Variety of Vegetable Soups: Convenient, Nutritious…Salty

Campbell Soup was one of the few companies not to lose stock value last fall. Why? There’s no reason not to love economical, tasty soup, especially when times are tough and you could use a dose of nostalgia. Soup can also be nutritious if you choose wisely. What’s more, soup’s high water content promotes a feeling of fullness. Whether eaten before your meal or as the meal itself, it can help you maintain a healthy weight.

Vegetable soups, in particular, fill an important nutrition void by contributing as much as a serving of oft-neglected veggies. For example, one cup of almost any soup in Campbell’s Select Harvest line, plus every flavor in its new five-product V8 line, provides one-half cup of vegetables?a full serving. And most vegetable soups offer more fiber and less saturated fat than beef- or chicken-based soups.

As health-conscious consumers seek out low-fat and low-sodium foods, soup manufacturers have responded by reformulating classics as well as developing more than 100 new varieties. Packaging innovations have improved portability’though we might argue that’s not innovation, but a step backwards, environmentally speaking?with single-serve microwavable bowls and easy-to-grab “sipable” microwavable containers. Aseptically processed square cartons, like Campbell’s V8 soups, simplify pantry storage at home.

Savvy Soup Selections

-Choose soups with the most fiber (check the Nutrition Facts), as they tend to contain the most vegetables.

-Select soups with the least sugar and sodium. Sugar adds calories; both mask natural vegetable flavors.

-Sodium-sleuth the Nutrition Facts panel, even if the front label boasts “lower sodium sea salt” or “free of monosodium glutamate.” Sodium still may be higher than you expect.

-Add herbs, spices or garlic to boost the flavor of reduced-sodium soups.

-Toss your own cooked or canned vegetables into ready-made soup as it’s heating. Try low-sodium diced tomatoes, frozen mixed vegetables, frozen peas or any diced cooked vegetable. Or make your own soup.

?Anastasia Schepers, M.S., R.D.

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