Comforting, rich in vitamins and minerals, soup is a must for winter meals. You can find many of them all prepared in stores. But are they also good for your health? Which one to choose? Should you opt for a velvety soup or a ground one?
- Does soup count as a portion of vegetables?
- In brick or a bottle?
- Ground or smooth?
- What are frozen soups worth?
- What about instant soups?
- Is it necessarily a dietary option?
- What are the pitfalls?
- Should I prefer organic soup?
- What should I use to complete the meal?
In bricks or bottles, frozen or not, organic, dehydrated… soup comes in all forms. So much so that sometimes you don’t know where to look in the supermarket shelves. Here are a few questions to help you see things more clearly.
Does soup count as a serving of vegetables?
Yes, on average, supermarket soups contain 40 to 55% vegetables. A 250 ml bowl counts as one serving of vegetables, but not several even if there are different vegetables. And while soups provide an interesting amount of fiber, there is a large loss of vitamins during cooking, storage and reheating: there is less than in whole, raw vegetables.
In bricks or bottles?
The ideal is a soup in a brick, sold in the fresh food section. The opaque packaging better preserves the nutrients from the light, and the cool shelf protects them from the heat. Soups in glass bottles are less protected.
Soups sold in the chiller cabinet need to be consumed more quickly, within a few days or weeks.
Milled or velvety?
A mouliné is a mixture of vegetables and water that has been mixed little or not at all and in which there are usually pieces. In industrial milled products, there is often an addition of cream.
The velouté has been mixed with fat (oil, butter, etc.) and a binder (cream, milk, potato) has been added to obtain a smooth and homogeneous texture.
As for the “soup”, it can refer to all kinds of soups. The quantity of fiber is often more interesting in the ground ones than in mixed soups.
What are frozen soups worth?
It is a very good option: there is less loss of vitamins and minerals than with conventional soups because the vegetables are frozen quickly after harvesting. And they generally contain less salt (also used as a preservative) than others.
What about instant soups?
Dehydrated soups sold in sachets are handy to take to the office or when traveling: all you have to do is mix the powder with boiling water. Problem: they are very salty and have many additives (preservatives, emulsifiers, colorings, flavor enhancers, glucose syrup…). Their consumption is therefore rather inadvisable and must remain very exceptional, it is better to reheat a brick soup.
Is it necessarily a dietary option?
Velvety soups in which starchy foods and fats are added are slightly higher in calories but rarely exceed 50 kcal/100 ml, i.e. 125 kcal per bowl. If you’re careful with your figure, you might as well opt for a bowl of soup without cream or cheese, but eating a bowl of soup remains a dietary option in any case… as long as you don’t let yourself go over the rest of the meal (cheese, dessert…).
What are the pitfalls?
The amount of salt is often too high (sometimes up to 2 g per bowl out of the recommended 6 g per day!), as it is used as a flavor enhancer to spice up vegetables. It is better to choose a low-salt soup even if you have to add spices yourself. Industrial soups sometimes contain added sugars (dextrose, sugar…) for taste and texture. And additives such as modified starch (used to give binder, it increases the glycemic index of the soup, which will stall less) or glutamate (flavor enhancer) which leads to more and more intolerances. It is important to look at the label to turn to products with the simplest possible list of ingredients.
Should I prefer organic soup?
Yes, because the vegetables that go into the soup are often highly processed in conventional agriculture (tomatoes, carrots, leeks, turnips…). There are also fewer additives allowed in organic soups, glutamate, in particular, is forbidden.*
With what to complete the meal?
A bowl of soup is 250 ml. If its ground, it’s a little light, for lunch or dinner. It can, therefore, be eaten as a starter, but then you need a dish with starchy foods (bread, pasta…).
and proteins (whole grains and legumes, fish…).
A velouté is a little more filling, to be supplemented with fruit and/or yogurt for example. Soups based on legumes (coral lentils, chickpeas…) are the best option for a complete dish because they provide more fiber and protein than those based on vegetables alone.