Chicken vegetable soup always makes a warm, comforting meal when you're trying to recover from sickness, but did you know it could also help you lose weight? It shouldn't be surprising — chicken soup has calories that are minimal, and it's full of vegetables, lean protein and water.
Chicken Soup Nutritional Information
The hardest part about calorie restrictions is that most people feel deprived when they're trying to cut back — it's actually the reason the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cites most people give up on any sort of dieting effort.
But eating fewer calories doesn't necessarily mean you need to eat a smaller volume of food. And because volume of food contributes to the feeling of fullness, you can increase your willpower on a diet by eating a lot of high-volume, low-calorie foods like soup.
Read more: Soup & Salad Diet
When listing dietary swaps, the CDC even recommends focusing on broth-based soup, which has a high fluid content, instead of dry, calorically denser foods like crackers, pretzels, cookies or chips.
Take a look at the chicken soup nutrition information for a can of Campbell's. A half-cup serving of classic Campbell's chicken vegetable soup has only 79 calories and only 1 gram of fat.
It has 15 grams of carbohydrates (2 grams of fiber and 3 grams of sugar) as well as 3 grams of protein. One major drawback is that it does have nearly 890 milligrams of sodium, about 37 percent of your daily recommended value.
Making Your Own Soup
Even though popping open a can of processed soup is convenient, making your own soup from scratch is a much healthier option. That's because, according to Harvard Health, you have more control over what goes into it, keeping your chicken soup calories, sodium and sugar low, while ensuring your chicken soup protein and vegetable amounts are sufficient.
Harvard Health also recommends a few vegetables that would make great additions to homemade soup: peppers, asparagus, broccoli, spinach, onions and carrots.
Most homemade soups are highly adaptable and easy to customize on your own with a little bit of ingenuity. The Mayo Clinic recommends starting with a low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth, which you can build up with a base of vegetables, seasonings and herbs.
Add lean chicken and an array of vegetables, all of which you can simmer lightly in oil before adding to the broth. Tossing in some legumes or grains, as seen in this recipe for hearty chicken, vegetable and white bean soup, will add extra nutrients.
So, what kind of chicken soup calories are you looking at with something like this? A 1-cup serving of chicken broth has 15 calories, and the vegetables and herbs will add marginal calories. Chicken soup has protein thanks to the chicken breast, which totals 133 calories, mostly from its 27 grams of lean protein, per 3-ounce serving.
Finally, if you opt to add legumes, such as white beans, you'll boost the chicken soup protein even further, as well as the complex carbohydrate content. Per 100 grams, white beans have 142 calories, mostly from 26 grams of carbohydrates and 9 grams of protein.
Read more: 12 Slimming Soups
Chicken Soup for Weight Loss
How does that homemade chicken soup nutritional information sound? Pretty good, right? It's low in calories and substantial in protein. But be careful — although filling up on fluids is a smart way to limit calories, the Mayo Clinic warns that you can go too far in your calorie restriction, which was part of the problem with the cabbage soup diet fad of decades past.
Although people lost weight quickly from eating primarily soup, it's not a safe or healthy option for long-term weight loss because you need a wide variety of food for healthy function. Chicken vegetable soup, however, does have an advantage over cabbage because of its protein content.
If you're looking for creative ideas to make chicken soup at home, consider making feel better chicken soup, which is packed with lean protein and a variety of vegetables, or use it as a starting point and make adjustments to your taste. Remember — you're limited only by your creativity.
- My Food Data: “Campbell’s Red and White Chicken Vegetable Soup Condensed”
- My Food Data: “Soup Chicken Broth Ready to Serve”
- My Food Data: “Lean Chicken Breast (Cooked)”
- My Food Data: “Cooked Small White Beans”
- Mayo Clinic: “Simple Steps for Making Fall Soups”
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “How to Manage Your Weight Without Being Hungry”
- Mayo Clinic: “What Is the Cabbage Soup Diet? Can It Help Me Lose Weight?”
- Harvard Health Publishing: “How to Soup Up Your Diet”