How We Chose Healthy Canned Soups
Manufacturers have come out with countless waistline-friendly options that can warm you up without filling you out. Because many labels are more than misleading, we’ve done the dirty work and combed through the dozens of picks on your supermarket shelves to find Eat This-approved soups.
Each of the healthiest canned soups is:
- less than 200 calories
- less than 870 mg sodium
We’ve listed many of the popular flavors, as well as ranked the building blocks that you’d use to whip up your own favorite recipe at home. Don’t have a killer go-to soup recipe yet? Make it one of these best-ever fat-burning soupsand take it easy with the salt shaker.
Healthiest Minestrone Soup: Amy’s Organic Light In Sodium Minestrone Soup
Both options are low in sodium, but only canned soup is worth eating: Amy’s Organic . Minestrone soup is supposed to be teeming with vegetables and a rich broth, not riddled with additives like corn syrup, natural flavor, caramel color, soy lecithin, and faux-thickening-agent calcium chloride like in Progresso’s option.
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Buy: Spindrift Sparkling Water
We don’t have to tell you that sodas and sweetened juices are bad for you even what you find lining Whole Foods shelves. “When you’re craving a flavored beverage, opt for one of these instead of a sugar-sweetened soda since they’re made with real fruit juices and are low in sugar,” Silberman said.
Buy: Sea Salt Pipcorn
You might recognize this delicious snack from “Shark Tank.” It has exploded since appearing on the show and for good reason. “With just three clean ingredients, non-GMO popcorn, olive oil, and sea salt, this popcorn boasts five grams of fiber and six grams of fat per 2.5 cup serving,” Silberman said.
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The Best Of Soup Season: 7 Must
Warm up with some of our favorite soup recipes.
- Lindsay Robison
This long-standing comfort food is just the thing for a quick and easy dinner solution or to simmer the day away. And if youve got the time, go the extra mile and make your own homemade vegetable broth or chicken broth . Warm up with seven of our favorite soup recipes. Read on.
1. Mexican Chicken SoupFeeding a crowd? This easy-to pull-together dish is flavorful and easy to double or triple for a group. Make hosting look easy by serving in a large pot with garnishes spread around in beautiful bowls. Your secret can be that you got Animal Welfare Rated Air Chilled Split Chicken Breast for a steal at just $2.99/lb from 2/28 3/6/18*. And if its party, pick up a few 6-pks of Modelo Especial beer its on sale . 2. Barley Soup with Beef and MushroomsBeef and barley are a classic soup pairing for a reason. Shake up the favorite flavor profile with rutabaga for rich, earthy flavor . And dont scrimp on the mushrooms.
Is The Bone Broth Made With Slow
Youve heard the saying you are what you eat. But youre also what the foods you eat ate. In other words, if your bone broth is made with the bones and tissue of animals that had been treated with hormones and antibiotics, youll be ingesting those chemicals, too, and tthose chemicals may affect the healing potential of the broth.
If youre looking for beef bone broth, youll also want to check that, in addition to being grass-fed, the cattle were also grass-finished. This ensures they ate a grass diet throughout their entire life span, which means their bones are going to be much higher in anti-inflammatory Omega 3 essential fatty acids than cattle that were also fed a mixture of soy and corn.
Many people arent aware that grass-fed beef is an unregulated term, and it can mean that the animal was raised for the first few months on a grass diet and then fed soy and corn in their later years. Since corn and soy are higher in pro-inflammatory Omega 6s, this makes a huge difference in the Omega 3:6 ratio and the nutritional value of the bones.
Lets not forget that soy and corn arent natural foods for cattle to be eating. This wreaks havoc on their digestive systems, which results in more antibiotics to keep them healthy enough to make it to slaughter.
As we like to say, killer bones make killer broth. The first thing to look for in a quality bone broth is that its made with organic animal bones, such as chicken bones or grass-fed, grass-finished beef bones.
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Im Obsessed With Whole Foods Chicken Tortilla Soup
Just because the nearest Whole Foods is two hours away from Northwest Arkansas, doesnt mean that we cant participate in its awesomeness.
Whenever Im in Tulsa or North Little Rock or wherever there is a Whole Foods, I make a beeline to the soup station. Their chicken tortilla soup packs such a KA-POW of flavor that I just may be addicted to it.
Ive been known to dream about it.
And drool in my sleep when dreaming about it.
My heart is now racing.
Okay, you may be wondering, how can we participate in Whole Foods awesomeness since it is so far away?
Lets talk about that chicken tortilla soup and the KA-POW factor. Its good.
Realllllly out-of-this-world delicious.
Its easy to make, too. And fast. Perfect for today.
Want the recipe?
