Winter has officially arrived, and it is starting to get bitterly cold! When inches upon inches of snow trap us in our homes for a much-needed snow day, you might go to the crock-pot to make something warm to keep the chill away. Stews and soups have always been a favorite meal, and for a variety of reasons. Soup is great for anyone on a budget, for convenience in a busy life, or for big families with multiple mouths to feed. However, you might find yourself using canned soup to aid in making the perfect dish during those cold days. You might not be aware of how much sodium is in a serving of soup, let alone the whole can (yes there are multiple servings per can)! Some recipes call for canned soups, and some of these choices (such as cream of mushroom or cream of chicken) have very high amounts of sodium.
Did you Know? One can of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup has 2,125 mg of sodium (and that's before you've added milk). That's your entire day's sodium in one bowl!
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) recommends that the average adult gets around 2,300 mg of sodium per day. Continuous high amounts of sodium in the diet can lead to health problems such as high blood pressure. This can be a big problem if you frequently use canned soups for recipes.
There’s no need to give up on using canned soups entirely, but there are ways to reduce at least some of the sodium.
Get comfortable looking at the food label. All packaged foods are required to list the amount of sodium per serving, so give the nutrition facts panel a quick check.
Statements like “reduced sodium” or “heart healthy” don’t always mean it’s a good choice. For example, reduced sodium soup can still have nearly 700 mg of sodium per serving! If you have the choice, select a "low sodium" soup or broth. Those varieties will be <140 mg of sodium per serving
If you can't find low sodium soups, aim for soups that have 400 mg or less of sodium per serving.
Another tip is to add ½ cup of additional water to each cup of soup during cooking. This doesn’t change the taste much and lowers the amount of sodium in each serving.
Lastly, add fresh or frozen vegetables or grains to soups. Adding vegetables like onions, garlic, carrots, etc. add a lot of flavors, with no extra sodium.