1-Week Cabbage Soup Diet

One week cabbage soup

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 60 mins
Total: 80 mins
Servings: 7 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
80 Calories
1g Fat
18g Carbs
4g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 7
Amount per serving
Calories 80
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 731mg 32%
Total Carbohydrate 18g 7%
Dietary Fiber 6g 22%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 73mg 364%
Calcium 128mg 10%
Iron 2mg 8%
Potassium 675mg 14%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The cabbage soup diet is often used to jump-start a long-term diet plan. It was one of the original "soup diets" that became popular in the 1980s, and if you're going to diet, you might as well have a delicious recipe. This basic cabbage soup is an excellent choice and can be made with beans, ground meat, or chicken if you're not dieting. Cook the soup on the stovetop for about an hour or combine everything in the slow cooker and cook all day on low.

The diet plan centers around the cabbage soup, which is eaten throughout the week. In addition, it begins with a few days of fruit and vegetables and with little or no protein. Then, bananas and skim milk are added. Later in the week, beef or chicken and rice are added along with the soup.

By consuming low-calorie and low-fat foods, the diet burns fat fairly quickly. It's not recommended as a long-term diet but as a means to get you started. How much weight you lose will depend on your metabolism. If you have any special health concerns or dietary restrictions or issues, you should speak to your health care professional before starting any diet, including this one.

1:24

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Ingredients

  • 6 large scallions, sliced

  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped

  • 1 or 2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes

  • 1 bunch celery, sliced

  • 1/2 head cabbage, chopped

  • 1 package dry onion soup mix (such as Lipton)

  • 1 or 2 cubes bouillon, optional

  • 1 (48-ounce) can tomato-based vegetable juice (or 6 cups water)

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Curry powder, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, optional for seasoning

  • Parsley, optional for seasoning

  • Garlic powder, optional for seasoning

  • Paprika, optional for seasoning

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for cabbage soup
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  2. Add the scallions, bell peppers, tomatoes, celery, cabbage, onion soup mix, and bouillon, if using, and tomato-based vegetable juice to a soup pot or slow cooker. 

    Add tomato-based vegetable juice and vegetables
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  3. Cover and cook on low in a soup pot on the stove for 1 hour or in a slow cooker for 5 hours.

    Cover and cook on low
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  4. Add the salt, curry powder, and any optional seasonings, and continue cooking for a few minutes on the stovetop or 1 to 2 hours more in a slow cooker. 

    Add salt and curry powder
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  5. Eat all the soup you want. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge and reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.

    Cabbage soup diet
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 

Tip

  • The recipe calls for curry powder "to taste," but if you're not familiar with cooking with curry powder, you might not know what sort of quantity to start with. If you're unsure, try 1/2 teaspoon initially, and add more later, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, if it needs it. 

Recipe Variations

To embellish this basic recipe, try adding an extra ingredient or two (diet permitting), such as:

  • 1 pound browned ground beef or ground turkey.
  • Zucchini or summer squash.
  • 1 can drained Great Northern, navy, red, pinto, or black beans.
  • Leftover diced ham or corned beef.
  • 1 can condensed (or double-strength) beef broth or condensed French onion soup instead of bouillon.
  • 1 cup chopped fresh spinach or kale.
  • 1/2 cup diced or thinly sliced carrots.
  • Diced cooked bacon, garnish.

The Diet Plan

The cabbage soup diet allows you to eat all of the cabbage soup you like in addition to adding certain foods on specific days throughout the week. No bread, alcohol, or carbonated beverages, including diet sodas.

  • Day 1: Any fruit except bananas.
  • Day 2: Any and all vegetables, baked potato with butter for dinner.
  • Day 3: Combine Days 1 and 2 without potato.
  • Day 4: Up to 6 bananas, skim milk.
  • Day 5: 10 to 20 ounces of beef or skinless chicken, can of tomatoes, 6 to 8 glasses of water.
  • Day 6: All the beef or chicken and vegetables you want.
  • Day 7: Brown rice, unsweetened fruit juices, and vegetables.

How Does the Cabbage Soup Diet Help You Lose Weight?

In general, soup diets focus on reducing calories and fat for several days. This can lead to quick weight loss and shedding a few pounds, helping some people stay motivated to eat healthier as they move on to a long-term diet. The cabbage soup provides many essential nutrients, and it can increase satiety, helping you feel fuller, so you eat less. However, diets like this should only be temporary because they do not include all food groups and can lead to nutrient deficiencies.

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Article Sources
The Spruce Eats uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Zhu Y, Hollis JH. Soup consumption is associated with a reduced risk of overweight and obesity but not metabolic syndrome in US adults: NHANES 2003-2006PLoS One. 2013;8(9):e75630. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0075630