Condensed soups are a convenient way to make a hearty meal. With most, you have the option of adding water or milk to cook your soup. Water makes it lighter, which may be better for you if you are trying to lose weight. Add milk if you prefer a creamier, heavier soup. Milk adds additional fats, along with protein and nutrients, to your soup.
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Milk Adds Fats
Adding water to your soup means that you are not contributing any extra calories or fats to your meal. Diluting condensed soup with milk, however, adds fats and cholesterol. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, a cup of 1 percent milk, which is considered low-fat, will add 2.38 grams of fat to your soup. Making your soup with skim milk will give you 0.61 grams of fat and 5 milligrams of cholesterol per cup.
Nutrients in Milk
Making your condensed soup with milk rather than water does result in additional nutrients. These include bone-building minerals and energy-boosting vitamins. A cup of skim milks contains 316 milligrams of calcium, 37 milligrams of magnesium and 255 milligrams of phosphorus. Additionally, milk provides vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6 and vitamin B-12. The USDA Nutrient Database also notes that a cup of 1 percent milk gives you 8.53 grams of protein.
Healthy Thickening Options
If you prefer a creamy soup, thicken it with low-fat options other than milk. Dilute condensed soup with water, then stir in ground flaxseed, wheat germ or oats to thicken it. These thickeners add fiber and nutrients to your soup. Harvard Health Publications recommends consuming more whole grains such as these, because they are important for digestive health and help to keep you feeling full faster and longer.
The Sodium Factor
Packaged and canned condensed soups are often high in sodium. Choose low-sodium varieties and avoid adding more salt. Although most adults need only 500 milligrams a day, the average American gets about 3,400 milligrams -- almost seven times the recommended amount, according to Harvard Health Publications. The USDA Nutrient Database notes that one particular brand of condensed tomato soup contains 467 milligrams of sodium per cup -- almost the entire recommended daily amount.
- USDA National Nutrient Database: 01083, Milk, Lowfat, Fluid, 1% Milkfat
- USDA National Nutrient Database: 01086, Milk, Nonfat, Fluid, With Added Nonfat Milk Solids
- USDA National Nutrient Database: 06377, Campbells, Tomato Soup, Condensed
- Harvard Health Publications: Controlling What — And How Much — We Eat