The Scoop on Soup. Is it healthy?

If your typical salad, or smoothie does not sound appetizing right now, relax— our bodies are designed to crave watery, light and cooling food during the longer, sunnier, summer months and heavier, warmer foods, as the days get shorter and colder.  Soup can be a delicious and healthy option! But... if you are picking up soup at the store, you might want to read these tips on how to select a healthy soup. Many store bought soups can leave you feeling puffy and just ICK.

It is soup season! Well, at least in many parts of the country. We never really know what temperature it will be in Dallas, do we?

If your typical salad, or smoothie does not sound appetizing right now, relax— our bodies are designed to crave watery, light and cooling food during the longer, sunnier, summer months and heavier, warmer foods, as the days get shorter and colder. 

Raw produce helps us stay hydrated when we are sweating more frequently in the heat. Fruits, leafy greens and watery produce, like plump tomatoes, juicy cucumbers and electrolyte-rich celery are naturally more refreshing and satisfying during the summer.

Ever heard the expression: “Cool as a cucumber”? Watery foods bring down our body temperature allowing us to feel more effortlessly light, energized, active and social. 

My point: It is WAY easier to be satisfied by a colorful salad in warmer climates (and also eat less), but seek comfort in heavier foods during the chillier days. A fresh soup could be just what your body needs.

During the winter months, our bodies crave warmth and comfort. When we are sick, we often think of good ‘ol Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup.

“Campbell’s® Condensed Healthy Request® Chicken Noodle Soup is the comforting chicken noodle soup you love developed with your family’s health in mind.”

According to their website.

HOWEVER, store bought soup can be both friend, or foe and YIKES… Modified Cornstarch, Soy protein isolates, yeast, etc. are just not what we want to be consuming with “health in mind.”

The other day a client reached out to me and said: “I am feeling lazy. I don’t want to make anything but I want soup. Are there are any brands you would recommend?”

When you do not want to make a fresh batch of soup from scratch, here are some tips on what to look for in your local grocery store…

Tips for selecting a healthier soup:

  1. When you look at the nutrition facts, start with the ingredients first. Choose a product with the least amount of ingredients. As you scan the ingredient list, make sure they are items that one might easily find in their pantry. Put down any packages with ingredients that cause you to scrunch up your nose. Calcium chloride? Pass. 
  2. Avoid inflammatory oils like: canola, soybean and vegetable oil. These oils are commonly found in packaged goods. Ideally, you would want a soup with no oil, or olive oil. When those are not an option— safflower and sunflower are lesser evils. 
  3. Skip autolyzed yeast and monosodium glutamate (MSG) in your soup. These are toxic ingredients used as flavor enhancers in processed foods to chemically alter our taste buds, ultimately making the food more addictive. If you are eating soup to feel healthier, why add these? Ideally, avoid yeast in your soup. Yeast belongs in bread. Not soup. 
  4. Skip soups with noodles. They are usually enriched wheat products, highly processed and contain bloating gluten. If you would like to add more “bulk” to your soup, try adding a cooked rice, or chickpea pasta to it once your soup is heated. Get more bang for your buck and your nutrition and find soups that are loaded with veggies and savory broth. Not potatoes, corn and pasta. 
  5. There are other ingredients to be aware of, sugar, for instance is in many boxed and canned soups these days. Be sure it is cane sugar and skip any soup, or product, with high fructose corn syrup. If you can, skip the sugar. 
  6. When you can, skip citric acid. It is often derived from mold. Crazy? I know! Psssst. FOND Bone Broth. Legit Ingredients. A great base for a homemade soup, or to sip and unlike most store bought broths, it is FREE of citric acid.
  7. Finally, if you cannot skip the sugar and the citric acid, be very aware of sodium. Unless a soup’s label says “reduced” or “lower” sodium, assume that it is very high in salt. One normal sized can of soup may have an upwards of 1200mg+ of salt. This is more than 50% of our daily value for sodium. Plus, who eats one 8oz serving of soup? Perhaps it is the same group of people that eat just one serving of chips. I do not know about you, but I am not sure I trust the folks who eat just 7 chips. (Wink wink). 

Feel satiated with your soup selection, follow the above guidelines and look for a soup with less than 500mg of sodium per container (not per serving) or you are bound to feel swollen and puffy. Pssst. We like McDougal’s Low Sodium Options.

For more questions about selecting a soup, shoot me an email: lauren@laurengillan.com 

P.S. Cooked foods and many varieties of spices can aid digestion, stimulate circulation and feel more grounding.

If you are set on having a green juice, trying adding a pinch of cayenne, or jalapeño to your recipe. Or! Chase it with a shot of warming ginger. Fresh peeled ginger root might also feel great in your green smoothie.

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