Anyone who follows my work will know that I am a massive fan of soup. Not only is consuming vegetable / broth based soup linked to both calorie and weight control but soup is the ultimate nutritional boost especially when based on nutrient rich vegetables and good quality stock. Now, in an ideal world, we would all cook our own pot of delicious soup each week but the truth is that making a large batch of soup, which you do not always get around to eating, can be expensive and time consuming. So, if you do need some quick and easy soup options to grab on the run, here is a summary of the different types, and how to make the best choices nutritionally.
Please note this is not a complete list of the best rather a snapshot of what is out there.
Packet soups or ‘Cup of Soups’ are the cheapest and most processed soups which simply require you to add water for a low calorie, powdered soup that is quite salty and does not offer much nutritionally. The new La Zuppa range is significantly better from an ingredient perspective, but you would argue that in general packet soups are not an overly nutritious food option. In general anything with >600mg sodium per serve is high, and some varieties may also use MSG (621) as a flavour enhancer.
La Zuppa Vegetable & Bean
Vegetable Broth (41.7%), Vegetables (43%), Legumes (6%), Chicken Stock, Water, Tomato Paste, Salt, Pepper
Cal: 65cal | Protein (g): <1g | Carbs (g): 3g | Sugars (g): <1g | Sodium (mg): 429
Continental Sensations Roast Chicken
Thickener (1412), Vegetables (2.7%), skim milk, cream, creamer, glucose syrup, mineral salts, maltodextrin, chicken (5%), milk, sour cream, starch, vegetable oil, yeast extract, salt, mineral salts, wheat flour, sugar, herbs, natural flavours, food acids, garlic, natural colours, pepper.
Cal: 180cal | Protein (g): 1.7g | Carbs (g): 14.3g | Sugars (g): 1.8g | Sodium (mg): 725
Continental Italian Minestrone
Tomato (57%), Vegetables (14%), Noodles (11%), Maltodextrin, Corn Starch, Sugar, Salt, Parsley, Sunflower Oil, Flavour, Flavour Enhancers (621 (MSG), 635) Mineral Salt, Colour.
Cal: 147cal | Protein (g): 2.6 | Carbs (g): 31.5 | Sugars (g): 7.4 | Sodium (mg): 725
Tetra Packs/ Bowls
As a general rule, soups found in tetra packs tend to be better options nutritionally as they require fewer additives to keep them fresh and textured. Look for options that contain plenty of vegetables and <20g total carbs per serve or the soup becomes a meal. Again be careful of the sodium amounts as these can be as high as 1300mg per serve or more than half your upper daily recommended limit. The bowls in particular tend to have the highest levels of sodium and again, the fewer the ingredients, the better and La Zuppa Pouches (not bowls) which are also gluten free are the standout nutritionally.
La Zuppa Kale, Quinoa & Vegetable
Chicken Stock, Lentil, Onion (8%), Sweet Corn (5%), Kale (4%), Brown Rice, Quinoa, Herbs
Cal: 92cal | Protein (g): 5.2 | Carbs (g): 12.2 | Sugars (g): 2.9 | Sodium (mg): 694
Hansell’s All Natural Pho
Water, Konjac Noodles (15%), Beef (8%), Onion, Salt, Sugar, Spices, Fish Sauce, Red Chilli, Garlic, Coriander, Basil Leaves
Cal: 48cal | Protein (g): 4.5 | Carbs (g): 6.0 | Sugars (g): 1.7 | Sodium (mg): 740
Campbell’s Simply Soup Winter Vegetable
Vegetables (78%), Water, Butter, Modified Maize Starch, Sugar, Salt, Skim Milk Powder, Yeast Extract, Spices, Herbs, Natural Flavours, Natural Food Colour
Cal: 121cal | Protein (g): 2.6 | Carbs (g): 20.2 | Sugars (g): 8.9 | Sodium (mg): 613
McKenzie’s From the Kitchen Country Pumpkin & Lentil Soup
Vegetables (52%), Water, Sugar, Rice Flour, Salt, Vegetable Protein Extract, Curry Powder, Thickener, Black Pepper
Cal: 160cal | Protein (g): 7.2 | Carbs (g): 26.4 | Sugars (g): 14.0 | Sodium (mg): 1320
Heinz Soup of the Day Spanish Chicken
Tomatoes (52%), Red Kidney Beans (13%), Marinated Chicken (8%), Dextrose Monohydrate, Thickeners, Capsicum, Onion, Carrots, Potatoes, Celery, Cornflour, Sugar, Jalapeno Peppers, Spinach, White Vinegar, Olive Oil, Salt, Yeast Extract, Spices, Garlic, Red Chillis, Anchovies
Cal: 270cal | Protein (g): 15.9 | Carbs (g): 34.0 | Sugars (g): 16.3 | Sodium (mg): 1180
Campbell’s Chunky Beef
Vegetables, Water, Beef (10%), Beef Stock (7%), Modified Tapioca Starch, Vegetable Protein Extract, Salt, Potato Starch, Mineral Salts, Yeast Extract, Food Colours, Garlic, Flavours
Cal: 227cal | Protein (g): 15.4 | Carbs (g): 27.4 | Sugars (g): 5.3 | Sodium (mg): 1264
La Zuppa Creamy Chicken & Vegetable Bowl
Chicken Stock (59%), Vegetables (37%), Chicken (4%)
Cal: 146cal | Protein (g): 9.2 | Carbs (g): 20.2 | Sugars (g): 0.8 | Sodium (mg): 1386
The nutritional quality of canned soups differs significantly with some containing plenty of sodium and fillers and others packed with high levels of protein (>10g) and vegetables so you are always best to go back to your labels. Canned foods will always contain more sodium than fresh foods.
