. Holly loves to travel, be outside, run, road bike and hike. She ran cross country and track in college and still enjoys competing in long distance running. Her passions are in sports nutrition, disordered eating, teaching others how to eat healthy on a limited budget, worksite wellness, weight loss and food allergies. She enjoys public speaking for various nutrition topics especially to young athletes, writing nutrition education material, and individual counseling. Holly has a passion to help people reach their goals of health and improve athletic performance. She currently works as a personal trainer, sports dietitian and free lance writer for various health websites. To contact Holly, email her at holly.klamer@gmail.com.


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