Here at KT Tape, we know the importance of proper nutrition. As an athlete, when you dont eat well, your body can break down and injuries may occur. Should an injury occur, theres kinesiology therapeutic tape by KT Tape to help mend your aches and pains but it all starts with what you put into your body. Its winter and after a hard workout you need something warm to refuel you for the rest of the day. When it's cold outside, there's nothing better than a good ol soup to help you out. Homemade soups can be a hearty way to get all the carbohydrates, protein and veggies you need to keep your body pumping in top form. We found an article from RunningTimes.com by Jackie Dikos on how soup is the perfect partner for any athlete. What could such a meal be that can withstand the demands of arduous training and satisfy your hungry palate? Well, its a meal you can sneak in an ingredient you normally shy away. On the flip side, its perfect for making a favorite ingredient shine. It can be ready in less than 25 minutes, or it can build flavor all day long. It can make for a rich, creamy, stick-to-your-ribs meal, or be light and refreshing before an afternoon workout. The French call it potage. I call it a pleasant feast. This could-be source of outstanding nutrition, a one-meal wonder, is good old soup. This versatile dish can be made hot, cold, light, heavy, fancy or boring. The best part of a wonderful meal of soup is the nutritional punch that can be packed into each slurp off your spoon. This wholesome meal can trick you into getting more fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that a sandwich and pretzels may leave you without. Pay attention to how you want your soup to fit in the meal. Filling your soup with black or garbanzo beans, sweet potatoes, corn, and peas add a carbohydrate-fueling punch to the meal. Use skim milk in the base to add extra calcium missing from a busy day. If you want things on the lighter side, settle for a nicely hydrating broth-based soup filled with a colorful array of vegetables to complement a colorless side sandwich. You can obtain protein from your beans and milk, but the soups protein content and flavor can be enhanced with shredded chicken, fish, beef, tofu, and cheese. Souped-Up Smells Being trained on what kind of foods will support good health and maximize training is one thing. When it comes to the right combination of ingredients, confidence can fall short in using the right spice, herb, or seasoning. One trick to making a successful soup is to rely on the way things smell. Sniff your way in reaching the verdict on what to slip in the pot. Over time you can smell your way to an understanding of what smells work best with what basic soups. Thyme, rosemary, sage, and garlic will become favorites when smelling your way to delicious soups and stews. Use recipes as a guide. Though you may not find every ingredient in the cabinet, a recipe can provide the foundation of what flavor combinations work well together. If you fancy a particular soup when dining out, try recreating a healthified version. Investigate similar recipes and recreate your favorite soup at home. Last but not least, throw in the vegetables you normally dont have in your daily meal planning. Chop in a turnip, pumpkin, collard greens, asparagus, and beets. Seasoning with fresh herbs and garlic only adds to the immune-boosting power of the savory pot of goodness. Soup doesnt have to be filled with salt. Learn how herbs and seasoning magnify the flavor of soup without all the added salt. The effort put in to a good pot of soup is often minimal compared to the vast array of nutrients found in a well-made soup. Your low-fat soup filled with rich color is your own homemade multivitamin. The natural source of nutrients will be well absorbed and carry a much more pleasing flavor. Enjoy your next bowl of low-fat, hearty soup; your body will thank you. Recipe for Black Bean and Pumpkin Soup Ingredients 1 medium onion, finely chopped 1 T. olive oil 28 oz. reduced sodium chicken or vegetable stock 1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes 1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained 2 15-oz. cans pure pumpkin puree 1¼ c. fat-free half and half 1 chicken breast, boiled and finely shredded 1 T. curry powder 1/8 tsp. cinnamon 1/8 tsp. nutmeg 1½ tsp. ground cumin ¼ - ½ tsp. cayenne pepper Salt to taste Directions: In a large saucepan over medium heat add oil and onion. Cook 3-5 minutes until tender. Add stock, tomatoes, black beans, pumpkin puree, and half and half to combine. Add chicken, curry, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cumin. Add ¼ tsp. of cayenne and taste; add another ¼ tsp. of cayenne based on desire kick for the recipe. Let cook 5-10 minutes until fully heated. Servings per recipe: 6 Nutrition information per serving: 174 calories, 3.25 gm. fat, 17 gm. protein, 7.5 gm. Fiber While soups are a quick, easy, and delicious option for a power packed meal, we suggest staying away from store-bought canned and prepackaged soups as they usually contain a staggering amount of sodium and preservatives. Opt for homemade soups that you can control what ingredients you want to put into it. Plus you can simply freeze leftovers and take out and thaw for a later meal. Jackie Dikos, R.D., is a 2:45 marathoner and mother of two. All of her Fueling the Runner articles can be found at http://runningtimes.com/fuel.