This post is by OYS writer Melissa. You can read more about Melissa here and see all of her other posts here. Check out Melissa’s blog Nutrition and Wellness for Life. She offers wellness consultation services that focus on helping you eat better and exercise more. She also has a FB page!!
Reading food labels is time-consuming, but it can truly help you make small changes that will help make your diet more healthful. If you missed my post about reading food labels, check it out here. Once you get the hang of what to look for, it does get easier. But to help you out even more, I’m offering a regular monthly series covering different foods we all buy at the grocery store on a regular basis. If there is a food you want me to do a comparison for, just let us know! You can check out my previous comparisons on yogurt, frozen treats, bread, and granola bars here.
This month I am comparing soup. I love soup in the fall and winter months. It’s just so comforting. Plus it’s very filling, and if you eat the right kind of soup, can be very good for your healthy diet. Of course there are soups that can ruin your diet too. The best way to eat soup is to make it yourself. I listed out some favorite homemade soups below. That way you can control the ingredients, add lots of vegetables, and limit sodium. Soup can be made in large batches and frozen for future use. But sometimes you just need to grab something quick and you may not have any homemade soup on hand. Store-bought soups can be a good choice if you read labels carefully.
I used the Shop Well app to help me out with this comparison. If you want to learn more about Shop Well and what it can do, check out this post.
Campbell’s Condensed Soup
I feel like in every one of my food comparisons, the bad choice is a food I grew up eating. Wow, have times changed. Campbell’s condensed soup is quick because you just add water and heat. Now let’s look at stats. For a half cup of soup, you are going to get 60 calories and 2 grams of fat. That’s not so bad, but does anyone eat a half cup of soup? Portion that out…it’s a very small amount. Either way, it’s still relatively low in fat. The biggest problem with canned soup is that it can be really high in sodium. Check out the 897 milligrams of sodium in that little half cup. That’s more than a third of your daily needs. Way too much. Then in the ingredients list we see the added salt and monosodium glutamate, or MSG. Fiber comes in at a measly 1 gram, and protein at 3 grams. You should also notice that the noodles are made of refined grains, not whole grains. And the chicken…I’ve always hated the thought of “mechanically separated chicken…” and there it is! I think we can do so much better than this. Say goodbye to Campbell’s and explore some new soup options.
Amy’s Organic Soup
Amy’s has a lot of grocery items that I have been pleased with, from freezer foods to canned foods. You just need to remember that these are still processed foods, so try to limit them in your diet as much as possible. For one cup of Amy’s Lentil Vegetable Soup, you are looking at 160 calories and 4 grams of fat. This is very comparable to the Campbell’s…remember the Campbell’s stats were for a half cup. In this soup, you are getting a filling 8 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein. Those are nice stats right there. And the sodium? 340 milligrams…less than half of the Campbell’s. In the ingredients list, you will see that everything is organic, and there are a ton of vegetables in there. Enjoy this soup for lunch with a nice piece of whole grain bread and you’re all set.
Dr. McDougall’s Soup
I had never heard of or tried this soup before, but I am always up for a new taste test. Happily, I found this soup at my local Wegmans. This comes in a carton, rather than a can. For one cup of this soup, you will get 140 calories and 0.5 grams of fat, the lowest fat of all of our options. You’re also looking at the high of 10 grams of fiber and 9 grams of protein, and the lowest sodium at 290 milligrams. I am already impressed. Now let’s check those ingredients. It’s a nice short list with a nice variety of veggies. I don’t like things super salty anyway, but this soup tasted great. It had a deep, satisfying flavor and filled me up. Give it a try!
Canned soup may have been a part of your life for a long time now, but it’s time to rethink what you are putting into your body. There are more healthy choices out there if you just explore a little.
If you choose to go the homemade option here are some of our favorites.
Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Chicken and Rice
Healthy Chicken Mexican Soup
Stuffed Pepper Soup
Get Back Into Those Skinny Jeans!
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