Serves 4 to 6
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 serrano chile, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 can diced tomatoes
Salt and pepper
2 cups water
1 tablespoon lime juice, more to taste
1/4 cup grated Monterey jack cheese
1/4 cup crumbled yellow corn tortilla chips
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
Youre going to love this, so enjoy!
Best Bouillon Cube: Better Than Bouillon Reduced Sodium Chicken Base
If you’ve ever examined a bouillon cube’s ingredient list before, you’ve most likely noticed that salt is often the first ingredient. That really shows in Knorr’s version, as just a half a cube racks up over half a day’s worth of the stuff, leaving you more than parched for a glass of detox water. Not to mention, it’s loaded with five versions of MSG, potentially trans-fat-laden hydrogenated palm oil, caramel color, artificial colors Yellow 5 and 6, as well as TBHQa corrosion inhibitor also used in biodiesel. Instead, grab a broth concentrate like that from Better Than Bouillon . This stock is super-reduced until it’s just a paste-like product that’s packed with flavor. Our pick is made up of real chicken meat with natural juices, spices, only one source of MSG, and colored with turmeric instead of coal-derived artificial colors.
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Healthiest Chicken Noodle Soup: Pacific Organic Chicken Noodle Soup Reduced Sodium
Ingredients you want to see in the best chicken soup: cooked chicken, chicken broth, peas, carrots, spices. Ingredients you don’t want to see: potassium chloride, maltodextrin, yeast extract, carrot juice concentrate, sugar, flavoring, xanthan gum, carrageenan, and a slew of others. Just because both options are low sodium doesn’t mean they’re both good for you. Pick up Pacific’s organic option over Campbell’s if you don’t want to sip on the same contents that are found in a food scientist’s test tube.
Buy: Mooala Strawberry Bananamilk
From pea protein to cashew, there are countless milk alternatives. Unfortunately, most are filled with added sugars. “Beeline for this option,” Ferraro said. “It’s the first-ever strawberry plant-based milk alternative and it’s made with real bananas and strawberries, plus it’s nut and dairy-free, has only five grams of sugar per serving, and most of that sugar is naturally occurring from real bananas and strawberries.”
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A Complete Ranking Of The Best Store
From the condensed chicken-and-stars soup we slurped down as a kid to the styrofoam cups of instant ramen we still occasionally eat when were pressed for time at lunch, store-bought soup has been a mainstay of our diets, and its always good to have some stashed in the pantry. Soup is a criminally underrated lunch and dinner option. Its super low-maintenance, which is great news for parents who are strapped for time.
The soup aisle can be intimidating, though. There are so many options, from brands to flavors, and if you want to go outside of your chicken noodle comfort zone, it can be difficult to pick out a soup for dinner. Because there is definitely a huge discrepancy in quality when it comes to the premade soups you can buy at the grocery store. We set out to find out which canned, cartoned and otherwise ready-to-serve soups at the store are actually worth buying. These are some of our favorites.
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Buy: Whisps Tomato Basil Whisps
A salad is always a healthy option until you drench it with high-caloric dressing, fried crisps, and a long list of other unhealthy culprits.
“Look for innovative salad toppers at Whole Foods, like Tomato Basil Whisps, which are airy, baked cheese crisps that are also an excellent source of calcium and a good source of protein,” said Katie Ferraro, MPH, RDN, CDE.
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Healthiest Black Bean Soup: Pacific Organic Spicy Black Bean And Kale Soup
Looking for some protein without the beef? The beans in these soups deliver big time. But even more so if you’re grabbing a carton of Pacific’s organic as opposed to Amy’s. They both offer options with Eat This-approved ingredients, but Pacific is lower in calories, sodium, and sugar, and higher in protein than their organic comrade. For more meat-free options, check out these best vegetarians sources of protein.
Chicken Noodle Soup Mix
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Skip: Eggs From The Salad Bar
If you’re in a pinch and can’t stay away from the salad bar, there is one big no-no: eggs.
“Get a large egg from the bar and that means you’re likely to pay well over dollar for it,” The Nutrition Twins said. “If you get a dozen eggs at most Whole Foods locations it’s about $3.49, or 29 cents per egg.”
Bone broth is a major, though expensive, trend. Go the packaged route at Whole Foods, and, at least compared to special ity broth stores, you can save money.
“These satisfying and hearty organic soups pack in seven to 10 grams of protein per serving all from organic free-range chicken and fiber-filled, plant-based sources such as lentils, chickpeas, and beans,” The Nutrition Twins said. “Most bone broths don’t come with plant-based protein and fiber or the range of flavors that you can find in these shelf-stable soup cartons that are quick and easy.”
