I am a strong believer that people can lose weight and achieve better health while still eating the foods they like. I am an example of how this is possible. Progresso soups are usually one of the most frequented things on my shopping list, but how healthy are they when broken down? Let’s take a look at the regular soups, not the reduced sodium or light versions.
The Health Content of Progresso Soups
This post is going to center purely around the “Traditional” cans of Progresso soups. Note: The “Reduced Sodium” and “Light” versions will be covered in future articles at a later date.
I’ve always been a fan of Progresso. Although they are a bit more expensive than Chef Boyardee, the health value is far superior. When I lost all the weight in 2014, these soups were a staple for lunch.
Even though many health experts say to stay away from processed foods, I was able to drop more than two pounds a week while feeling better than I had in a long time – while still eating processed goodies.
Vitamins and Minerals
Progresso soups appear to be more focused on healthier dining than many other cheaper alternatives. Many of these soups can give you a great deal of what you need throughout the day in terms of nutritional support. Although the total carbohydrates in these cans are above 20 grams, it shouldn’t cause a great deal of concern if you’re physically active or weight training.
Why? Because your body utilizes carbs to promote energy within your muscles. The harder you work, the more carbs you’ll burn. This is why many of those in weight training tend to eat more breaded products, potatoes and other carb-heavy foods.
Of course, eating carbs will also be determined based on your weight training ideals. While some shovel in carbs during post-workout dining, it can also be detrimental to developing lean muscle mass. It takes a proper balance to consume the goods that promote protein generation for muscle and energy stores. It can easily turn into fat if not immediately used.
It’s like topping off the gas tank in your car. If you don’t use it all up and try to force the same amount after driving it around, it’s going to spill out. That’s why it’s good to burn as much as possible before trying to put more into your body.
Obviously the different style of soup will have a unique nutritional value. Some offer more of one vitamin while others are more rich in protein. Before you load up the shopping cart, take a look for yourself.
Calories in Progresso Soups
Most Progresso soups have a great deal of nutritional value. They also seem to be developed with significantly less calories. The extra $0.50 per can I spend seems to be centered more around the fact that there is more to the soup than just taste.
For example, a can of Creamy Tomato with Penne from Progresso has 170 calories per serving as opposed to the cheaper Chef Boyardee Ravioli which is closee to 280. This means that you get 220 calories less when eating the Progresso brand as a whole can.
Progresso soups will vary widely when it comes to total calories. Some of the more vegetable-based flavors will often be lower while the pastas, my favorites, are usually higher. If you’re counting calories like I am, the beef barley and Italian wedding are two of my favorites for lower calorie counts.
I am also partial to the Rich & Hearty Steak and Vegetable soups.
A Wide Selection
One of the things I like most about Progresso soups is the product line. The brand covers a wide range of goods from beef stew to vegetarian dishes. Personally, I have a thing for the Tomato Rotini. Regardless of your tastes, you should be able to find something you enjoy.
Even the light and reduced-sodium styles are quite tasty. At least, they are in my opinion.
I usually have about two or three different styles of Progresso soups I reach for when shopping. Then, I’ll toss in something I’ve never tried before. Because there are so many to choose from, it’s not often that I feel bored with soup throughout the week.
The Down-side to Traditional Progresso
The biggest nutritional downfall for Traditional Progresso soups is the high sodium content. During any given lunch, a full can of any of these soups can exceed half of what I should get in a day. This doesn’t include the other sodium-rich foods I eat, either.
For those that have a heart condition or high blood pressure, such as myself, you want to do what you can to reduce your sodium intake.
You can still eat a can of Progresso when you’re worried about sodium levels – as long as you eat it in correct portions. I know it can be hard, but one can of this soup is actually a two-serving container. Instead of nuking the whole can, only eat half of it. This can also reduce how much you spend at the store every month in your grocery bills.
You can also avoid excessive sodium levels by monitoring what you eat throughout the day. I personally use MyFitnessPal for this, but any app could be very helpful. I like MyFitnessPal because it will show a bright red number when you’re going over your daily goals. It helps you design goals for eating better.
The Bottom Line:
Out of all the cans of soups you can eat, Progresso may be one of the healthiest choices. Less calories and more vitamins are ideal for any food type. Although it may cost a bit more per day to eat than a $1 microwave dinner, it’s better than filling your body with things it can’t burn as quickly.
As always, getting more activity can help you get rid of excess calories and carbs. However, a proper diet strengthens the body when you just can’t get that extra activity throughout the day. There is far more to getting healthy other than eating “diet” foods.