Italian soup

(Image credit: unknown)


2 pints of water – for stock
100g pasta (works well with short-cut macaroni)
225g can of mixed beans
1 courgette, diced
1 onion, finely chopped
3tbsp tomato puree
1 vegetable stock cube
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp of fresh parsley
1-2tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

How to make it (serves 4)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and let it cook for about ten minutes without browning. Then add the diced courgette and garlic, and cook for another minute. Combine the vegetable stock cubes and water to make the stock. Add the tomato purée and parsley, stir for one minute and then pour in the vegetable stock and the beans. Simmer gently for an hour, or until the beans are tender. Then season with salt and pepper, pour half of the soup into a blender and blend until it is smooth. Now return the puréed half to the pan, bring back to a gentle simmer, add the pasta and simmer for 10-12 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the pasta is cooked. Serve with a sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan.

Per portion: 201 cals; 3.8g fat; 9g protein; 35g carbs

What you get

Mixed beans

If you’re feeling tired and lacking in energy, you might not be getting enough iron. It’s found in most beans and pulses but it is not always well absorbed by the body. The vitamin C in the tomatoes aids absorption.


Macaroni is low in fat, high in carbs and has a low glycaemic index, so it’s released slowly into the body, keeping blood sugar levels balanced and energy levels up.

Tomato purée

Tomato purée is much higher in vitamin C than chopped tomatoes and this will help to absorb iron.


Courgettes provide B vitamins needed for the release of energy from carbohydrate.


Dr Sarah Schenker is a dietitian, sports dietitian and public health nutritionist, who has worked with Jamie Oliver on his Feed Me Better campaign, Premiership football clubs including Chelsea FC and Tottenham Hotspur, and various government committees.

Sarah co-authored the book The Fast Diet, has written other books including My Sugar Free Baby and Me and Eating Fat Will Make You Fat, and has contributed to the Mail Online, the Huffington Post and many others. 

Sarah is a member of the British Dietetic Association, Nutrition Society, Association for Nutrition and the Guild of Health Writers.