Let Them Eat Soup!

Looking for a cheap, nutritious meal? Eat soup

Many of us instinctively eat soup when we’re feeling cold or ill — and we all know the healing powers of chicken soup. In fact, most soups are pretty darn good for you, in nutritional terms. But it’s easy to forget that soup can be good for you in fiscal terms, too.

Think about it: most soups use inexpensive ingredients that you can combine in interesting ways and enhance with simple spices. And the main ingredient is usually none other than water.


While I have nothing against those famous chubby-cheeked soup kids, I’m not talking about canned soup here. That can be inexpensive indeed, especially if you opt for the store brand, but homemade soup tends to taste better…. and it has your own special touch, too. Your family will appreciate that.

Most soups are fairly simple to make from scratch: you dump stuff in a pot with water, stir it well and heat it up on a stovetop, and eventually soup’s on. Okay, so maybe it’s not as easy as that; but producing a decent minestrone or a simple bean soup requires a fairly minimal effort, and again, it’s economical.

Even the cheapest foods taste good in soup, and the accessory foodstuffs tend to be inexpensive, too: crackers, cornbread, and the like. It’s hard to go wrong here, if you can manage to boil water. Cost per portion: literally pennies.

Some Savvy Soup Suggestions

Soup is already cheap, but the great thing about it is, it’s easy to make it even cheaper. Here’s where shopping at Sam’s Club and Costco really maximizes your frugality, since you can pay less for your soup goodies there; but there’s more to it than that.

You can use leftovers to make soup, too. Got a few days worth of uneaten veggies or an extra chicken breast? Toss ’em in the pot. Instead of letting those partially-used onions and tomatoes go to waste, chop them up for a soup. Even if you don’t eat it immediately, you can always freeze it for later.

Which is, of course, another great thing about soup: it freezes easily and thaws without a fight. So when you do make soup (leftovers or not), make a big batch and freeze the extra in small portions. Then, when things get busy, all you need to do is pull one out and toss it in the microwave.

So There You Are.

Soup may not be the world’s best food category ever, but it’s got to be pretty high on the list. There are infinite versions, it tends to be highly nutritious, it’s cheap, and it’s easy. Is there any reason not to eat soup more often?