Sneaky Canned Soup: Tips To Keep It Healthy
19 September 20, 2011
Snack Girl has been asked multiple times about canned soup and I couldn't bring myself to research the topic. Why?
Well, I make this chicken noodle soup (see: Low Calorie Comfort Food - It Exists!) and I don't like canned soup. BUT, I understand that there is a need (college students without kitchens, people who hate to cook, etc.) to eat them.
I went out and spent some time in the soup aisle at my local supermarket. In fact, I was there for such a long time that the management called security :) Yeah, there are a ridiculous number of brands, flavors, prices.....aaaah!
What did I find out? The first thing that hit me over the head when looking for a low calorie soup was this:
See that cute bowl of Campbell's in the top photo? It states "60 CALORIES" on the front of the soup container - but there are 120 CALORIES in that bowl. The container looks like one serving but it is actually TWO.
This was true of all the soups that I looked at - there are 2 servings in a can of soup. Most of us would eat the entire can at once - it fills a standard size bowl - and what are you going to do with the leftovers?
Secondly, there is a serious issue of sodium amounts in these soups. On average your daily amount of sodium should be between 1500-2300 mg. If you ate the entire bowl of "Select Harvest Vegetable and Pasta" soup - you would consume 1300 mg of sodium or over 50% of your recommended daily amount.
This was also true of soups that said "low sodium" on the front of the can. They had between 400-500 mg of sodium PER SERVING - which means about 800-1000 mg for the can. (someone actually filed a lawsuit against Campbell's because of their bogus low sodium claims)
Finally, I tried the Campbell's Vegetable and Pasta and I subsequently poured it down the drain. I have one word for this soup - yuck.
I kept searching for something healthy (would I give up on you guys?). I visited the "Natural Foods" area of the store and scoured the shelves for a healthy soup - and I found one!
See the "Health Valley Organic" in the above photo? It has no salt added (really) and was packed with vegetables that actually tasted like vegetables. I ate the whole can after I added a wee bit of salt.
Here are the nutritional facts for the ENTIRE can:
200 calories, 5 g fat, 36 g carbohydrates, 6.0 g protein, 8 g fiber, 100 mg sodium, 5 PointsPlus
I have to say that for a canned soup this was great! You could mix it with other higher sodium canned soups for a saltier (but not too salty) canned soup experience.
What about cost? The Campbell's Select Harvest set me back $2.65 and the Health Valley Organic was $2.99. I think that was 34 cents well spent.
Here are my tips for choosing a canned soup:
- Stay away from CREAM soups
- Watch the serving size on the package
- Avoid high sodium soups or just don't eat them very often
- Find one that you really like
How do you deal with the canned soup aisle?
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