4 Ways To Make Canned Soup Healthier

4 Ways To Make Canned Soup Healthier

Carol Harrison Healthy Leftovers, Healthy Lunch Ideas, Recipes Leave a Comment

Canned soups are convenient and as a kid, canned tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches was one of my favourite lunches once the nippy cold weather hit.

Dietitian’s Tip

Nutrition data in Canada shows that 10 groupings of foods/beverages accounted for over half (55%) of all sodium we eat. Soup was second only to the pizza/subs/sandwiches category. About 90% of kids get too much sodium. A preference for salty foods could put them at future risk for higher blood pressure.

While I prefer to make homemade soups because I can control the ingredients (see 5 tips to make a hearty and healthy soup), I do buy canned soups from time to time. And I use these tricks to make them healthier:

1. Buy canned soups less often, make homemade soups more often.

That’s a simple way to cut sodium out of our family’s diet right off the bat.

2. Choose lower sodium options.

Skip the sodium claims and go right to the Nutrition Facts Table. Why? Even as a dietitian, I can’t rattle off what those sodium claims stand for. Want a laugh? Actually it’s more sad than funny. See the chart below for all the salt claims. It’s clearly not your fault if you find labels confusing!

  1. Free of sodium or salt
  2. Salt-free
  3. Without Salt
  4. Contains no sodium
  5. Low in sodium or salt
  6. Low sodium
  7. Low source of sodium or salt
  8. Lightly salted
  9. Reduced in sodium or salt
  10. Lower in sodium or salt
  11. Sodium reduced
  12. Less salt
  13. Reduced in salt
  14. No added sodium or salt
  15. Without added sodium
  16. No added salt
  17. Unsalted

What to buy? Aim for 360 mg sodium or less per serving. Broth-based vegetarian soups with beans or lentils tend have less salt (and more fibre) than creamy ones. Kids only need 1000-1500 mg sodium per day.

3. Healthy add-ins:

  • Frozen, leftover or fresh quick cooking vegetables like spinach;
  • Canned or cooked beans, chickpeas, lentils or peas;
  • Leftover whole grains (barley, brown rice, quinoa);
  • Bite-size pieces of leftover cooked fish, meat, poultry, or homemade veggie-beef meatballs, or canned salmon or tuna.

4. Use milk instead of water in creamy soups.


Check out:

Would love to hear from you!