If you enjoy whipping up a homemade recipe, you've already taken a good step toward eating more nutrient-dense foods and fewer artificial ingredients. When you make your own foods, such as bean soup, you get to decide what's included. This means that your homemade bean soup is most likely lower in fat and sodium than store-bought versions. The calorie count, however, will vary depending on what type of beans you use, as well as what other ingredients you include in your recipe.
Calories and Different Types of Beans
Beans are an excellent source of fiber and protein, and adding them to soups is a smart and tasty move. A cup of black beans adds 227 calories to your soup, while a cup of navy beans adds 225 calories. Red beans add about 225 calories per cup, and pinto beans add 245 calories per cup. White beans add the most calories with 299 per cup. Opt for green or yellow snap beans, and you'll cut the calorie count to 44 per cup.
Stock Vs. Water
Stock is more flavorful than water, but if you make it with beef or chicken, it also contains more calories than plain water. If you're looking to prepare the lowest-calorie bean soup possible, water might be the way to go since it is calorie-free. A cup of homemade beef stock contains 31 calories, and a cup of homemade chicken stock contains 86 calories. Vegetable stock tends to be lower in calories because veggies don't add fat to the broth, and this is another option if you don't want to use plain water.
The More Ingredients, the More Calories
The ingredients you throw into your pot of bean soup influence how many calories the finished recipe contains per serving. Adding vegetables, such as peas, celery or onions, is a wise idea because they're low in calories and supply essential nutrients such as fiber and potassium. A cup of carrots, for example, contains just 54 calories but also adds vitamin A to your soup. A serving of white-meat chicken adds 142 calories, and a 3-ounce portion of ground beef adds between 213 and 236 calories.
A Few More Healthy Bean Soup Tips
Use low-sodium or no-salt-added canned beans to make your soup so it doesn't contain an unhealthy amount of sodium. Regular versions contain the same number of calories as the lower-salt ones, however. Make your bean soup broth-based instead of cream-based. Creamy soups tend to be higher in calories because the fat in the cream increases the calorie count. One tablespoon of heavy cream contains 54 calories. If you still want a creamy soup, use light cream, which contains 29 calories per tablespoon, or skim milk, which contains about 10 calories per ounce.
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Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.