Why you should include more soup in your diet

By now you’ve probably heard of it make juice. But what about “supper”? Essentially, instead of drinking green juice all day, this cleanse involves sipping soup. In my opinion making soup is a better option than stricter cleanings. whole diet to liquid meals to benefit from soup and health weight loss benefits. Here, why and how to include some healthy soup in your diet.

A study published in the journal Pull found that when people ate a low-calorie soup (about 130 calories for women and 170 for men) for lunch, they naturally consumed about 20% fewer calories, but they didn’t feel less full. And no, not just any starter will do. Other research has shown that compared to solid foods such as cheesecrackers and melondoes soup do a better job of curbing later eating.

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Why soup? Scientists say texture is key. While liquids move out of the stomach faster than solids, thicker liquids like soup are different. They tend to expand the stomach a bit more and stay in the stomach longer, so you feeling fuller, for a longer period of time. And while some research suggests that shape doesn’t matter, one study was published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that slippery soup (think: butternut squash) worked even better than a thick version (like chicken noodles) when it came to slowing stomach emptying and boosting satiety. Plus, unlike smoothies, which can be sipped through a straw in just minutes, soups are generally consumed at a more leisurely pace. And additional research shows that eating more slowly helps you feel more satiated and consume fewer caloriesoften without even trying.

To test the satisfying powers of soup for yourself, try swapping your usual lunch for one of these liquid meals or drinking a cup before eating a sandwich or salad. And to make sure you don’t inhale your soup, put your spoon down between slurps try to eat consciously without the distraction of your phone, laptop or TV.

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Many of my clients are shocked at how well the simple strategy of eating soup before or during meals works. And consider this: For the average American, eating one-fifth fewer calories than normal per day is enough to lose 50 pounds or more in a year. Even if you’re not worried about losing that much weight, this trick can also be a successful way to break through a plateau or shed stubborn pounds. Plus, incorporating soup into your diet is an easy way to add more veggies and antioxidant-rich seasonings.

That said, if you’re looking for form, not all soups are created equal. To find the healthiest ready-to-eat options, start by avoiding highly processed versions filled with artificial additives and preservatives. Search instead for “beautifulready-made soups with ingredient lists that read like a recipe you could have made in your own kitchen. And while they may be delicious, try to avoid ones made with heavy cream and cheese, such as broccoli cheddar and potato cream.

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Or for a guaranteed healthy soup, you can make a simple one yourself. My go-to is what I call “half homemade.” To make it, start by heating chopped onion and garlic in extra virgin olive oil or extra virgin coconut oil in a small saucepan over medium heat until onions are translucent. Then add low-sodium organic vegetable broth along with veggies (try broccoli or cauliflower, celery, kale, and tomatoes). Stir in the herbs and spices, such as Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Or try a combination of turmeric, cumin, cinnamon and coriander. Bring the mixture to a rapid boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Enjoy as is or puree, then serve for a balanced meal with more veggies; a lean protein such as fish, poultry, or pulses; good fats, such as avocado, nuts or seeds; and a small serving of healthy carbs, such as quinoa, sweet potato, or pumpkin.

Just remember that if you knock back a bowl of soup and then eat pizza, pad Thai, or ice cream, your shape probably won’t magically shrink. So if you’re going to be a superstar, keep the big picture in mind and be smart about how you spend. In short: soup works, if you work with it!

Cynthia Sas is Health‘s contributing nutrition editor, a New York Times best-selling author and consultant to the New York Yankees. See her full biography here.

This article originally appeared on Health. com