Is Canned Soup Good for You? It Can Be – With These Dietitian Tips!

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Can canned soup be good for you? That’s a common question as the seasons change and cold weather kicks in, along with the desire for comforting, warm foods. The answer: It can be! First, it’s a good idea to know what to look for on labels so you’re starting with a soup that’s both convenient and nutritious. From there, you can easily boost nutrition and flavor with some simple tips.

Question of Is Canned Soup Good for You Represented by a Dozen Bowls of Different Soups Together on Table |

Choosing healthy canned soup options

1. Check the salt

High sodium (a.k.a. salt) content is the number one issue with canned soups. While there are many nutrition myths out there, this one is, in fact, usually true. The good news is that many food manufacturers have altered their recipes and now offer lower sodium varieties. Some brands, such as Health Valley Organic, even make no-salt options. For a soup to be considered low sodium, it needs to contain 140 mg of sodium or less per serving.

Having a hard time finding either of those? Settle for a reduced sodium option containing approximately 500 mg sodium per serving (which is equivalent to 25% of your daily salt intake limit).

2. Stick with unsaturated fats

If selecting a cream-based soup, you’ll want to glance at the saturated fat content, aiming for a soup that is less than 5% of the daily value per serving. Excess consumption of saturated fats is linked to increased cholesterol levels, so taking this extra step will ensure that your soup choice is heart healthy.

Another option is to select a broth-based soup, as it likely contains minimal to no saturated fat. Plus (bonus!), these soups often have nourishing properties along with additional protein.

3. Choose simple ingredients

Flip that can around and read  the ingredients list. Canned soups are meant for convenience – open, heat and eat. But you don’t want to compromise health for convenience. By reading the ingredients, you can feel comfortable knowing the soup aligns with your health goals. Avoid soups with too many additives or heavily processed ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup and monosodium glutamate.

4. Avoid bisphenol-A (BPA) cans

Some canned soups still are made with a plastic lining that contains bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical additive that can seep into food and has been linked to health problems. Opt for boxed soup varieties or simply select canned brands that use a BPA-free lining.

How to give soup a healthy boost

Now that you know how to find a healthier canned soup, use these tips to boost the nutrition! Be sure to check the nutrition facts panel to identify the serving, as often there 2 to 2.5 servings per can.

Plant-based power

Beans and legumes are recommended in just about every healthy diet – and for a good reason. They are low in saturated fat and high in fiber, keeping you feeling full, optimizing your heart health and balancing your blood sugars. Yet many individuals are still not regularly consuming beans. Therefore, it’s almost always a good idea to add additional beans into your soup. Eden Organic is a great brand that offers no-salt-added canned beans to keep on hand. Simply open, drain and add right in.

Very veggie

The more colorful your diet, the better. Toss any type of vegetable into your soup to not only boost nutrition but also texture and flavor. Some retailers like Kroger sell frozen vegetable blends specifically made for soup so you can easily add 10 vegetables into any soup. Vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber and flavor!

Creamy goodness

Add the creamy texture without the fat by incorporating an unsweetened dairy alternative, such as almond milk, into your soup. Dairy alternatives are often fortified with vitamin D and calcium, packing an additional nutrition boost. Not a fan of nut milks? Try mashing or blending a white bean variety, such as great northern beans, and then adding it to your soup. It’ll provide the benefits of the beans (mentioned earlier) in a different texture form while increasing the thickness of the soup.

Herb’s the word

Dried herbs are fine, but fresh herbs make the biggest flavor impact. Add thyme and rosemary to chicken noodle soup. Add cilantro to tortilla soup. Add parsley to Italian-flavored soup. Get creative here!

Go for grains

Many soups contain noodles or rice, but they often lack fiber. To increase the nutrition as well as satisfaction, you can add a whole grain yourself. Farro is our top pick as it contains a similar texture to rice, but boasts higher protein and fiber content.

Warm comforting soups can be a great addition to a healthy diet. Now that you’re well equipped with the tools to navigate the soup aisle, you can feel confident choosing an option that’s convenient, nutritious and flavor-packed. Bon appetit!