Canned soup is a readily available, hassle-free meal when you're in a pinch, or just don't feel like cooking. And in the latest version of WeightWatchers program — which has previously been branded as WW or Weight Watchers — no foods are off limits, including canned soups.
But you'll want to consider the soup's nutritional value before adding it to your cart, as well as its WeightWatchers points value.
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How WeightWatchers Points Work
Instead of making foods off limits, WeightWatchers, one of the longest-existing weight management programs in the industry, has a points system for users to carefully select which foods can fit into their "points budget."
Points are treated like currency, and that currency has nutritional value.
"Not all calories are created equal," says Gary Foster, PhD, chief scientific officer at WeightWatchers. Foster is also a psychologist, obesity researcher and behavior change expert. "There are six things that go into our points system — calories, fiber, protein, saturated fat, unsaturated fat and added sugar."
Those are the factors that determine the points value of a food. If points are used up for the day, there are still foods that can be eaten that require no tracking or measuring. These are known in the program as "ZeroPoint foods" and they include most fruits and vegetables, low fat dairy and lean protein, according to the WeightWatchers.
"These are foods that have been determined by the World Health Organization and the USDA to be important for a healthy diet, and also under-consumed by the population," Foster says.
The Best Canned Soup for WeightWatchers
Keep these canned soups in your pantry if you're looking for an easy, WeightWatchers-friendly meal.
Health Valley Organic Chicken Noodle Soup
Nutrition facts per serving: 80 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 135 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber, 12 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams protein
Low-sodium soups with high fiber and protein content are the best options to pick. The Health Valley Organic Chicken Noodle Soup has 135 milligrams of sodium per sodium. For references, people should not consume more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium each day, per the American Heart Association (AHA). And a lower amount — 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day — is preferable for most people, according to the AHA.
Because this soup is low in fiber and doesn't have a lot of protein, it may need to be paired with something else to make it a complete meal.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $31.49 (Pack of six cans)
Progresso Reduced Sodium Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup
Nutrition facts per serving: 90 calories, 2 grams fat, 470 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber, 12 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams protein
This Progresso Reduced Sodium Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup has under 500 milligrams of sodium and 6 grams of protein per serving. Compared to the non-reduced sodium version (which has 680 milligrams of sodium!), this is the better choice for someone following WeightWatchers.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $4.39 per can
Campbell's Chunky Healthy Request Soup, Sirloin Burger With Country Vegetables
Nutrition facts per serving: 120 calories, 2 grams fat, 410 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber, 18 grams carbohydrates, 8 grams protein
This soup is a nutrition trifecta — low in sodium, high in protein and high in fiber. If you're following WeightWatchers, the protein and fiber in this soup will help keep you full and satisfied.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $48.32 (Pack of 12 cans)
Amy's Soup Organic Lentil Vegetable
Nutrition facts per serving: 160 calories, 4 grams fat, 320 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber, 24 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams protein
If you're really looking to increase the fiber in your diet, this organic lentil vegetable soup could be for you with 5 grams of fiber per serving. It's also low in sodium with only 320 milligrams (50 percent less than it's full sodium counterpart).
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $4.19 per can
Soupr Chicken Chickpea Curry Soup
Nutrition facts per serving: 260 calories, 3 grams fat, 265 milligrams sodium, 6 grams fiber, 33 grams carbohydrates, 22 grams protein
Instead of a can, this soup comes a pouch. And it's packed with nutrients including 22 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber and less than 300 milligrams of sodium. It checks all the boxes when it comes to nutrient-dense foods, making this soup a good option for a complete meal.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $34.99 (Pack of five)
What to Look for in Canned Soup for WeightWatchers
Finding the best canned soup for weight loss depends on its nutritional value. And it's important to look out for a few things.
"When choosing a soup, you'll want to watch out for its sodium content, as many canned foods contain high levels of sodium in order to extend their shelf life," says Michelle Cardel, PhD, RD, head of clinical research and nutrition at WeightWatchers. "Try to look for low-sodium versions of your favorite soups, which many brands carry, as too much sodium in your diet can increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke."
Calories and protein content are also important when choosing a soup. Low-calorie canned soups sometimes aren't enough to be considered complete meals for an adult.
"To make your can of soup into a full meal, aim for canned soup options that contain at least 10 grams of protein, less than 500 mgs of sodium, and 4-5 grams of fiber," Cardel says. "The protein and fiber content will keep you full, and the limited sodium content will help keep your blood pressure in check."
Make Canned Soup More Nutritious
If you're looking to increase the health benefits of a canned soup, there are simple ways to do it at home.
For instance, add a handful of leafy greens like spinach, kale or baby arugula to the soup, Cardel suggests. "The greens will give a boost of vitamins A and C, which help support a healthy immune system and skin health," Cardel says.
Frozen vegetables and protein can also be added to give yourself an extra serving of nutrients. "Adding a source of lean protein — such as chicken or beans — can level up your soup and increase your satiety, or feeling of fullness," Cardel says.