Think your go-to soup is a healthy choice? You may want to take a closer look at the nutrition label. Many soups dubbed as smart picks are actually sky high in sodium.
People typically only look at calories when picking soups, says Lisa Moskovitz, RD, CDN, owner of Manhattan-based dietetic practice Your New York Dietitian, “but it’s important to look at the entire label, especially if you have high blood pressure or cholesterol, which can be aggravated by salty foods.”
Not sure if your favorite broth is a smart pick? Here, we expose the saltiest canned soups and offer mouth-watering alternatives.
CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP
Campbell’s Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup (140 cal/cup, 940mg sodium)
Smarter pick: Campbell’s Healthy Request Classic Chicken Noodle Soup (110 cal/cup, 410 mg sodium)
What’s not to love about this classic favorite? Not only is it the perfect treat to satisfy a comfort-food craving, but it can even boost the immune system. Chicken soup has anti-inflammatory properties that can ease the side effects of the flu or a cold, found researchers at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Campbell’s Healthy Request variety has half the sodium of its saltier counterpart, making it a smart choice—even for those with high blood pressure, says Moskovitz.
Muir Glen’s Organic Savory Lentil (130 cal/cup, 950 mg sodium)
Smarter pick: Amy's Organic Light in Sodium Lentil Vegetable Soup (160 cal/cup, 340 mg sodium)
Lentils are an excellent source of protein, iron, and hunger-crushing fiber, making it a great pick for vegetarians and carnivores alike. Both soups may be organic, but only Amy’s is a heart-healthy choice. While it does tote some extra calories, it has a fraction of the sodium of Muir Glen’s Savory Lentil.
LOW-CAL CREAMY SOUP
Progresso's Vegetable Classics Creamy Mushroom (150 cal/cup, 830 mg sodium)
Smarter pick: Campbell’s Low Sodium Cream of Mushroom (131 cal/cup, 75 mg sodium)
Creamy soups are typically thought of as diet no-no’s, but the right variety can actually be a healthy choice. Skip Progresso’s creamy classic, which has more sodium than a McDonald’s McDouble burger! Instead, chow down on a cup of Campbell’s for an impressive 75 mg of sodium and a quarter of the USDA’s daily potassium recommendation. A potassium rich diet can ward off a number of diseases from high blood pressure to cancer, so dig in!
Muir Glen’s Organic Tomato Basil (130 cal/cup, 880mg sodium)
Smarter pick: Wolfgang Puck Organic Roasted Red Peppers with Tomato Soup (170 cal/cup, 570 mg sodium)
Although Wolfgang Puck’s version of this comfort food classic totes 40 more calories per serving than Muir Glen’s, it has nearly 300 mg less sodium, making it the better pick. Bonus: With 15% of the day’s recommended vitamin A, Wolfgang Puck’s soup may also boost the body’s immunity and promote cell growth.
Worthington’s Vegetarian Chili (280 cal/cup, 1230 mg sodium)
Smarter pick: Health Valley’s Organic Vegetarian Black Bean Mango (210 cal/cup, 460 mg sodium)
Just because this Tex-Mex staple is vegetarian doesn't mean it’s healthy. Worthington’s soup has more than half a day’s recommended salt intake in a single cup! Stick to Health Valley’s tangy mango variety to cut calories and salt, without sacrificing taste.
SPLIT PEA SOUP
Muir Glen’s Organic Homestyle Split Pea (170 cal/cup, 900 mg sodium)
Smarter pick: Health Value’s Organic 40% Less Sodium Split Pea & Carrots Soup (120 cal/cup, 480 mg sodium)
Split pea soup is a great source of belly-filling fiber and protein but Muir Glen’s variety has nearly half a day’s sodium in just one serving. Instead, eat Health Value’s variety. You’ll save 50 calories and consume about half the salt.
Campbell’s Beef with Vegetables and Barley Soup (160 cal/cup, 890 mg sodium)
Smarter pick: Healthy Choice’s Vegetable Beef Soup (130 cal/cup, 420 mg sodium)
Vegetables and barley are typically healthy picks, but when they are part of a soup boasting 800 mg of sodium per serving it’s better to steer clear. Healthy Choice’s variety has half the sodium and is a good source of energizing B-vitamins and fiber, making it a smart swap, says Moskovitz.
ITALIAN WEDDING SOUP
Campbell’s Hearty Italian Style Wedding Soup (140 cal/cup, 650mg sodium)
Smarter pick: Campbell’s Healthy Request Italian-Style Wedding Soup (100 cal/cup, sodium 410 mg)
At 21 grams, this soup has as many refined carbohydrates as two slices of white bread and more than a quarter of a day’s recommended sodium. Consuming too many refined carbs can cause blood sugar crashes, increasing appetite and fatigue, notes Moskovitz. Instead try Campbell’s Healthy Request variety. It has half the carbs and is lower in sodium.
Campbell’s Old Fashioned Vegetable Soup (160 cal/cup, 920 mg sodium)
Smarter pick: Progresso’s Light Italian-Style Vegetable Soup (70 cal/cup, 470 mg sodium)
Vegetable soup is a great source of fiber, but Cambell’s beef-based broth version has nearly 50% of the USDA’s daily sodium recommendation in just one cup! Pick Progresso’s water-based version to cut half the salt and calories. Need another reason to chow-down? Beta-carotene rich carrots—a veggie soup staple— boost the production of white blood cells, helping ward off infections such as cold and flu.
MEXICAN CHICKEN SOUP
Campbell’s Fajita Chicken with Rice and Beans Soup (130 cal/cup, 850 mg sodium)
Smarter pick: Progresso's Light Zesty Santa Fe Chicken (80 cal/cup, 460 mg sodium)
While broth-based soups are a better pick than most taqueria-inspired meal choices, Campbell’s variety is doused with nearly half a day’s salt. Switch to Progresso's variation to cut calories and sodium by nearly half.