Souping on a Budget: Try the Trend Without the Spend

POPSUGAR Photography | Nicole Perry
POPSUGAR Photography | Nicole Perry

By now you've likely heard about souping and soup cleanses. We love soups, and we love cleanses that don't leave you hungry, so naturally, we're into this healthy food trend.

So we took a look at what goes into a soup cleanse — and got a bit of an inside scoop from souping master and Splendid Spoon founder Nicole Centeno. Don't get us wrong, we love treating ourselves to a premade cleanse, but it's not always the most budget-friendly option (especially if your goal is to incorporate one day of souping into your weekly menu).

Ready to start souping at home? Unfortunately, it takes a bit more effort than just cracking open a few cans of Campbell's — but only a little bit more, we promise. Some ingredients (like dairy) are eliminated, while others — specifically those that aid in digestion — are added in. Across the board, benefits of a soup cleanse typically boil down to the digestive help: the soups aim to debloat, promote better digestion, and improve gut health. In turn, those factors can help with weight loss. And with that said, the ingredients of your soups should fall in line with that digestion-friendly goal. We happen to have some suggestions; more on that in a minute.

The soups are typically spaced out so you'll be eating every one to two hours, ensuring that you're not starving, or even slightly hungry! It should (ideally) feel like a normal day of eating. They're also almost always plant based, but you can add in something like a bone broth for additional nutrients. Lastly, feel free to add beans and legumes as you see fit — many soup cleanses offer chunkier bowls with ingredients like sweet potato, peanuts, lentils, and even steel-cut oats.

Here are some suggestions and recipes we have on hand for a DIY day of souping. Buying the ingredients yourself and making soup at home could help save you hundreds of dollars in the long run. Added bonus? By adding more plants into your diet, you're on track for weight loss and management, too.

  • Breakfast. Meal one is always a little tougher, because in most cases, you're not typically waking up to a hot bowl of soup — right? In this case, try a chilled bowl, like this cucumber avocado soup. This coconut milk cauliflower soup is also a great first meal option and similar to what is on offer for breakfast at Splendid Spoon. The coconut milk will give you more of a breakfast vibe, and you can drink it hot or cold. Either of these soup options will also give you a good amount of healthy fat to start off your day and up your satiety — and nourish your digestive lining. Similarly, you could make a green smoothie, so long as it stays within the dairy-free parameters of your meal plan.
  • Midmorning snack. Try a light and refreshing soup for midmorning before filling up at lunch. This cucumber mint soup can swap nonfat yogurt for a vegan yogurt to adhere to cleanse guidelines, or try one of these chilled soup recipes. If you're ready to heat things up, this asparagus detox soup has protein-loaded quinoa to keep you full until your next meal.
  • Lunch. Filling, hearty, and debloating: this butternut squash curry soup has the digestive-aid turmeric to keep your gut happy and belly debloated. We also love a spicy carrot ginger soup, with the healing, detoxing powers of ginger. If you want a soup that's a bit more brothy, try this three-bean soup with vegetable broth or a Santa Fe veggie soup.
  • Afternoon snack. To keep things moving in your system, try a detox soup recipe. Fiber from this creamy, vegan broccoli soup or this watercress detox soup (sub vegetable broth to keep it vegan) will aid in your cleansing efforts.
  • Dinner. Time for a heartier soup to keep your stomach satisfied . . . no grumbling while you fall asleep! A vegan lentil soup, vegan split pea soup with sweet potatoes, or tomato red lentil soup will do the trick. Adding in spices like coriander and cumin — like in this spiced carrot soup — will also help with digestion and settle your stomach before dozing off.
  • Optional: If you're wanting to simmer down after dinner, try a bone broth or hot cup of tea.