Can Canned Soup Be Healthy?
Can canned soup really be healthy? While many are loaded with sodium and fat, not all soups are created equally. There are more healthy options now than ever before; the key is to know what to look for.
Soup can be a wonderful warm addition to your diet in the cold winter months. It’s a great way to sneak in vegetables, plant proteins in beans and peas, and some wholegrains. Another reason to ladle up is soup may help curb your appetite because it can be filling. One study showed that people consumed 20 percent less calories at their meal when they started off with a broth or vegetable based soup.
Canned soup can make a convenient and inexpensive meal that beats eating out every day. By itself it won’t provide the staying power you need for a meal, so pair it with a few wholegrain crackers or half of a sandwich and a piece of fruit. Add frozen vegetables to soups that don’t contain any vegetables or grab a handful of raw veggies on the side.
Be selective when you’re at the grocery store. Zero in on the nutrition label and first pay attention to the serving size because there may be multiple servings per can, yet the nutritional information listed is for a single serving. A quick method is to look for the term “healthy” on the package, such as “Healthy Choice.” This means that by law the product must meet specific FDA standards for less fat and sodium, among other nutrient measures. Here are some specific criteria to make a better choice:
Per one cup serving:
- 200 calories or less – to maintain your daily calorie goal.
- 3 grams of fat or less – for heart health.
- 3 grams of fiber or more – to fill you up!
- 480 mg of sodium or less – for a healthy blood pressure.
The brands that stand out, meeting the above criteria, are Campbell’s Healthy Request, Healthy Choice and Progresso Reduced Sodium. Here’s a sampling of these soups:
Campbell’s Healthy Request, Old Fashioned Vegetable Beef:
- 120 calories, 2.5 g fat, 3 g fiber, 410 mg sodium
- Campbell’s Healthy Request, Whole Grain Pasta Fagioli:
- 90 calories, 0.5 g fat, 3 g fiber, 410 mg sodium
- Campbell’s Healthy Request, Classic Chicken Noodle:
- 110 calories, 2.5 g fat, 2 g fiber (we made an exception for fiber on this one), 410 mg sodium
- Campbell’s Healthy Request, Grilled Chicken Sausage Gumbo:
- 140 calories, 3 g fat, 3 g fiber, 410 mg sodium
- Healthy Choice, Bean and Ham
- 180 calories, 2.5 g fat, 6 g fiber, 480 mg sodium
Healthy Choice, Chicken Tortilla Style
- 140 calories, 1.5 g fat, 6 g fiber, 390 mg sodium
- Progresso Reduced Sodium, Garden Vegetable
- 100 calories, 0 g fat, 3 g fiber, 450 mg sodium
- Progresso Reduced Sodium, Minestrone
- 120 calories, 2 g fat, 4 g fiber, 470 mg sodium
- Progresso Vegetable Classics, Lentil 99% Fat Free
- 140 calories, 1.5 g fat, 3 g fiber, 500 mg sodium (we made an exception to sodium on this one)
Progresso Reduced Sodium, Tomato Parmesan
- 100 calories, 1.5 g fat, 3 g fiber, 480 mg sodium
You might spice up these lower sodium soups with your favorite herbs or spices to enhance the flavors. Leave the salt shaker behind and try sprinkling a dash of pepper, oregano, garlic, basil, parsley, ginger or salt-free seasoning blends like Mrs. Dash or McCormick salt-free seasonings.
Try to stay warm this winter with some healthy and tasty soup.