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Highlights | Soup for thought 

  • Making soup can have therapeutic benefits.  
  • Soup can bring friends, family or community together. 
  • A good soup can be nutritional and nourishing. 


It’s that time of year again — we’re dusting off the rain boots and pulling out our favorite sweaters. There are many beautiful aspects of the winter, but the cooler, damper weather can also come with more introversion, the desire for connection and the need for satisfying, warm meals.  

So, what can help that craving? While there are a variety of holiday favorites, the answer is surprisingly simple: a good bowl of soup. 

On the surface, a bowl of soup may seem like a meal only meant to soothe the sniffles or warm the belly. But the benefits go much further than that. Here are three reasons we’ve added soup to our winter-at-home menus.  

Making soup is like therapy

Okay, maybe not that good, but the process of making and eating soup does have incredible therapeutic qualities. Preparing the ingredients, making the perfect broth and eating the final product can be both relaxing and a true labor of love.  

If you have a busy schedule, you can take time in the morning to throw a quick stew in the crockpot before heading to work. If you’re home during the day, you can have the pot simmering on your stove while you work or take care of other tasks.  

Knowing you have a warm meal waiting for you at the end of the day can sometimes be the light at the end of the tunnel that pushes you through to the evening. 

“Especially in a time where our work is really challenging, how we’re asked to continuously show up, it’s nice to be able to create a good meal,” says Anne Browning, PhD, assistant dean for Well-Being at UW School of Medicine.  

Soup is meant to share

Soup, by nature, is rarely a meal to be enjoyed alone. One great aspect of the meal is how many people a single pot can feed. Whether you feel community most when working together with friends or family to create a satisfying stew, or if you’re more of a host who enjoys inviting loved ones to your home to pour a bowl over good conversation, it’s clear this meal leaves us with a brilliant metaphor: When we bring together the things we love the most, it creates the most warm, satisfying experience.  

“I love the idea of the big communal pot and something that can go the distance of feeding however many folks you have show up,” Browning says. “During the pandemic when I couldn’t see my parents indoors, we had soup together on the porch outdoors at a distance, and it felt like we were able to have a meal together. Getting to have soup gave us the opportunity to connect when we had to stay distanced from each other.”   

Soup is nourishing

Thankfully, soup is as tasty as it is nutritious. It’s every grandmother’s favorite remedy to reach for the chicken broth the moment she hears a sneeze or sniff. And while a nourishing meal is ideal, the diversity in soup types allow you to choose how healthy — or not — you want your meal to be. 

“It’s the healthiness, the unprocessed ingredients and the time and love and care you put into it that all contribute to making a good soup,” Browning says. “Depending on what you put in it, you can get some healthy benefit.” 

Planning your next soup night

Hungry yet? If so, next time you head to the store, we recommend looking up a good recipe and calling some friends or family for a soup night. Between the therapeutic qualities, the social and community benefits, and the nutrition aspects, your next bowl of soup is sure to be a reminder of how it feels to be completely warm, full and loved.    

More food for thought