Soup season can start early in the winter. Chicken soup (or “soup”) is a ubiquitous “comfort food” for many Americans. Unfortunately, just because soup is associated with comforting and healthy food, that does not mean that a single chicken noodle soup contains no calories. Some soups have hundreds of calories in one serving. Children in particular love chicken soup.
Is Chicken Noodle Soup Unhealthy?
Chicken soup is not something to be eaten daily. Even some cuisines like Chinese broths typically contain much more salt than what you’d find in a typical bowl of chicken noodle soup.
The chicken flavor of the most broth is generally not necessary to keep you well. Some chicken soups contain up to 1,400 milligrams (mg) of sodium per serving, which is on the higher end of the scale. The FDA recommends that no more than 1,500 mg of sodium can be consumed per day. This is the minimum amount to avoid high blood pressure.
The vitamin content of chicken soup is much lower than what you’ll find in other foods. Most chicken noodle soups are loaded with sugar, MSG, and starch and are often high in calories. Many contain artificial ingredients as well.
How Can I Make Chicken Noodles Soup Taste Better?
A common health myth is that soup must have meat in it to be good. However, there are many varieties of chicken soup you can make yourself without meat. Making chicken soup with vegetables or no vegetables at all is another great way to get a healthy serving of vegetables.
“You may want to incorporate chopped carrots, celery, or green beans to any of your chicken noodle soups. Along with broccoli and carrot root, this will make a healthier and more nutritional soup that is still delicious,” Alexander said. You can also make a chicken broth, also called stock, or noodles with store-bought ingredients such as noodles, noodles, or water.
Is Chicken Noodle Soup Healthy For You?
Canned and other “general” soups are high in sodium, making them unhealthy for some individuals. Soups with less sodium and minimal broth or chunks of chicken are also better choices for some. “The truth is, chicken noodle soup is full of sodium,” said Gina DeLugo. Gina is the author of “Vegan Cuisine: Simple, Delicious and Healthy,” and the founder of the vegetarian lifestyle site “Vegetarian Best Life.” “But the one reason I never buy it is that I’m a big fan of lean chicken, no added fat. So whenever I have to use chicken noodle soup, it’s always going to be a plant-based, low-sodium version.” She adds that several packaged soups contain tomato and spices that have been high in added sugars and fat.
Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 onion diced
- 2 carrots diced
- 2 salts celery diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 3 bay leaves
- Kosher salt & pepper to taste
- 2 lbs chicken breasts
- 2 cups egg noodles
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley leaves chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh dill chopped
- 2 tbsp lime juice squeezed
- In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add in onions, celery, and carrots. Cook and stir for 4 minutes. Stir in garlic for 1 minute.
- Pour chicken stock and bay leaves, season with salt and pepper. Add chicken breast and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cover for 35 minutes.
- Remove chicken and cut into pieces. Return chicken to mixture and add pasta. Cook for 7 minutes.
- Stir in parsley, lime juice, and dill. Remove pot from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.
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