Rosella Classic Australian Chicken and Vegetables
Water, Vegetables (35%), Chicken Breast (4%), Thickener, Onion, Chicken Flavour, Salt, Yeast, Milk Powder, Mineral Salt, Pepper, Basil, Colour
Cal: 107.5cal | Protein (g): 5.8 | Carbs (g): 19.0 | Sugars (g): 3.0 | Sodium (mg): 750
Heinz Chunky Beef
Vegetables (43%), Marinated Beef (15%), Potato Starch, Maize Thickener, Hydrolysed Vegetable Protein, Yeast Extracts, Soy Sauce Extract, Natural Flavours, Salt, Natural Colour, Spice, Herb.
Cal: 144cal | Protein (g): 11.1 | Carbs (g): 15.6 | Sugars (g): 3.7 | Sodium (mg): 860
Campbell’s Roast Chicken & Vegetable
Vegetables (54%), Chicken Stock, Chicken (4%), Potato Starch, Cream, Modifed Tapica Starch, Salt, Sugar, Vegetable Protein Extract, Garlic, Flavours, Yeast Extract, Flavour Enhancer, Mineral Salts, Soy Protein, Maltodextrin
Cal: 134cal | Protein (g): 5.1 | Carbs (g): 19.2 | Sugars (g): 4.7 | Sodium (mg): 602
Campbell’s Country Ladle Butternut Pumpkin
Pumpkin (54%), Vegetable Stock, Potato, Modified Tapioca Starch, Cream, Salt, Sugar, Butter, Flavours, Vegetable Protein Extract, Spices, Yeast Extract
Cal: 99cal | Protein (g): 3.3 | Carbs (g): 15.2 | Sugars (g): 8.3 | Sodium (mg): 673
Campbell’s Café Chicken Mushroom
Chicken Stock, Wholegrain Brown Rice, Great Northern Beans, Wild Rice (4%), Mushrooms (4%), Chicken (3.5%), Thickeners, Vegetable Oil, Salt, Sugar, Cream, Vegetable Protein Extract, Flavours, Soy Protein, Milk Solids, Garlic, Herbs, Thyme, Flavour Enhancers, Mineral Salts, Yeast Extract, Food Colour
Cal: 134cal | Protein (g): 7.0 | Carbs (g): 16.8 | Sugars (g): 2.0 | Sodium (mg): 675
With the exception of the La Zuppa Tetra range, fresh soups tend to be the pick of the bunch for both clean ingredients and vege content. Check your labels though as a number have pasta and rice to bulk them up and you are always better to spend on vegetable and protein content rather than high carb options to get the most out of your soup.
Woolworths Home style Chicken & Vegetable
Water, Vegetables (33%), Chicken (15%), Thickener, Canola Oil, Tomato, Sugar, Salt, Chicken Flavour Stock, Spices, Colour, Soy, Garlic, Herbs, Spices
Cal: 152cal | Protein (g): 12.9 | Carbs (g): 13.5 | Sugars (g): 3.9 | Sodium (mg): 630
Pitango Pumpkin with Ginger
Purified Water, Pumpkin (34%), Carrot, Potato, Onion, Salt, Sugar, Ginger, Garlic, Sunflower Oil, Olive Oil, Coriander, Fennel, Black Pepper.
Cal: 94.3cal | Protein (g): 3.0 | Carbs (g): 19.5 | Sugars (g): 9.0 | Sodium (mg): 777
*A range of different soup flavours was randomly chosen for this comparison.
**Soups selected were sourced at a local Woolworth’s supermarket
***The author of this article is not affiliated with any of these products, nor was she paid by any of these companies for product review