If the meal needs to be quick, many people reach for a packet of soup. But is this meal healthy? We will tell you.
It doesn’t matter whether you work from home or you’re on the go, whether you need a quick meal when traveling to a hotel or office: packet soups are easy to prepare and have many flavor options. Often it is enough to add hot water and the finished meal is ready to eat on the table.
Many manufacturers advertise with healthy ingredients and warn “not to add flavor enhancers” to do justice to the growing health consciousness of many consumers. But is that true?
Is packet soup really healthy or just “convenient”?
In fact, packet soup is convenient. But it is also clear that packet soups, as advertised by the manufacturer, are not fresh products, but “convenience food”. Convenience is the English word for comfort. In this country, the term is used to describe all foods that are prepared ready for the table, to facilitate or to a large extent replace the work of the kitchen. The soup bags are ready.
Instant soup can be eaten in moderation, as is a good rule of thumb for many foods. The reasons are detailed below.
Often high in salt and low in vitamins
As convenience foods, they may contain artificial additives and lots of salt, but they usually contain almost no vitamins. This will not necessarily make them unhealthy.
But salt is often not declared as “salt” in the ingredients list. Salt is often behind the terms potassium chloride or sodium chloride. It is best to check the salt content of the instant soup in the nutrition facts table.
Lots of sugar
It’s hard to believe, but packaged soups often contain more sugar than many people think. “Sugar” rarely appears in the ingredients list. Sweetness is often hidden in additives such as dextrose, glucose syrup or lactose. Therefore, it is better to pay attention to the information in the table of nutritional values, as well as to the salt content.
When it comes to additives, you should mainly choose products that do not have flavor enhancers, such as glutamate (also known as monosodium glutamate, glutamic acid, magnesium glutamate, potassium glutamate, calcium glutamate or E numbers from 620 to 625). However, the terms yeast extract, yeast flakes, yeast extract powder, soy protein, soy sauce, soy extract also hide flavor enhancers.
Tips for eating packet soup
These tips will help you turn your instant soup into a healthier meal:
- When shopping, pay attention to ingredients and nutritional values. The shorter the ingredient list, the better. The salt and sugar content should be as low as possible.
- If possible, prefer a package of soup from an organic supplier.
- Enrich your soup with real vegetables. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the fresh or frozen version: both have additional important nutrients that can improve a normal packet soup.
- On days when packet lunch is on the menu, make sure you eat a balanced diet throughout the day. Poached soup tends to be low in protein, an important filler. Therefore, it makes sense to eat a higher protein meal for breakfast or dinner.
So heating up a packet of soup does not automatically equate to an unhealthy diet. There are good ways to be healthier as part of a balanced diet. However, a packaged soup cannot, of course, keep up with fresh homemade soup in terms of nutrients and vitamins.