It’s that time of year when a hot soup is the perfect solution to all your troubles. Minestrone is a great soup choice as it contains a good mix of veggies, protein and carbohydrate with lots of fibre and little to no fat. This week I’m going to compare four Italian-style minestrone soups, so the next time you’re in the supermarket you know what to look for. Our contenders are: Campbells, La Zuppa, Heinz and Pitango.
For many years, packaged soups relied on salt for flavour. Too much salt can be harmful, particularly for your blood pressure, so making your own soup was always a better option.
These days many brands are trying accommodate a more health-conscious consumer by lowering salt levels. These four soups contain between 270-329mg of sodium per 100 grams of soup, which is considered to be a moderate amount. Keep in mind that a normal serve of soup is around 250 to 300 grams, so if you’re tracking your salt levels, you would need to at least double this. As a general rule, try to stay away from any soup containing over 400mg of sodium per 100 grams as they’re considered high in salt.
Protein is another important consideration. As the body can’t store protein, we should be aiming for some with each meal. The protein source in these soups is from legumes, which are an excellent meat alternative and good source of protein. Many soups, especially the creamy and meaty varieties, contain high amounts of protein, but also have high amounts of fat. When shopping for packaged soups check the fat levels and go for the brands with the smaller numbers.
For those with coeliac disease, you don’t have to live without minestrone in your life. La Zuppa caters for you. This gluten-free soup doesn’t skimp on flavour and is available in single-size microwavable cups for a warm meal.
In an ideal world we would be making our own soups at home. A minestrone soup is quick and easy to make. By keeping the skin on your veggies for the extra fibre, and using herbs rather than salt you can make a healthy, flavoursome soup that can be cooked in bulk and frozen.
But if you’re short on time and just want a quick meal option, a healthy canned minestrone soup can be a good way to go, especially compared to the take away that you may be otherwise tempted to grab. I’d be happy to eat any of these four options, but I’d probably opt for Pitango as it’s highest in fibre – which also means that it’s going to be filling. Obviously you need to consider your own unique nutritional requirements though. Enjoy!