Image credit: Jessica Goddard

Lunchtime is often the trickiest meal of the day – with endless options, it can often be hard to make a decision about what to eat. Soup is often overlooked in this decision process, however, it holds many hidden benefits that shouldn’t be dismissed.

As National Soup Month comes to an end, we’re looking at how beneficial a nice, hearty bowl of soup can be to your diet and wellbeing.

Aside from the endless recipe options, soup can contain as many different types of vegetables as you like, making it one of the most nutritious choices for a heart-warming meal.

Soup is also often lower in calories than other traditional lunch options, so is perfect for those who are watching their waistline after the Christmas period.

Eva Humpries is a nutritionist from Nottingham who is currently living in Stockholm, Sweden.

Eva shares her healthy recipes with her Instagram followers – Image credit: Instagram – @wholefoodwarrior

Over on her Instagram account, @wholefoodwarrior, Eva shares her recipes and healthy meals with over 5,000 followers.

She said: “One of the recommendations I make to people is to get 10 portions of veg in per day. Vegetables contain a lot of the vitamins and minerals that we need and those are the things that make us feel healthy.

“With soup, it’s really easy to cram in loads of nutrients without much effort. From that perspective, soup is really good because you can get a lot of those vitamins and minerals into one bowl of food.”

However, the meal may not always be the healthiest option. Eva explains: “The downfall of soup has to be around the protein content.

“It’s really great for adding vitamins and minerals into the diet but what tends to happen is people don’t add any protein into it, such as chicken or beans. Simply liquidising vegetables will mean that you burn energy really quickly so within half an hour, you’re hungry again.”

Eva’s super green, freezable soup. Image credit: Instagram – @wholefoodwarrior

Winter soups can be made from a variety of different seasonal vegetables.

We spoke to Robert Armitage from fruit and veg shop Park Stores on Derby Road about his vegetable suggestions.

He said: “I would recommend using parsnips, squash and onions for a winter soup.”

“We have access to everything at the moment, so leeks and cabbages definitely also.”

Other dieticians have also recommended soup as part of a balanced diet.

Harvir Purawal, Nottingham Community Dietitian, said: “Soup is a great versatile meal. Using various spices, seasoning and fresh produce you can adapt any recipe to suit you. Soup can also be used to fortify your diet and meet any dietary needs.

“By adding foods such as nuts, seeds, avocado, or a rainbow of vegetables, you can boost protein, omega 3/6 and fibre intake, thus improving cardiovascular health.”

To view more winter soup recipes, visit the BBC Good Food website.