Seniors: Warm Up This Winter with These Healthy Soups and Stews

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Seniors: Warm Up This Winter with These Healthy Soups and Stews

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Seniors living in Cincinnati have already experienced a few wintry blasts this year. More are surely on their way before spring.

On a cold winter day, what beats a hearty soup or stew for dinner? Soups and stews can be an excellent choice for seniors who need to pack a lot of nutrition into their meals — especially for those  whose appetites may be shrinking as they age.

Stews and soups can be made to incorporate all the major food groups. They’re excellent means of using up leftovers, or canned and frozen vegetables. And water-based soups provide much-needed hydration.

All that — and they can be wonderful comfort foods. Here are some of our favorite healthy, filling soup and stew recipes:


Winter Vegetable Chili

1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes

1 can of pinto, navy or Great Northern beans, drained and washed

2 cups diced winter squash or pumpkin

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 large carrot, diced

1 red pepper, diced

2 large garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons canola oil

3 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon cumin

1 teaspoon oregano

Salt (to taste)

Cilantro (to taste; optional)

Grated cheddar or Monterey jack cheese (optional)



  1. Bring beans and tomatoes to a slow simmer in a large soup pot.
  1. Heat the oil on medium in a heavy, non-stick skillet. Add the onion, carrot and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender (it should take about 8 minutes).
  1. Stir garlic into the vegetable mix. Cook together on medium for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add chili powder and cumin. Continue cooking and stirring for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture just begins to thicken, then turn off heat.
  1. Add the vegetable mix to the soup pot. Add the pumpkin or squash. Bring pot back to a medium simmer. Allow it to continue simmering for 30 minutes to 1 hour; stir often and check to see how far it has cooked down.
  1. Once the chili has thickened up to your desired consistency, salt to taste. If desired, add cilantro (if you do, allow the chili to simmer another 5 minutes, to extract the herb’s essential oils).
  1. Spoon into bowls and serve. Top with cheese, if you wish. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers.


Corn and Canadian Bacon Chowder

1 slice pre-cooked Canadian bacon, diced

¼ cup chopped celery

¼ cup chopped white onion

¼ cup chopped red bell pepper

2 (16-ounce) packages frozen corn

2 cups low-fat milk, divided

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon coarse-ground black pepper

¾ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese



  1. Fry Canadian bacon in a touch of canola oil, over medium heat, until rind is lightly browned. Spoon bacon onto paper towel and set aside.
  1. Add celery, onion, diced red pepper and 1 package corn to frying pan; sauté (in oil leftover from bacon frying) for 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Turn off heat.
  1. Place remaining 1 package corn and 1 cup milk in a blender. Process until smooth.
  1. Add pureed corn-and-milk mixture to vegetables in pan. Stir in remaining 1 cup milk, Canadian bacon, salt, black pepper and cheese. Turn range heat to medium and cook mixture until cheese melts. Stir often and do not allow mixture to boil over.
  1. Cool and serve. Refrigerate leftovers (it won’t freeze well, so plan on eating leftovers in the same week).


Lemon and Rosemary Lentil Soup

6 carrots, diced

1 large onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 bell pepper, chopped

3 cups red lentils

2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

2¾ cups water

1½ teaspoons salt

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon rosemary

⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper



  1. Add all ingredients EXCEPT the lemon zest, lemon juice and rosemary to your crockpot or large soup pot. Cook on low heat for 6 hours.
  1. Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice and rosemary.
  1. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  1. Ladle into bowls. Garnish with additional rosemary or coarse-ground black pepper, if desired. Freeze or refrigerate leftovers.


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Bryan Reynolds
March 05, 2017
Bryan Reynolds is the Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations for Episcopal Retirement Services (ERS). Bryan is responsible for developing and implementing ERS' digital marketing strategy, and overseeing the website, social media outlets, audio and video content and online advertising. After originally attending The Ohio State University, he graduated from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, where he earned a Bachelor of fine arts focused on electronic media. Bryan loves to share his passion for technology by assisting older adults with their computer and mobile devices. He has taught several classes within ERS communities as well as at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute run by the University of Cincinnati. He also participates on the Technology Team at ERS to help provide direction. Bryan and his wife Krista currently reside in Lebanon, Ohio with their 5 children.

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