Ready-to-eat soups: watch sodium levels, add your own veggies

A steaming bowl of soup is the perfect meal. But the time required for it to simmer for hours on the stovetop is a luxury we don’t always have.

Ready-to-eat soup to the rescue! Prepared soups, however, are one of the highest sodium-containing foods at the grocery store. Fortunately, many soup companies have been attempting to create tasty soups with a lower sodium content, therefore, enjoying a premade soup on occasion can fit into a healthy eating plan.

Once you’re aware of the sodium content, another important aspect to keep in mind is the serving size. The serving size for soups is considered one cup, however it’s not uncommon for people to eat an entire can in a sitting. However, by doing so, you’ll be increasing the nutrients you’re consuming, both beneficial, but more importantly, those you should be limiting such as sodium and saturated fat. Adding additional low sodium foods to the meal will help provide a filling meal that doesn’t go overboard in those limited nutrients.

Here are a few ideas to make enjoying a supermarket soup once in a while a bit healthier:

Check the base: To help keep the saturated fat in check, look for broth-based instead of cream-based soups.

Round out the meal: To enjoy ready-to-eat soups and have a satisfying meal, consider adding whole grain crackers and fruit to your meal. These will help fill you up while boosting nutrition.

Use leftovers: If you have any leftover veggies or beans in the refrigerator, or any frozen veggies, consider adding them to the soup as it heats. This addition boosts both the dietary fiber and the protein content, and may keep you feeling fuller longer.

Environmental Nutrition is the award-winning independent newsletter written by nutrition experts dedicated to providing readers up-to-date, accurate information about health and nutrition.

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