Want to keep dinner simple on a cool autumn day? Opt for a flavourful organic soup. If you’re planning to use a store-bought variety, the options are seemingly endless. But how can you make sure you’re getting real organic quality? The most important step is to read the label.
There are many reasons why we may not have time to cook from scratch as regularly as our grandmothers did: working late, kids’ schedules, social activities, and the occasional “I just don’t feel like it” day. Let’s face it–life gets busy. When you’re in a hurry, organic store-bought soup will fit the bill, as long as you make sure you’re getting the real thing.
Read the Label Before You Ladle
Many conventional ready-to-serve soups are available without artificial flavours and preservatives, but their ingredients aren’t organic and they can still contain sugar, enriched flour, and various concentrates. Some soups have monosodium glutamate (MSG), hydrogenated fats or oils, and other unfamiliar, hard-to-pronounce ingredients. Just think of it this way: if you already know it’s not good for you or if you can’t pronounce it, why would you want to eat it?
Healthy, organic, ready-to-serve soups don’t contain any artificial flavours, colours, or chemicals. The ingredients will be specified as “organic” and not just “natural” (organic is regulated–natural isn’t). For example, the label on a can of organic butternut squash soup is this clear and simple: “Filtered water, organic butternut squash, organic onions, organic evaporated cane juice, organic wheat flour, organic safflower and/or sunflower oil, sea salt, organic garlic, organic extra-virgin olive oil.”
That’s what we shoppers need to focus on–clarity and simplicity. The label also has the Quality Assurance International (QAI) stamp, which assures that the company producing the product is regularly checked out to confirm organic standards are met.
Slurp Up Some Health Benefits
The organic food market is filling the needs of busy consumers who are becoming more aware of what they eat. Many varieties of organic soups are now available in natural health stores and in many supermarkets across the country. The reason for the growth in organic soups can be attributed to two reasons–taste and the health consciousness of consumers.
Most organic soups are lower in sodium, compared to regular brands of canned or packaged soup, some of which contain as much as 1,080 mg sodium per cup (250 mL). In addition, studies have shown that organic vegetable soups contain more salicylic acid than nonorganic ones. This is because organically grown plants contain higher levels of salicylic acid to naturally defend themselves against stress and disease. This acid is an anti-inflammatory serum that has been shown to fight inflammation, bowel cancer, and atherosclerosis.
If those aren’t reasons enough to reach for the certified organic soup, consider the abundance of flavourful varieties: black bean vegetable, butternut squash, lentil, split pea, vegetable barley, alphabet, no-chicken noodle, minestrone…