Chicken Vegetable Soup

I have had a number of letters recently, two just today, from readers wanting copies of the Protein Power Soup Diet plan that was featured in a Woman’s World article in May 2004.

You may remember that the article, which Woman’s World asked us to write, detailed a sort of protein rich, low carb variation on the old Cabbage Soup Diet that circulated widely years back.

(For the Woman’s World address where you can write to get a copy of the original article, if you want it, click here.)

The basic idea of the plan was to eat a nutritious protein breakfast (such as eggs, bacon, and a serving of berries, or a cup of plain yogurt with added protein powder, or a protein shake) then enjoy the ‘Weight Loss Soup’ for lunch and dinner. The soup diet was to be used as a means of getting a quick, tasty and nutritious meal three times a day that kept carbs and calories low, as a means of shedding a few extra pounds over two or there weeks in a No Muss, No Fuss sort of way.

Whipping up a single large pot of soup you can enjoy for several days (or a couple of batches to freeze in portioned servings for a week or more) saves oodles of kitchen/cooking time and makes getting a nutritious meal easier. It also makes sticking to your diet guns easier, since it eliminates the need to consider what to have to eat or perhaps falling into temptation. You just heat up a serving of soup. What could be simpler?

We’re big soup fans anyway, so we provided the soup recipe and some appropriate suggestions for quick breakfast ideas, like the ones above, that they had asked for and the magazine did the rest. Unfortunately, some of the rest of what they did was incorrect and we didn’t get to actually see it until the article appeared in the magazine. For instance, they suggested a quick breakfast of eggs and toast with margarine (!!) which we would never ever have recommended. They threw in additions, such as I think even a bagel (there’s 30 grams of carb!) with some low fat thises and thats and a number of inappropriate snacks, such as a sliced apple (20 grams of carb there) with low fat cheese (yuk!) or something like that. On a low calorie diet, such as this, a few extra carbs probably aren’t going to stall weight loss, but what they may do is promote hunger. Better to add a few more fat grams than carb grams, if curbing hunger is your goal!

I think they might even have suggested a bowl of oatmeal with low fat milk, maybe, and I feel sure a pat of the dreaded margarine. I can’t remember exactly and the copy of the magazine they sent to us has long ago been filed away in a box in storage.

What I do remember, however, is the number of readers who knew our stance on things such as bread and margarine and vegetable oil, who wrote to take us to task over these unofficial additions.

I don’t know how many letters I penned to confused readers explaining that while much of what was in the article was as we’d provided it–the soup recipe for instance–the magazine had taken a lot of ‘literary license’ with other portions and that no, we hadn’t suddenly changed our minds about margarine.

Nowadays what most folks write to us about is the soup; they’ve lost the article and want the recipe for the Protein Power Soup. When the most recent letter showed up on my email screen today, I decided to post the recipe for all to enjoy. Besides, it will make it easier from this point on to direct people wanting the recipe to the blog archives instead of having to answer that same question all over again.

So here it is, all you Protein Power Soup Diet fans, and just in time for swim suit season!

Protein Power Soup Diet Soup

Makes 4 servings.

It’s so quick to make, you may want to whip up a couple of batches at once to last several days. Freeze portions in zip freezer bags or freezer containers if you need to keep it longer.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 clove garlic, diced fine

1/2 small yellow onion, diced small

1 small carrot, diced

2 ribs celery, diced

1 medium (or 2 small) zucchini squash*, diced

1 can (about 14 ounces) diced tomatoes with seasoning (basil/onion, onion/garlic, Italian seasoning, etc)

1 quart chicken broth (with salt and spices if available, if not, add the following: 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon dried basil, 1/4 teaspoon onion powder)

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken tenders, cut into 1/2″ chunks, sprinkled with salt and pepper.

1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley (optional)

1. In a soup pot, sauté onion in olive oil over medium heat. After about a minute add the garlic and continue cooking until they are both translucent.

2. Add the chicken and sauté until opaque.

3. Add the carrot, celery, and zucchini and sauté until slightly softened (about 5 minutes) stirring them often to prevent burning.

4. Add the tomatoes, with their juice, and the broth.

5. Bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer until all vegetables are tender.

6. At serving time, if desired, add a tablespoon or two of chopped fresh cilantro or parsley to brighten the flavor.

Protein per serving = 27.5 grams

Effective Carb per serving = 14 grams

Calories per serving = 345

*Note: This version calls for zucchini, but you could just as easily substitute a cup of broccoli or cauliflower or yellow summer squash or a mixture of all three veggies or a big double handful of fresh spinach leaves for about the same carb cost. I usually use whatever veggies I have the most of on hand or that I need to use up because we’re heading out of town. It’s all delicious and nutritious!


