5 Nutrient-Rich Canned Soups a Registered Dietitian Always Keeps Stocked in Their Pantry

Photo: Unsplash/Ella Olsson
On weeks when I really don't feel like cooking or (god forbid) meal-prepping, I have an easy solution: Eat soup. Convenient, nourishing, and soul-warming on those chilly winter nights, there's few things curling up with a bowl of steamy hot soup won't cure; as cliché Chicken Soup for the Soul as that may be.

Yet, finding the spare time (or the will) to babysit a pot of simmering liquids can seem nearly impossible during a busy day. That's to say, even though most soup recipes are beginner-level-easy for even the most inexperienced cook, keeping a stash of canned soups on hand for speedy mealtime emergencies is basically a saving grace. But just to make sure we're on the right nutritional track for cozy, midday fuel, we asked two dietitians to name their favorite healthy canned soups on the market.

Experts In This Article

Can canned soup be healthy?

Although not all canned soups are created equal (some are better than others), there are tons of great options on the market. The key? Ensuring the ingredients are up to par with what you'd expect to get from a bowl of homemade soup.

One of the most important factors to be mindful of when scoping out the canned soup selection is whether or not it comes too much sodium. "Canned soup can be extremely high in sodium, and according to the American Dietary Guidelines, the goal is to stay below 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day," says Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, RD, a registered dietitian and author of The Better Period Food Solution. "If you suffer from heart disease or diabetes, you want that goal to be even lower: 1,500 milligrams." The ideal soup, says Beckerman, will have about 400 milligrams of sodium. "That’s less than 20 percent of the total amount of sodium intake a day," she adds.

As with all your meals, you'll want to make sure your canned soup of choice provides a good balance of essential nutrients like protein and fiber. Below, two dietitians name some of the top healthy canned soups that provide nourishment with every sip.

5 healthy canned soups for cozy comfort

healthy canned soups true primal
Photo: True Primal
True Primal Beef Chili, 8-pack — $70.00

“This gluten-free and paleo-friendly soup is made with natural spices and 100 percent grass-fed beef. It’s also gluten free, high in protein [36 grams per pouch], and is packed with colorful and antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies like onions, celery, and tomatoes,” says Beckerman. This budgets out at roughly $9 per meal.

Ingredients: Grass-Fed Beef, Organic Diced Tomato (Organic Tomato, Organic Tomato Juice, Calcium Chloride, Citric Acid), Organic Onion, Organic Tomato Paste (Organic Tomato, Citric Acid), Salt, Organic Paprika, Organic Onion Powder, Organic Cacao, Organic Garlic, Organic Celery, Organic Cumin, Organic Chile Pepper, Organic Oregano, Organic Coriander, Organic Allspice

Nutrition: 540 calories, 27 grams of total fat, 120 milligrams of cholesterol, 950 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber, 36 grams of protein.

kevin's chicken soup
Photo: Kevin's
Kevin's Natural Foods Chicken Soup with Cauliflower Pasta — $8.00

“Kevin’s Natural Food makes fresh soups packed with flavor and quality ingredients,” says Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LD, CLEC, CPT, a registered dietitian based in Charleston. There are five delicious flavors to choose from like Chicken Noodle and Beef & Vegetable. Manaker explains that she finds the ingredients are the most enticing part about their recipes.

“The Chicken Noodle soup is made with real chicken, vegetables, and a gluten-free cauliflower pasta that’s so good,” she says. “It also contains a rich broth that is satisfying and cozy.” Plus, all of the soups are Paleo and gluten-free-certified, and they contain zero sugar. You can find them in the deli section at Costco, Target, Albertsons, and Safeway.

Ingredients: Water, Chicken (Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, Water, Vinegar, Yeast Extract, Sea Salt, Cultured Onion Juice, Black Pepper, Citrus Extract), Cauliflower Pasta (Water, Cauliflower Powder, Potato Starch, Tapioca Starch, Whole Egg, Egg White, Xanthan Gum, Konjac, Salt), Carrots, Celery, Onion, Chicken Stock (Chicken Stock, Salt), Chicken Fat, Tapioca Starch, Yeast Extract, Chicken Stock Concentrate (Chicken Stock, Natural Flavor, Salt, Sugar, Yeast Extract), Dried Chicken Broth, Cultured Onion Juice, Xanthan Gum, Parsley, Spices.

Nutrition (per cup): 110 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 490 milligrams of sodium , 8 grams of carbohydrates, one gram of fiber, 12 grams of protein.

pacific tomato soup
Photo: Pacific Foods
Pacific Foods Organic Creamy Tomato Soup, 12-Pack — $50.00

“Pacific Foods’ creamy tomato soup is my cozy go-to to pair with a grilled cheese sandwich. Unlike some of the old-school canned tomato soup options, this one isn’t packed with questionable ingredients. This soup is made with organic milk, organic tomatoes, and flavorful onions, and tomatoes,” Manaker says.

Ingredients: Reduced Fat Milk*, Water, Tomato Paste*, Cane Sugar*, Sodium Citrate, Sea Salt, Rice Flour*, Cheddar Cheese Flavor (Cheddar Cheese [Pasteurized Milk*, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes]*, Water, Salt)*, Garlic Powder*, Onion Powder*. *Organic Contains: Milk

Nutrition (per cup): 2 grams of fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 340 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, two grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein.

kettle and fire bone broth
Photo: Kettle & Fire
Kettle & Fire Bone Broth, 6-Pack — $42.00

“Kettle & Fire bone broths are made with regenerative agriculture practices to help meet the needs of those who are focused on eating to support both their health and the environment. One container provides a whopping 20 grams of protein and no added sugars. This dairy-free soup is enjoyable when sipped on its own or when used as a base for different other soups,” Manaker says.

The soup comes in other variations too, such as their Mushroom Bisque. “This soup is loaded with 10 grams of protein, zero sugars, and no preservatives, which gives it a thumbs up in my book,” Beckerman says.

Ingredients: Beef Broth (water, grass-fed beef bones, organic onions, organic carrots, organic celery, organic parsley, organic apple cider vinegar, sea salt, organic black pepper, organic bay leaves, organic thyme, organic rosemary), Sea Salt.

Nutrition: 80 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 740 milligrams of sodium, less than a gram of carbohydrates, less than a gram of fiber, 19 grams of protein.

lotus ramen
Photo: Lotus Foods
Lotus Foods Organic Millet & Brown Rice Ramen Noodles with Red Miso Soup, 10-Pack — $23.00

Although this isn’t a canned soup (all you need to do is add water), it’s one of Manaker’s favorite instant ramen noodle finds. “This product checks the box when I need a ramen fix but I don’t want to order in or go out to eat. These noodles are made with organic rice, all ingredients are vegan-friendly, and it’s ready to eat in just four minutes,” she says.

“For extra protein, I like adding Hodo Organic Miso Tofu to this soup. And for a nutritional boost, nori seaweed sheets and/or spinach can be added to this soup too. Pro tip: just wait to add these veggies close to the end of cooking,” Manaker says.

Ingredients: Ramen – Organic brown rice flour, Organic millet flour. Soup Pack – Red miso powder (soybeans, rice, salt), tamari powder (soybeans, rice, salt), salt, onion powder, dried wakame seaweed, garlic powder, ginger powder, dried parsley, dried chili pepper, chili powder.

Nutrition: 140 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 460 milligrams of sodium, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein.

Boost your immunity with this vitamin-rich carrot soup or make this easy three-ingredient soup:

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