Fall is in the air.  It is that time of year when we start thinking of bringing out our crock pots or in general, a want for warmer foods like soups.  Soups are great as they can be easy to make, affordable, filling, and sustainable, as it is a good way to use up veggies in your fridge, or boil that bone you had from a turkey, chicken, or roast.  From broths, broth based, too thick creamy soups, there are many different types.  They all have their advantages or disadvantages in some cases.

Broths are great to help hydrate you when feeling a little off and broth=based are more substantial and thick creamy soups can be a full meal on their own.  If you are watching your calories, then broth-based would be a better choice than thick creamy soups.   Depending on if you purchase your soup from a grocery store or if you make homemade, can also make a big difference.  Usually, thick creamy soups can be laden with high fat and not really that healthy.  But if homemade you can control the type of fat and other ingredients to make it healthier, even if higher calorie.  If not making homemade and purchasing from a store, there a few things to look out for.   Soups high in sodium can cause you to retain water and high-calorie soups won’t be as effective for reducing the total amount of calories you consume at your meal. For example, here are some ready-to-eat canned soups as per 100 grams.

  • Chicken noodle soup: 36 calories -143 mg sodium – 1.2g fat
  • New England clam 56 calories – 417mg sodium 1.4g fat
  • Ham and bean sou: 231 calories – 187 mg sodium – 1g fat
  • Pumpkin Soup: 121 calories – 517mg sodium – 5.8g fat
  • Creamed potato: 104 calories – 416 sodium – 5.6g fat

You can see some big differences in the above soups.  It depends on what your goals are with the soup.  If it is very nutrient dense being both higher in fat and sodium, but you are using that particular soup intended as a meal, it can be perfectly fine.  Although there can be some big differences between the thick creamy soups amongst themselves ingredient wise.  Healthwise, choose ones that have healthy ingredients as avocado, olive oil, plain yogurt and or different vegetable-based purees like mushroom, pumpkin or butternut squash, compared to heavy starches as potato or heavy thickeners as cream, butter or cheese.   

However, if you are looking for soup to help with weight loss, then there is a pattern to what type and when to eat your soup.  A broth-based soup 30 minutes before you plan to eat your main meal, will give you time to finish your soup and let your stomach register the food.  This will help you feel a bit fuller before you eat your main course. It should help you eat smaller portions of the more calorie-dense foods on your plate. For even better results, eat other low-energy-density foods on your plate, such as non-starchy vegetables, before you eat your protein or starchy foods.  The fiber will bulk and also help fill your stomach a bit more.  

Although beware, adding soup to the beginning of your meal won’t help you lose weight if you don’t consume fewer calories overall. You need to create an energy deficit to lose weight.  3500 calories = 1 lb so you need to eat less each day or exercise more.  This could be achieved by eating between 500 and 1,000 fewer calories per day to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week or expending that same amount of energy to equal those extra calories through exercise. 

*If this article or any past articles leaves you with questions, the want to be a better you, the courage to take the first step to a happier you, than please contact me at: 

Mikkie Nettles, Certified Personal Trainer/Holistic & Sports Nutritionist
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