Soup is an easy make-ahead meal and a great way to add some nutritious and fiber-packed vegetables to your diet. For people with diabetes, the more vegetables you can eat, the better. Vegetables are full of lots of the good stuff your body needs, such as antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and even fiber. Many vegetables are also low in calories and carbs, which is a must-have for people with diabetes.

“The focus for diabetics should be on non-starchy vegetables instead of the starchy varieties, since starchy vegetables contain more grams of carbohydrate per serving,” said Sarah Hallenberger, lead dietitian at bistroMD.

That means adding foods such as leafy greens, green beans, eggplant, mushrooms, or peppers to your diet when you can, instead of relying on foods such as corn, peas, and potatoes. That said, beans and lentils make an excellent choice for carbohydrates. This is because they’re very high in fiber, slow to digest, and have a mild impact on blood sugar compared to other carbohydrates.

Here are five soups packed with enough veggies and flavor to share.

lentil

This lentil-based soup is not just low in fat, it’s also high in fiber and protein. Lentils are also a good source of these vitamins and minerals:

One serving is 1 1/4 cups which only contains 27 grams of carbohydrates. If you’d like to reduce the carbohydrate content further, cut the portion of soup and serve it with a side of sautéed dark, leafy greens or a salad.

Get the recipe from EatingWell.

curried butternut squash soup

Image source: The Comfort of Cooking / thecomfortofcooking.com

One big win for this soup is its main ingredient, butternut squash, which is loaded with vitamin A. Butternut squash is higher in carbs than some other vegetables, though, so be mindful of what else you consume alongside this soup. Consider pairing it with a grilled chicken breast or a lower-carb salad loaded with protein. Sub the half-and-half for coconut milk to make this a dairy-free soup.

View the recipe at The Comfort Kitchen.

Coming in at 26 grams (g) of protein and 18g of carbs per serving, this soup is loaded with flavor. It’s also packed with these veggies:

Just skip the side of tortilla chips and watch the high-calorie toppings like sour cream. To lower the sodium content, look for low-sodium chicken stock. Try serving it with a side salad for even more vegetable goodness.

Get the recipe from Country Living.

Barley gives this soup a hearty, nutty taste. Not only is it high in protein and fiber, a recent study in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that barley may help improve blood sugar levels and lower risk of diabetes. Barley is also inexpensive and has one of the lowest glycemic indexes of all grains, with a score of 25. Serve this soup with a side of cooked non-starchy vegetables to balance out the meal.

View the recipe at Clean Eating.

Image source: Cooking Quinoa / cookingquinoa.net

Quinoa is a great choice for people with diabetes. It has protein and fiber and will help keep you full longer than a more processed white grain. Additionally, quinoa may help you manage your type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food. This recipe is loaded with fiber and the antioxidants from green vegetables. For reduced sodium intake, halve the amount of salt.

Get the recipe from Wendy Polisi.

Soup can be a tasty, inexpensive way to eat well and keep your blood sugar under control. Most soups keep well, and making extra can give you days of quick meals that will help keep your blood glucose levels under control.

Do’s

  • Look for soups that feature non-starchy vegetables such as green beans, carrots, and mushrooms, or diabetes-friendly starches such as beans, barley, and quinoa.
  • Soups that contain fewer than 30 grams of carbohydrates per serving are the best choices.
  • Serve sides of roasted non-starchy vegetables or dark green salads with your soups.

Don’ts

  • Soups with lots of starchy vegetables such as corn, peas, or potatoes may raise blood glucose.
  • Avoid high-calorie toppings such as bacon, chips, cheese, or sour cream.