May 20, 2024

When it’s made with the right ingredients, soup can be a fantastic meal for weight loss. It offers up the perfect opportunity to nourish your body with delicious, fiber-filled veggies, protein, and anti-inflammatory spices. However, if you add the wrong ingredients to the pot, that could all go downhill and lead to adverse effects on your health. That’s why ensuring you’re choosing the healthiest soups possible is important, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. Unfortunately, there are a few popular soup varieties that could be slowing your weight loss down rather than helping it.

To discover two types of soup you should steer clear of if slimming down is your goal, we spoke to Meghan Novoshielski MS, RDN, Dietitian for SetForSet. She told us that cream-based soups and those that are ultra-cheesy or “loaded” should be avoided. Learn more below!

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1. Cream-based soups

Whether you’re using them as an ingredient in a dish like a casserole or just eating a warm bowl for dinner, cream-based soups are oftentimes some of the tastiest options out there–unfortunately, though, Novoshielski says that they’re also some of the most unhealthy options. She warns against “cream-based soups, like cream of chicken and chowders.”

The main issue with these soups when it comes to weight gain is the fact that they can really load in the fattening ingredients. “Usually, these soups are made with heavy cream and butter. Both of these ingredients are high in calories and fat,” Novoshielski warns. These issues are even worse if you’re buying canned varieties rather than making your soup at home, as canned soups are typically loaded with sodium and other preservatives that can lead to a range of other health issues, such as heart disease, in addition to weight gain. All in all, it’s best to avoid cream-based soups as much as possible if you want to slim down. 

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broccoli cheddar soup with side of cheesy garlic bread

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2. Cheesy and loaded soups

In addition to creamy soups, cheesy soups are another major culprit of weight gain you might want to leave out of your bowl–which makes sense, because cheesy and creamy typically go hand in hand. Additionally, cheesy soups are typically “loaded” with other unhealthy ingredients, which only adds fire to flame in terms of calories and other factors that lead to weight gain.

This is why Novoshielski says you should steer clear of “cheesy and loaded soups, like broccoli cheddar or loaded baked potato.”

Cheese itself should be eaten in moderation and can pack in unnecessary calories–but think about the other toppings you typically add to creamy broccoli cheddar and potato soup. “Extra cheese, bacon bits, and sour cream that come standard with these soups provide a lot of extra calories,” Novoshielski points out. And, let’s be honest, plain potato soup doesn’t quite hit the spot–so it may be better to just skip it altogether.

Healthy soups to try instead

The good news is that there are plenty of healthy soups to choose from! In fact, soup can be a great way to fit hearty vegetables and tons of fiber into your diet without consuming an excess of calories. Novoshielski says the key is to “opt for broth-based soups, like chicken noodle.” She explains that “These types of soups are low in calorie density, meaning you can fill up on a large portion for fewer calories.” Nice!

Additionally, keep in mind that any great meal should serve up some healthy protein. That’s why she recommends eating soups with ingredients like chicken, barley, or lentils. “Protein keeps you feeling full, so you can stay on track with your weight loss goals,” Novoshielski concludes.

At the end of the day, though, moderation is always key. So if your heart and taste buds are calling for a bowl of broccoli cheddar, don’t beat yourself up for giving into temptation. Just remember to keep foods like this to a minimum, and prioritize nutritious, fiber-filled options whenever possible.


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