I am a firm believer that nothing warms the soul on a cold winter’s night quite like a warm bowl of soup.
And while some may favor a classic tomato or cream of mushroom soup, my absolute favorite is lentil soup.
It’s quick and easy to make and is just such a scrumptious soup.
And for all my lentil-loving health fanatics, I bring good news – it’s also a very healthy option.
However, this is only the case if you cook it with love from the comfort of your own kitchen.
The canned versions that you’ll find on store shelves sure make things much quicker and generally more convenient, however, they tend to be pretty high in sodium.
So you’ll have to decide whether you want to opt for nice and easy or nutrition.
Personally, I’d opt for the latter because creating this dish at home is honestly a breeze.
It doesn’t take all that long to cook, it’s much healthier, and I think we can all agree that home-cooked food trumps store-bought in terms of flavor each and every time.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the nutritional value of lentil soup.
Calories & Nutrition
A cup of lentil soup can typically look to set you back just 159 calories.
According to USDA’s FoodData Central, your soup will contain around 22 grams of carbs as well as 4 grams of fat when it’s homemade.
Things vary once you take premade/canned lentil soups into account. The number of calories can shoot up or go right down depending on the brand that you choose.
A cup of Whole Foods Market lentil soup contains a minimal100 calories whereas Saor’s lentil soup packs 350 calories into a cup.
It’s worth considering, though, that pretty much all of lentil soups’ calorie and carbohydrate content comes from the lentils themselves.
A 100-gram serving of lentils will contain around 114 calories and close to 20 grams of carbohydrates.
They also contain lots of protein and fiber which is always beneficial for your health. Not only that but they pack in plenty of nutrients too.
Lentil soup, therefore, is actually a really great option in many aspects.
Protein is always beneficial to the body as it can help provide your body with over 20 different amino acids.
These amino acids are vital to your cells that can be found throughout the entire body.
Not only this but it can help to build and repair body cells and tissues, including your muscles. Fiber is also essential for your body.
Fiber will help prevent you from developing high blood pressure and can help boost digestion too.
An 11-ounce serving of lentil soup will have approximately 12 grams of fiber.
Typically the average American only consumes 15 grams of fiber per day when they should be consuming around 20-30 grams.
This means that a nice and tasty bowl of lentil soup can help massively boost your fiber intake for the day too!
While the calories may be somewhat similar between homemade and canned soup, there is one main difference that cannot be overlooked.
And that is the sodium content.
When you make the soup at home you are in control of just how much sodium goes into your meal and you can always pick alternatives such as a low-sodium broth to help keep that content down.
You do not have such a privilege when you are pouring soup out of a can. And these premade options more often than not contain a large amount of sodium.
If you were to take yourself off to Target and purchase one of their tinned options of Lentil soup you can expect to consume around 720 mg of sodium per cup.
This may not seem like that large of a number given that generally we are okay to consume around 2300 mg of sodium per day.
However, you’ll be surprised how quickly those numbers add up.
For example, if you were to consume three cups of soup in one day, you’re basically at your daily limit.
The average person typically consumes 1,100 mg more sodium than they should per day.
So consuming a soup that is essentially a third of your sodium intake, isn’t exactly great.
Especially when you take into consideration the health risks that are associated with consuming too much sodium regularly.
It can increase the risk of hypertension and chronic hypertension can also lead to heart disease or strokes.
Too much sodium can also raise your blood pressure which can be associated with many other health implications.
Lentils are a great food source, they provide the body with most of the stuff that it needs with almost no negative effects.
So a homemade lentil soup is always going to be a great option.
You’re going to add a whole lot of protein and fiber to your diet this way which has many health benefits, and it typically contains around just 160 calories.
So in terms of a health perspective it’s a real win-win.
However, you are always better off opting for a homemade option if you want to eat a healthy meal.
While you should still get the benefits of protein and fiber, and the like, with a premade or canned version, you’re also going to get a whole lot more sodium.
And this is one of those the bad outweighs the good situations.
You really want to be mindful of just how much sodium you are consuming on a daily basis as it can lead to some very significant health risks if you consistently consume too much.
A cup of canned soup can contain almost a third of your recommended sodium for the day which is an incredibly large amount for something that can be so healthy when made at home.
So to keep those calories down, and keep that body healthy, always choose to make those soul-warming soups at home.