Recipe of the Week
Tomato Soup

This is one of my favorite tomato soup recipes. This easy low calorie soup is perfect for the fall/winter months and pairs wonderfully with a grilled (low fat) cheese sandwich or garnished with low fat shredded cheddar cheese and whole grain crackers. You can even make a double batch and freeze the extra for rainy-day (or in my case “lazy day”) emergencies.

Nutrition Profile:
Low calorie, low saturated fat, low cholesterol, heart healthy and healthy weight appropriate.

1 tablespoon of light butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon thyme or parsley
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, with juice
1 14-ouce can whole peeled tomatoes, with juice
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, “no-chicken” broth, or vegetable broth
½ cup fat free half-and-half (optional)
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Heat butter and oil in a large pot over medium heat until the butter melts. Add onion and celery; cook stirring occasionally, until softened (About 4 to 6 minutes). Add garlic and thyme (or parsley); cook stirring until fragrant, about 10 seconds.
2. Stir in canned tomatoes (with juice). Add broth and bring to a lively simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
3. Puree soup in the pot using and immersion blender or in batches in a blinder. Use caution when pureeing hot liquids. Stir in half-and-half (if using), salt and pepper.

To freeze, spoon soup into quart or gallon sized Ziploc bags, making sure to remove as much air as possible before closing. Lay flat in freezer until frozen then stack bags (if using multiple bags) for space saving storage space. The soup can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Per serving (1 cup):
69 calories; 3 g fat (1g sat, 2 g mono); 4 mg cholesterol; 3 g protein; 2 g fiber.

Fit Tip of the Week: Chocolate milk vs. Recovery Drinks: Which is better?

Multiple studies have been published over the past few years showing why chocolate milk is such an effective recover beverage after muscle-intense workouts. Although chocolate milk and milk clearly have post workout benefits, sports beverage companies are in the business of selling beverage products as “post-game protein recovery” or “post-workout recovery drinks” with electrolytes and carbohydrates. So which is better? What’s in it, what’s not in it, and is it worth the price is pretty much the determinant.

So why is chocolate milk so special? Chocolate milk’s recovery benefits seem to be due to the three nutritional attributes:

  • It has the idea 3 to 1 ratio of carbohydrate grams to protein grams, which help to enhance glycogen replenishment into the muscles post workout.
  • It contains whey protein, which is absorbed quickly, getting essential amino acids into the blood stream quicker. Whey protein is also thought to enhance the building and repair of muscle. About 20% of the protein in milk is whey protein.
  • It also contains the protein casein, which is digested and absorbed more slowly than whey protein and sustains amino acids in circulation many hours after consumption. Casein is also thought to reduce the amount of muscle breakdown.

Then there is the cost analysis. An 8-ounce serving of low fat chocolate milk costs about 44 cents per serving (a half gallon typically averaging about $3.50). On the other hand a 16-ounce bottle of Gatorade Recover sells for $1 on average. The cots and savings add up over a month. If you opt for a serving of chocolate milk each day after an intense workout instead of a bottle of Gatorade Recover, you would save about $20 per month.

My bottom line comes down to nutrition. In comparison to nutrition 1% chocolate milk is higher in calories (190 vs. Gatorade’s 130), a better protein-carbohydrate ratio in addition to the added benefit of higher amounts of potassium, calcium, and vitamin D than Gatorade Recover. Also missing from chocolate milk are the artificial sweeteners and dye/color additives found in Gatorade Recover, as well as the upset stomach that can accompany Gatorade Recover. An added edge for chocolate milk is the added benefit of Omega-3s.

My opinion? Chocolate milk has my vote. Not only is it more nutrient dense and appropriately balanced it’s also cost effective.

V/R G. Nicole Shea, B.S., ACSM-CPT
ACSM Certified Personal Trainer
Licensed Zumba® Fitness Instructor