Soup is a comfort food for all ages and a popular one-dish meal for many cultures. You can stock some canned or packaged soups in your pantry or purchase prepared soups at your local grocery deli. At home, you can stretch your food dollars by using leftovers such as rotisserie chicken or beans and add vegetables and broth.

One health benefit of eating soups is that it’s an easy way to get your vegetables and nutrients, such as potassium and magnesium, into your diet. Having a soup with your meals can fill you up and help you eat less according to several studies.

For those who have high blood pressure, opt for low sodium version of soups with the heart-healthy label. The Dietary Guidelines recommends less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. If you prepare your soups, use fresh and dried herbs as well as spices without salt. Here are some examples of soups to make this fall.

Minestrone Soup
Prepare this Italian version of vegetable soup with carrots, peas, tomato broth, and add some pasta or rice at the end. Experiment with other vegetables and chop them into bite sizes before adding to the soup. Add cauliflower, cabbage, and turnips. White beans in this soup will make it hearty. For meat lovers, add pieces of cooked bacon as a garnish.

Lentil Soup
Use lentils or beans as the base for your soup and keep adding more bite-sized pieces of vegetables. With lentils or beans, you will get protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. Add roasted red beets into the lentil pot. Finish with more vegetable broth, herbs, and spices. If you would like to include meat, add some ham and beef broth.

Sweet Potato Soup
Roast any root vegetable in the oven at 400 degrees, drizzled with oil until soft. All vegetables will taste rich and amazing when they are roasted! For the sweet potato soup, warm a pot and cook turkey sausage. Add roasted sweet potato and add any green leaf such as chard or kale. This will be a full meal.

Stocks and bone broth
Prepare your own stock with cuts of bones and vegetables. Prepare the bone broth by boiling cuts of roasted bones and simmering for hours. Don't throw away leftovers from your Thanksgiving turkey and make a stock to use in a homemade soup with any vegetable. What is your favorite fall soup?

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Malena Perdomo, MS, RDN, CDE
Adjunct Professor of Nutrition at Metropolitan State University of Denver