Homemade soup can be nutritious and delicious, but if you are short on time, it isn’t always a practical choice. But do you worry that store-bought canned soup will have too many carbs? Don’t stress! There are many brands of low carb canned soups available and I am sharing all my favorites with you.
In this post, I’ll be showing you why canned soup can be a nutritious option (especially on busy days…which is probably most days!), what to look for when choosing canned soups, and my top picks for the best low carb canned soups for people with diabetes.
Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. As an affiliate, I earn a commission on qualifying purchases.
Why should you choose soup?
Soup is a comforting food, especially on cold days. But it doesn’t just warm you up. Soup can be a quick and easy way to pack in some nutrition too.
Broth-based soups containing vegetables and lean protein often contain ample vitamins and minerals, along with fiber and hydration. For many, soup can even be a simple tool to ensure you are consuming enough vegetables.
Eating soup can also help you feel fuller for longer, due to its volume and perhaps some fiber content, reducing your caloric intake over the course of the day. For those who are trying to lose weight, soup can be a convenient tool to make the weight loss journey easier.
You can also use soup as a base for your meal, adding in your own cooked lean proteins or additional vegetables as desired. Canned soups can absolutely have a recurring role in your meal plan, but to ensure you’re making the best choices, you’ll need to know what to look for when choosing a canned soup.
What to look for when choosing canned soup
It doesn’t have to be stressful to choose a canned soup. You just need to know how to read a Nutrition Facts label so you can find the best choice for your health goals.
There are a few things you should be looking for on the label in order to determine whether or not a particular soup is the right choice for you.
Some soups are more nutritious than others, so it is important to know how to choose a canned soup that will help you – not hinder you – in reaching your health goals.
First, take a look at the carbohydrate count. My recommendation is to keep the carbs under 15 grams per serving when it comes to managing blood sugar levels. However, always ask your dietitian and physician which is the right amount of carbs for you per meal.
Keep in mind, if you focus on net carbs, you can subtract the fiber out from the total carbs to determine how many digestible carbs the soup contains per serving.
Paying attention to the carbohydrate content is especially important if you have diabetes. Be vigilant about the amount of carbs per serving to ensure you don’t experience any unexpected blood sugar spikes.
Next, take a look at the saturated fat content. Many soups are cream-based, which means you could be consuming a hefty dose of saturated fats if you’re not careful.
The American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 5-6% of your total calories from saturated fats. This means that on a 2,000 calorie diet, you should be consuming no more than 13 grams of saturated fat per day.
Since high saturated fat intake is associated with the development of cardiovascular disease, keeping this number as low as possible may help you to keep your heart healthy. This is especially important if you have diabetes, since heart disease risk is increased with this condition.
Like many packaged foods, canned soups are high in sodium. Salt is added to canned soups as a preservative, but it also plays a huge role in flavor.
Unfortunately, sodium intake impacts blood pressure, which when increased causes strain on your cardiovascular system. Eventually, high levels of sodium intake can contribute to the development of heart disease and other health problems.
The American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. For personalized recommendations, be sure to speak with your dietitian who knows your medical history.
Canned soups often have sodium content approaching, and sometimes exceeding, 1,000 mg per serving. These sodium levels equate to about half (or more!) of the maximum suggested intake level.
For this reason, be sure to look for words such as “low in sodium” or “no salt added” on the label, or simply check out the Nutrition Facts panel to ensure you’re not choosing a higher sodium soup. Sticking to soups with less than 460 mg sodium per serving is a good rule of thumb.
Since people with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing heart disease, it is especially important to keep your daily sodium intake within the daily guidelines.
You should also be aware of the serving size. Many people will heat up an entire can of soup thinking that it is a single serving, but this isn’t always the case.
Be sure that you stick to the serving size so that you’re consuming the calories, carbohydrates, sodium, and fat that you expect to be consuming. You can eat more than a single serving, but be aware of how that impacts your intake of the nutrients listed above and make sure it fits in with the rest of your daily meal plan.
The 11 best low carb canned soups
Even when you know what to look for, it can be challenging to find low carb canned soups that meet all of the criteria listed above. That’s why I did the hard work for you to share my favorite brands that are low in carbs while still being full of flavor and nutrition. Just use this list of the 11 best low carb canned soups the next time you go to the grocery store.
This is a healthier take on the classic chicken noodle soup, with only 13 grams of carbs, 7 grams of protein, and only 3 grams of fat. To make a good thing even better, this option only has 410 mg sodium per serving, making it heart healthy.
Another great low-carb option is this New England style clam chowder. One serving of this chowder provides just 11 grams of carbs, 3 grams of protein, 2.5 grams of fat, and 400 mg sodium.
With only 480 mg sodium, this hearty Italian wedding soup is another fantastic low-carb canned soup option. Each serving contains only 2 grams of fat, 11 grams of carbs, and 4 grams of protein. Although the carbs may be a little high if you follow a keto meal plan, keep in mind this can still work if you balance it out with your other carb choices during the day.
An easy way to get some veggies in is by eating this delicious low-sodium vegetable soup. Each one cup serving provides 2 grams of fat, 15 grams of carbs, 2 grams of protein, and a mere 45 mg of sodium.
This is another veggie soup option that is bursting full of flavor. One cup of this reduced-sodium soup gives you 1.5 grams of fat, 11 grams of carbs, 3 grams of protein, and 530 mg of sodium.
This soup is full of Southwest zesty flavor without all of the calories. Per serving, it has merely 1 gram of fat, 11 grams of carbs, 4 grams of protein, and 400 mg of sodium.
This zesty option from Progresso is great for those who want a meat-free option. This soup has just 1 gram of fat, 12 grams of carbs, 3 grams of protein, and 470 mg of sodium.
Another low-carb and low-sodium vegetarian option with zucchini, sweet corn, and kale. This soup packs in comforting flavor, but only has 1.5 grams of fat, 15 grams of carbs, and 290 mg sodium per serving.
Every serving of this cozy cheesy soup has 6 grams of fat (2.5 grams saturated fat), 11 grams carbohydrates, and 5 grams of protein. This one is a bit higher in sodium at 790 grams, so just watch your sodium intake the rest of the day.
This soup is light and refreshing with a little zing of fresh lemon. One serving of this soup provides 0.5 grams of fat, 15 grams of carbs, and 7 grams of protein. With 700 mg sodium, this is another option where you might want to watch your salt intake throughout the remainder of the day.
This chunky veggie and beef combo is a classic for a reason. Each serving will give you 1.5 grams of fat, 16 grams of carbs (14 grams net carbs), 5 grams of protein, and 670 mg sodium. Again, this can fit within your sodium intake goals as long as you aim to keep your total sodium intake under 2,300 mg for the day.
The bottom line
Canned soup can be a healthy and convenient option, especially if you’re short on time.
But not all canned soups are created equal, and some can be quite unhealthy.
Be sure to check out the Nutrition Facts panel to ensure you are choosing a low carb, low saturated fat, and low sodium option that is a good choice for diabetes.
Be sure to use my list of the best low-carb canned soups the next time you go to the grocery store with a soup craving.