Canned soup may not be the most glamorous of foods, but there’s nothing more convenient than the ease of heating and eating when you open the can on a busy weeknight or for a workday lunch. Canned soups keep in your cupboard for ages, so even if you completely run out of fresh ingredients, having a few options on hand can keep you from eating less nutrient fast food. If you are looking to lose weight, the combination of convenience and a long shelf life is a major plus.
In fact, although canned soups have a bad reputation for their high sodium content, the right choices can be surprisingly healthy—not to mention weight loss. As a nutritionist, I’m always happy to share my tips on choosing the ones that will help, not hinder, your weight loss goals.
First, you’ll need to keep an eye on some of the items specified on the Nutrition Facts label, starting with the calories per serving. Although counting calories can be a very restrictive weight loss strategy, calories are of course important. My advice: Look for a canned soup that has about 400 calories per can or less. For most people, this is enough to make soup as a real meal.
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While it may seem that calories per serving are the most important value to eliminating, the equation for losing weight is more than cutting back. I recommend Consider the soup’s fiber and protein content as well. Studies show that high fiber intake is associated with lower body weight. What is this, you may ask? Some research shows that fiber increases feelings of fullness, making us eat less. Meanwhile, fiber acts as a “food” for the healthy bacteria in your gut. A thriving microbiome has been linked to a lower body mass index (BMI).
Getting enough protein in your diet is another essential component of losing weight. Protein promotes satiety (aka the feeling of fullness) more than carbohydrates and fats, while also increasing the body’s metabolic rate. This is where not many canned soups serve. Many are very low in protein, so always take a look at this entry on the nutrition label of your favorite pack.
Looking for an example of a canned soup that checks all weight loss boxes? Try a warm bowl of Amy’s Organic Pea Soup, Light with Sodium. With only 120 calories per cup (and 200 in the entire box), it’s so low in calories—so low, in fact, that you might want to supplement it with a salad or a side of whole wheat bread to complement your meal. She adds a whopping 5 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein per serving to the weight loss pro package.
Not only is this split pea soup a convenient option for weight loss, it also comes with some extra bonuses as well. One serving provides only 13% of the daily value for sodium — a far cry from many of the sodium bomb-canned soups you’ll find on grocery shelves.
Plus, its organic ingredients are a better choice for the environment than conventional ingredients. If you live with a food allergy or intolerance, this soup will likely remain on your menu, as it is free of gluten, dairy, lactose, soy, corn, and tree nuts. Last but not least, the basil, garlic, and bay leaf flavors are delicious and spoonful.
Whether weight loss is your goal or you just want a bowl of warm flavor, you can’t go wrong with this hearty classic.
For more soup tips, read the following: