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Choosing the Best Canned Soup

Written on December 21, 2011 at 1:01 pm , by

 

alphabet soup

Photo by iStockphoto

By Kati Mora, RD for DietsInReview.com

As the weather turns colder, nothing quite hits the spot like a bowl or cup of delicious soup. Homemade soup is typically the most nutritious option for when you’re on a diet, because you have total control over which ingredients you add or omit from the mix…but it’s not always possible on a hectic day.

When canned soup is more convenient, knowing how to determine which ones are your best choice is important. Not all canned soups are created equal, so here’s what to look at on the label:

Fat
Cream-based soups are often higher in fat than their broth-based counterparts. Although this is an admitted generalization, you can be sure you are choosing a soup low in fat by checking the label. If your soup has 3 grams or less of fat per serving, consider it a low-fat choice.

Sodium
Canned soups are notorious for their often high sodium content. Again, broth-based soups are typically lower in sodium than cream-based options, but this may not always be the case. You’re best bet? Soups that have 360 grams of sodium or less in each serving.

Fiber
If you can, try to grab a can of soup that has at least 10% of its daily value of fiber. Most Americans don’t get enough of this very important nutrient. Plus, the more fiber your soup has, the more likely it will keep you feeling full.

Vitamins and Minerals
The more nutrients your canned soup has, the better. Look for soups that have plenty of vegetables, beans, and lentils. These ingredients can increase the amount of vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, and protein your soup has and help you more easily reach your daily nutritional needs. Plus, bean- and lentil-based soups are often higher in fiber and lower in sodium than other soup varieties.

Look for the Word “Healthy”
Soups that use the word “Healthy” in their brand name are required to meet specific guidelines. Brands such as Healthy Choice, Campbell’s Healthy Request, and Healthy Valley must keep sodium levels below a certain threshold, as set forth by the Food and Drug Administration. This means that these food may have a lower sodium option than others; however, it is still important to turn the can around and determine for yourself whether the sodium levels in each can meet your own specific requirements for health.

MORE from DietsinReview.com: If you do want to prepare your own healthy soup, try these recipes. It’s easy to spend some time on the weekend making a big batch (or two), filling single-serving containers, and then freezing or refrigerating for the perfect brown bag lunch during the week.

 

Cooking Superstar Curtis Stone’s Favorite Feel-Good Meal

Written on November 8, 2011 at 1:34 pm , by

Lauren chatted with Curtis Stone about healthy recipe tweaks and cold-fighting tips. (Photo courtesy of Vicks)

Written by Lauren Cardarelli, editorial intern

America’s favorite Aussie-native chef, Curtis Stone, had us smitten with his accent and tousled blonde locks. Most commonly known as the heartthrob in an apron on The Biggest Loser, Curtis has melted both hearts and fat with his fresh take on lean cooking.

We chatted with the father-to-be (girlfriend and former FITNESS covergirl Lindsay Price is due in the next few weeks) at a Vicks event, as he is appearing in a healthy living webisode series for the cold and flu-fighting brand. Stone shared details about lightening up dishes, his workout routine and, keeping with the Vicks theme, what food makes him feel better when he’s under the weather. Here’s what we learned:

  1. Lighten up any meal. “Food is always about your mood and it’s about the atmosphere you want to set…Decadence doesn’t mean it has to be fattening or over the top,” he says. Stone’s ideal light meal? A seafood salad to start with crisp white wine, followed by a main course of grilled pork chops with sage and prosciutto. For dessert, it’s a must to end with a bit of chocolate!
  2. The bod of one of People’s “Sexiest Men Alive.” Being on the road can be tough when it comes to an exercise schedule, yet Stone gets a sweat in outdoors no matter where in the world he is. “If I’m in New York and I’m staying in a hotel, I might go for a run or a walk. If I’m in L.A., I surf quite often. I don’t have a regime. Occasionally I’ll go to the gym in the winter if there’s nothing to do outside.”
  3. Chicken noodle soup—it’s good for the soul. Cold season is here and with it comes bland, canned soup. Forget the lackluster broths! Take your bowl up a notch by adding natural ingredients and seasonings. “I think food plays an incredible role in making you feel good, whether that means it fixes an ailment or not, who knows,” Stone says. “When I’m feeling sick, I want a nice, hot soup maybe with a little bit of spice. I find that can kind of clear me up a little bit.” For an Asian spin, Stone suggests adding in a little ginger and garlic. Besides tasting great, both are packed with important vitamins and minerals!

Click here to find a granola and smoothie recipe from Stone (see the caption), as well as video demos of him putting these simple dishes together.

Now tell us: What’s your go-to pick-me-up when fighting a cold or flu?