Harvard Health Letter

An easy way to soup up your diet

Soups with healthy ingredients help boost your nutrition. But watch out for extra salt, sugar, fat, and calories.

soup up your diet
Image: Karissa/ Thinkstock

A bowl of soup is comforting and convenient. Make a big batch at home, and you'll have enough for extra meals. Stick to healthy ingredients, and it's an easy way to increase your intake of vegetables, protein, fiber, or even fruit. Maybe that's behind the popularity of soups, which are increasingly showing up as gourmet restaurant fare; in soup "bars" offering rotating varieties; at tiny take-out windows; and in grocery stores.

But this simple soul food has hidden risks. "You must be careful about the ingredients and what you pair with it," says registered dietitian Kathy McManus, director of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Health risks

Many prepared soups contain artificial or unhealthy ingredients. Watch for the following:

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