  1. Excellent timing! I saw your soup post moments after starting a chicken carcass in the slow cooker for broth, and there’s some chicken meat in the fridge (cooked in the slow cooker yesterday afternoon). I have been getting our chickens from a nearby farm lately and these truly free-range birds are quite strong and well-muscled (unlike their weak chicken-farm counterparts) and they seem to cook best in the slow cooker, rather than with dry heat methods.

    Additionally, I have a half bunch of kale and lots of carrots from our CSA veggie farm share subscription. Our son can have some Trader Joe’s sprouted wheat noodles added his soup bowl.

    Wow, dinner’s practically done already! Thanks, Anna

    COMMENT from MD EADES:  Glad to be of service ;D  And you’ve hit the nail on the head–use what you have on hand and it’s all good!

  2. Thank you so much for posting this recipe! After doing an internet search today looking for the original Protein Power Soup recipe, I was pleasantly surprised to see your post from June 6, 2007. I cooked several batches in the summer of 2004 and then I lost the article & recipe.

    After posting my comments to you, I’m on my way to the nearby farmers produce stand for fresh yellow summer squash & zucchini. Thanks again! Jean

    COMMENT from MD EADES:  You’re welcome; enjoy!

  3. I can rememeber about 4yrs ago a info mercial about protein power plan. Then it was protein breakfast, lunch and then at dinner it was protein, low carb veggie and then and only then one serving of whatever carb you wanted. Any other time it was sticking to protein or allowable veggie carbs. Do I have this confused with another plan? I liked that plan, but know after reading their new book…….. it has carbs split throughout the day. You seem very knowligble and I was hoping you may know this?
    Luv the soup too. Thanx Heidi Jo

    COMMENT from MD EADES: Not sure what plan you were remembering, but every book we’ve written about our Protein Power nutritional regimen, to date at least, has had carbs spread out throughout the day, including the version sold as The Protein Power Plan sold from 1997 thru 2001 on tv. Glad you enjoyed the soup.

  4. Soup for breakfast.
    A different idea?

    COMMENT from MD EADES: Well, it would certainly be fine to have it for breakfast, but in the Soup Diet that was published in Woman’s World a few years back, there were some breakfast choices more typical of what breakfast usually means to most folks: eggs and bacon, sausage, ham or fish; yogurt with protein powder; protein shakes and the like.

  5. Hi Mary. The above just means I linked to this article from my own blog. The text you see is the text from my own post that actually linked here, it’s known as a ‘pingback’, sorry about the confusion.

    COMMENT from MD EADES: Oh. Thanks. You can see how primitive my blog workings knowledge is!

  6. Wow! Thank you! I always wanted to write in my site something like that. Can I take part of your post to my blog?

    COMMENT from MD EADES: What part did you have in mind?

  7. Hi Mary,

    This looks delicious!

    However, although I’m sure it is something I have missed, I was surprised by the Calorie figure you gave per serving.

    Protein per serving = 27.5 grams

    Effective Carb per serving = 14 grams

    Calories per serving = 345

    My understanding is that protein and carbohydrates both have a bit less than 4 Calories per gram.

    Assuming 4 Calories per gram to be a worst case scenario then I calculate the Calories per serving from these two macro nutrients to be at most (27.5 + 14) * 4 = 166.

    That leaves a conservative guesstimate of 179 Calories per serving unaccounted for.

    These remaining calories would presumably have to come from fat because the other two macro nutrients – carbohydrates and protein – have already been accounted for.

    At (roughly) 9 Calories per gram of fat, this would suggest that each serving has to contain around (179 / 9) = 19.8 grams of fat.

    The recipe looks far too low fat for this to be the case (a single serving containing 1/2 of a tablespoon of olive oil and 1/4 a pound of skinless chicken surely couldn’t amount to this much fat).

    What am I missing?

    Are you including calories found in the fibre (which I always thought was undigestable and thus generally left uncounted).

    If you are supposed to count fibre towards calories, how is this calculated? If not, is that why you use the words “Effective Carb”?

    Or is it simpler than that, does one of the ingredients contain more fat than I might realise? (for instance the chicken broth…)

    Thanks for a great recipe!

    COMMENT from MD EADES: The balance comes from fat and fiber. Although fiber can be deducted from a carbohydrate standpoint, since it’s not ‘effective’ at raising blood sugar or insulin, it does have a caloric burden. In the colon, bacteria digest the fiber and liberate free fatty acids (primarily butyric acid) which are used by the colonocytes as nutrients. So the calories of fiber count, though not as carbs.

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