Anyone who knows me understands my attraction for Progresso soup. Eating a can of this per day last year helped me curb my eating habits and avoid fast-food and other questionable materials. However, there is a dark side to the can-of-wonder. It could be harmful if you eat nothing but Progresso soups day in and day out – unless you closely monitor your intake. Let me show you what I mean.
Health Benefits Galore for Progresso Soup
Even though it’s more expensive per can as opposed to Chef Boyardee, Progresso soups do have a significant amount of health benefits. For starters, it’s usually half of the calorie intake as those canned pastas. Which breaks my heart a bit because I love Chef Boyardee foods. But, the health benefits just aren’t there unless I eat a single serving from the can of something like Ravioli. At which point, an entire can of Progresso would provide the same calories with more vitamins.
Progresso often has fewer calories than many competitors. Thanks to a blend of herbs and seasonings, the company manages to make virtually anything taste good – at least in my opinion. For example, an entire can of Creamy Tomato with Penne is only 170 per serving. When you take into consideration the noodles and “creamy” parts are what increase the calorie load, 340 for the entire can isn’t all that bad. This is one of the more rich cans I eat. Others such as Traditional Chicken Noodle have as little as 100 per serving, or 200 per can.
Vitamins and Minerals
While it depends on which can you eat, Progresso can contribute a great deal to your overall health in terms of vitamins and minerals. Most flavors are pretty decent about including things that boost vitamin A, calcium and iron. The Traditional Beef and Vegetable soup provides a decent serving of proteins as well as iron. As long as your not adverse to vegetables, you can get quite a bit of what you need with every lunch.
Many styles of Progresso soup provide a low-fat diet. With the exception of things such as the Creamy Tomato with Penne and other pastas, the fat content of these soups is relatively low. Again, this all depends on the flavors you choose to eat. I have an affinity for pastas and tomatoes, so I tend to eat more fats and calories than what’s available.
The Dark Side of Progresso Soup
Progresso soups do have a dark side. Although there is an abundance of health benefits, there is also an abundance of sodium. Many of the cans have more than 600mg per serving. Now, this doesn’t sound all that bad considering that people should consume less than 2500 per day. If I eat the whole can of Creamy Tomato with Penne soup, I will raise my daily level by 1380mg in a single meal. That doesn’t include breakfast, dinner or any snacks I might want throughout the day. Keep in mind that salt is not the only thing that can increase your sodium level.
What Does Sodium Do to You?
Sodium is one of those components you need but can be dangerous in excess. By holding onto the water you consume, it helps regulate the volume of blood in your body. This is why too much sodium can be bad. More blood equals greater pressure. Greater pressure can feed into heart disease and other cardiovascular problems. Sodium levels can play a role in hyper-tension as well.
There are several ways you can reduce the sodium use within the body without medications. The easiest is to closely monitor what you eat. This isn’t some “old people” problem as high-blood pressure has been discovered in obese children and poorly nourished teenagers.
Using Progresso to Promote a Healthy Lifestyle
I was able to lose weight eating Progresso soup because of how I approached my eating habits. Yes, I did consume a large amount of sodium from lunch. However, that was offset by eating logical breakfasts and dinners. For example, the sodium content of a properly prepared chicken salad with spinach has a considerable less amount of sodium content than one of my favorite brands of soup.
It is possible to lose weight and remain healthy by eating Progresso soup at lunch and dinner. However, you’ll need to pay close attention to what you consume the rest of the day. Here are some of the ways I balanced out my intake when I was losing 15 pounds per month:
- Balanced the sodium intake by eating more salads
- Bought a few Progresso “Low Soidum” brands of soup
- Bought some Progresso “Light” brands of soup – although they’re mostly water, but still tasty
- Added more fruits throughout the day to fill me up
- Drank more water to fill me up
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Progresso soups are bad by any means. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. As long as you can maintain your sodium levels, these can be one of those perfect lunchtime meals. Just remember to mix up your day with more foods that are lower in sodium.