Many years ago, I joined Weight Watchers in an effort to try to lose some extra pounds. I was pretty successful at that program, and really liked the philosophy behind it. The program has gone trough several revisions since I was a member so I’m not quite sure what it entails now, but at that time you were allowed a certain number of “points” per day, and were able to “spend” them however you wanted. Vegetables were all zero points, fruits were 1 point per serving and all other foods were given a point value based on their nutritional content. So, if you wanted to eat a Big Mac for lunch, you could, but you might find yourself eating vegetables for the rest of the day if you spent all your points in one meal! It was all about balancing your choices. Going out for a fancy/heavy dinner? Balance it out with a lighter, healthier lunch!
Anyhow, all this is to say that I remember a lot of the things that Weight Watchers taught me. Every week you would get a little recipe card with a new, healthy recipe to try. I don’t really remember making many of the recipes, but I do remember everyone touting this “Zero Point Vegetable Soup.” It could be a literal life saver if you blew all your points early in the day (or knew you were going to blow them all later!).
I don’t remember exactly what was in this magical Weight Watcher’s recipe, or even if it would still be considered zero points, but my version is packed with tons of vegetables all swimming around in a low-calorie vegetable broth. It clocks in at around 60 calories per cup, is super filling and really tasty. I made a giant pot with plans to bring it for lunch. Paired with a healthy salad or sandwich and it truly is the perfect lunch.
Hearty Vegetable Soup
Makes 6 2-cup servings (120 calories per serving)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 large carrots (or about 25 baby carrots), peeled and sliced thinly
- 4 large stalks of celery, sliced thinly
- 4 medium parsnips, peeled and sliced thinly
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 medium zucchini, sliced thinly
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 cups vegetable stock
- Salt and pepper to taste
*You can adapt this recipe to use whatever veggies you like and/or have on hand. You are aiming for about 6-7 cups of chopped vegetables.
- Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium high heat.
- Add onions, carrots, celery and parsnips to the pot, and saute for about 5 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, zucchini, and garlic to the pot, and saute for another 5 minutes.
- Pour the vegetable stock into the pot. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.