Eating soup before a meal may reduce the number of calories you consume at that meal by up to 20 percent, according to study results published in a 2007 issue of “Appetite.” Study participants took in 20 percent fewer calories at a test meal when they ate a bowl of low-energy-dense soup -- under 172 calories -- beforehand. At 100 calories per serving, a bowl of minestrone soup from Olive Garden can fit the bill.
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A serving of Olive Garden’s minestrone soup has 1 gram of fat and 1,020 milligrams of sodium. With 3 grams of fiber per bowl, this soup is a good source of fiber, according to the American Diabetes Association guidelines. Olive Garden’s minestrone may be considered a low-fat food, which the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics defines as 3 grams of fat or less per serving. It may not fit into your your diet, however, if you are sticking to the daily limit of 1,500 milligrams of sodium recommended by the American Heart Association.