How Much Salt is in Your Soup?

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ChowderHave you ever taken a good look at the Nutrition Facts panel for your soup?

Even if you already know all about what sodium bombs most soups are, have you asked that question of your clients lately?

The fact of the matter is that most canned and boxed soups are ridiculously high in sodium. Here are just a few quick examples...

  • 1 cup of chicken noodle soup: 1780 mg sodium
  • 1 cup of vegetable beef soup: 860 mg sodium
  • 1 cup of tomato soup: 750 mg sodium

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans advise people to "Reduce daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) and further reduce intake to 1,500 mg among persons who are 51 and older and those of any age who are African American or have hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease."

Broccoli SoupWhy?

Let's turn to the guidelines again. They assert "On average, the higher an individual’s sodium intake, the higher the individual’s blood pressure. […] Keeping blood pressure in the normal range reduces an individual’s risk of cardiovascular disease, congestive heart failure, and kidney disease. Therefore, adults and children should limit their intake of sodium."

But you know all this already. The question is, how can you help your clients reduce the sodium in their diets?

Soup is a great place to start. I mean, look at the stats above! The sodium in a single cup of chicken noodle soup is more than roughly half of the U.S. population should consume in a single day. That's crazy. But many soups are like that, even the ones with reduced sodium. Yes, I'm serious. A cup of reduced-sodium cream of mushroom soup still packs a whopping 1300 mg of sodium, while a cup of reduced-sodium chicken noodle soup contains 1320 mg of sodium.

The answer to reducing the sodium in a bowl of soup is to make that soup at home. It's easier than your clients may think!

Hearty Chicken StewFor inspiration, here are my top 5 favorite soup recipes. They are perfect for cooking demonstrations or speedy handouts. You can also prepare samples at home and then bring them to your next session. The samples make equally-good health fair booth lures. Which will you try first?

These soups aren't just tasty and healthful either, no, they're also low in sodium. Here's the breakdown of sodium content in a cup of each soup...

Let's end with a closer look at one of these totally tasty soups. If you like what you see here, remember to get your very own copy of the free handout today. You can email it to your clients or print off copies for your next workshop. It's a great recipe -- one of my very favorites!

Creamy Tomato Soup


  • TomatoSoup1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 can low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups diced Pomodoro tomatoes, with no added salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon chopped basil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Dash of granulated garlic
  • Black pepper to taste


  1. Sauté the garlic, onion, carrot, and celery in the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until golden, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil.
  3. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook until the veggies are tender, about 15 minutes.
  4. Purée the soup with a hand-held blender or by adding a cup at a time to a blender or food processor. Make sure not to overfill the food processor or splash soup on yourself.
  5. Serve hot.

Nutrition Information:

Serves 6. Each cup serving contains 64 calories, 3 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 49 mg sodium, 9 g carbohydrate, 2 g dietary fiber, 4 g sugar, and 2 g protein.

Each serving also has 40% DV vitamin A, 18% DV vitamin C, 5% DV calcium, and 5% DV iron.

What do you think? Want to try this soup? Here's the free handout, complete with recipe!

Creamy Tomato Soup HandoutAnd there's always lots more in the Nutrition Education Store. Here are some great new arrivals!

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