Skip: Blue Diamond Nut Thins Crackers
These might not be the worst thing you can buy, but that doesn’t mean they deserve a place in your shopping cart.
“While they’re low in calories and have a generous serving size, they’re also low in protein and only have one gram of fiber,” said Leah Silberman, RDN. “When I recommend crackers, I like to see that they have at least three grams of fiber per serving.” Fiber is the indigestible part of a carb that not only gives you energy, but keeps you feeling full.
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Does It Contain Additives Or Preservatives
Next up: additives and preservatives. When you make a traditional bone broth at home, youll probably add herbs, vegetables, spices, apple cider vinegar , and maybe a dash of sea salt and pepperand thats it. Simple, right?
A high quality bone broth will be a pure bone broth, just like Granny made itwithout additives and preservatives. And yes, this is possible for shelf-stable broths.
For example, some of the top-selling bone broth protein powder products in 2017 tested positive for chemical additives, heavy metals, and other carcinogens. Of course, youll never find these additives listed on a food labelbut its worth mentioning, as youre more likely to ingest chemical additives with powdered food products than when you consume them in their whole form.
However, this isnt to say premade liquid bone broths are guaranteed to be free from additives and preservatives. Some have been found to contain yeast extract or lactic acid.
Buy: Bread And Baked Goods
They’re not the healthiest part of a diet, but they’re inevitable, and Whole Foods helps with portion control by offering to slice their breads.
“Bread, cupcakes, cakes, and cookies are baked fresh on site daily at Whole Foods, and the prices are comparable to the premade stuff so you don’t have to break the bank to get fresh breads and, they never use any refined sugar, artificial flavors, or bleached flour,” said Dr. Lindsey Elmore.
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Healthiest Bone Broth: Pacific Organic Chicken Bone Broth
Sipping on bone broth is a great way to heal your gut. After animal bones are simmered in water, their collagen turns into a rich broth full of gelatin. “When we ingest it, it acts as an intestinal Band-Aid, protecting and healing the lining of the digestive tract which aids digestion and helps us absorb extra nutrients from the foods we eat,” explains nutritionist Lauren Slayton, MS, RD. Besides the fact that Pacific’s bone broth is lower in calories and sodium than that of Kitchen Basics, we also like their addition of cider vinegar to the brothwhich Slayton also recommends. Apple cider vinegar is another ingredient that will further improve your digestion thanks to it containing active enzymes.
Skip: Whole Foods Market Chocolate Truffles
No one thinks truffles will improve their waistline, but three of these tiny ones pack in a whopping 170 calories and two teaspoons of sugar.
“Women should get less than six teaspoons of added sugar a day and men should get less than nine teaspoons,” The Nutrition Twins said. “In a country that is seeing exponential increases in diabetes and obesity over the years, these truffles won’t help the problem.”
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Best Soup On The Go: Campbell’s Healthy Request Chicken & Mini Round Noodles Soup
If you’re grabbing a cup to go, use Campbell’s “Healthy Request” label as your go-to guide. This series of soup choices differs in that they’re lower in blood-pressure-raising sodium. Saving 570 mg of sodiumor about 25 percent of your daily recommended intake of sodiumis definitely worth the extra gram of sugar Campbell’s adds to make up for lost flavor .
Healthiest Garden Veggie Soup: Progresso Light Vegetable Soup
Because veggies are low-cal and full of hunger-quelling fiber, vegetable soup is one of the most waist-friendly meals around. Not to mention, it’s also chock-full of other beneficial vitamins and nutrients. But vegetarians beware: just because it says “garden vegetable” doesn’t mean it’s solely full of veggies. Campbell’s choice has both chicken broth, chicken fat, and beef fat. Progresso’s option is by far the best canned soup in this round. It’s completely vegetarian and contains fewer carbs and less sugar than Campbell’s offering.
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Skip: Salads From The Salad Bar
We’d all love to be Martha Stewart in the kitchen , so we’re the first to see the appeal in Whole Foods’ salad bar. That convenience, however, can prove expensive.
“If you want to make it a robust salad stuffed with veggies other than lettuce, you’ll pay a pretty penny about $8 to $9 per pound, which can easily turn a salad that costs you $5 to make at home into a $25 splurge,” said The Nutrition Twins, Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT, and Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFT, nutritionists and authors of “The Nutrition Twins’ Veggie Cure.”
Look For Bone Broth On The Label
When you go to Whole Foods, youll find bone broth, stock, and regular broth all in the same aisle. You want to make sure the label clearly states bone broth. Regular broth or stock isnt made with slow-simmered bones, so it wont contain collagen or gelatin. Youll also want to make sure that chicken, beef, or turkey bones are listed under the ingredients.
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