7 Soups You Think Are Healthy But Aren’t

Soups are the ultimate go-to in the wintertime. We tend to think they’re naturally healthier for us, but there are ways to make our standard recipes much healthier without sacrificing the soothing and filling effects. Here are some of your favorite soups and easy ingredient swaps:

Broccoli Cheddar

Ever since Panera starting dishing out this gem, we’ve been hooked. This thick soup defines comfort food, and after sipping on a bowl, you’re likely to want to take a snooze. To make the soup lighter in calories and consistency, make it at home without the flour and butter. Use skim milk instead of a heavier milk, and toss in extra cauliflower and onions.

Chicken Noodle

This classic soup will warm you up and bring back those cartoon-filled sick days at home on the sofa. Amp up your soup by adding a dark leafy green like kale or spinach, and switch to multi-grain noodles versus white or egg noodles. Opt for a low-sodium broth, and lose the table salt. Instead, drop in a teaspoon of Himalayan pink salt or sea salt to a bowl, and let the crystals dissolve into the soup.

Wonton Soup

This soup is filling and light all at the same time. Stick to a low-sodium broth and try chicken, tofu or veggie wontons. If you’re feeling adventurous, experiment with whole-wheat wonton wrappers.

French Onion

There’s just nothing like a steaming bowl of cheesy French onion soup. Choose a low-sodium beef broth, and swap out that thick white bread for multigrain. Also, ditch the butter and flour from the traditional recipe and melt lower-fat cheese over the dish. Mmm…


When it comes to consuming a monster portion of calories in one sitting, ramen is king. Swap out the noodles for a whole wheat version, or better yet, use spiralized zucchini and squash. Replace the butter with some extra virgin olive oil, and use low-sodium broth and soy sauce. And remember, you can never have too many vegetables in your soup!  

Clam Chowder

Unless you really can’t kick that craving, choose Manhattan-style clam chowder over New England’s creamier version. Use less bacon, or try turkey bacon. Finally, go light on the potatoes, butter and added salt.

Lentil or Bean 

These soups are satisfying and heart-healthy, but if you’re just adding the canned stuff to your soup, your recipe will be high in sodium. Soak your lentils and beans instead, and add to a low-sodium broth.

Dana Baardsen is a social media editor and freelance health writer and coach in New York City. She manages the The Health Ring, which she founded in 2013, and loves blowing off steam in her favorite fitness classes!