What if, instead of cereal, you had soup for breakfast? It might sound odd in America, but all over the world, healthy cultures feast on breakfast soup several times per week.
Historical Bias for Breakfast Soup
There’s an old saying: “Breakfast like a king; lunch like a prince; dinner like a pauper.” In blue zones – 5 places around the world where people consistently live over 100 years old – breakfast looks more like dinner. In most cases, the first meal of the day consists of protein, plant-based fats (nuts, seeds, oils), and beans or vegetables.
Many Japanese eat Sumo Stew first thing in the morning is normal. Also, Nigerians often enjoy Egg Stew, Chinese slurp Congee (rice porridge with egg and meat), and Columbians have their Changua (milk soup with poached eggs). From Mohinga (fish & noodle soup) in Burma to Lablabi (chickpea soup) in Tunisia, people around the globe have been eating soup for breakfast forever. And let’s not forget Vietnamese Pho, or Indian Ginger Rasam (lentil soup).
Yet, according to a survey that Kellogg’s conducted, only 34% of adult Americans eat breakfast at all.
Advantages of Soup for Breakfast
Here’s how soup beats cereal for your morning meal:
First, it stabilizes your blood sugars. Steaming broths rich in amino acids, and vegetables in healthy fats help insure you don’t have an insulin spike today. Add to that protein-rich meats and legumes, and you have a true winner.
Second, those who eat a hearty meal in the morning are more likely to lose weight. One study followed two groups of people who ate the same number of calories, but distributed them differently throughout the day. This first group ate more calories at breakfast, while the second group ate more calories at dinner. The group that consumed the larger breakfast lost 2.5 times more weight than the the group that ate a larger dinner group. Additionally, the first group lost four more inches around the waist. ”What we have seen is that people on diets with the same number of calories who front-load calories to the earlier part of the day fare better in terms of subjective and objective measures of satiety,” researchers said.
Further, those who eat like a king at breakfast are more likely to have a lower body mass index (BMI). “Studies have found that although people who skip breakfast eat slightly fewer calories during the day, they tend to have higher body mass index, or BMI,” says Christy C. Tangney, PhD, a clinical dietitian at Rush University Medical Center and an expert on the effects of diet and nutrition on heart health.
Finally, an ample breakfast encourages a vigorous metabolism. When you eat well in the morning, you’re telling your body that there are plenty of calories available for the day. When you skimp on breakfast, the message you send your body is that it needs to conserve rather than burn any incoming calories.
Not sure you want to eat international fare? Here are some American recipes that will give you the same benefits that cultures around the world enjoy.
This recipe comes from Mickey Trescott at AutoimmuneWellness.com.
- 1 tablespoon solid cooking fat
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
- 3 cups water
- 4 lbs. whole chicken
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded, and cubed
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 5 cups baby spinach
- ½ lemon, juiced
- Place the solid cooking fat in the bottom of your Instant Pot and select the “saute” function. When the fat has melted and the pot is hot, add the onion, and cook, stirring, until translucent and lightly browned, about six minutes. Add the garlic and rosemary and cook for another 30 seconds, until aromatic.
- Put the water into the pot and turn off the heat. Add the chicken, squash, and sea salt to the pot. Lock the lid, and set your machine to pressure cook on the manual “high” setting for 16 minutes.
- When the machine indicates the dish is finished cooking, immediately place a towel over the steam valve, carefully opening with the use of a wooden spoon (careful — you can burn yourself easily here!) to quick-release the pressure. Once the steam is released, remove the lid, and allow to cool.
- Once the dish has cooled enough, remove the whole chicken from the pot, take off the meat, and place back in the pot with the spinach and lemon juice. Place back into the Instant Pot container to heat to temperature, and enjoy!
- If you are going to be portioning this soup into jars for storage in the freezer, allow it to cool completely and spend 24 hours in the refrigerator before doing so — the soup will have a better flavor when you reheat it!
Sausage and Sweet Potato Soup
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
- 3 cups bone broth
- 1 lb. ground sausage, browned
- 2 cups diced raw sweet potato
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 3 cups kale, chopped
- Saute the onion and garlic in coconut oil until translucent.
- Put all ingredients except kale in a crock pot or soup pot and simmer until sweet potato is tender (20 minutes on stovetop, 2-3 hours in a crock pot).
- Add the kale and cook 2-3 minutes more, just until kale is wilted.