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Calorie Count Blog

Food Review: Progresso Light Soups


By tanyapt on Mar 02, 2010 12:00 PM in Tips & Updates

By Tanya Taylor, PhD

Progresso Light Soups

Progresso Light Soups are Weight Watchers endorsed, and so my curiosity was piqued after seeing a few advertisements on the television.  I tried and reviewed two Progresso Light Soups, Chicken & Dumpling and Zesty Southwestern-Style Vegetable, for you today.

Progresso Light Chicken & Dumpling Soup

I decided to make Progresso Light Chicken & Dumpling Soup for lunch, opting for heating on the stove instead of in the microwave, which is what I normally do. The first thing I noticed as I poured the soup in the pot was that there was a lot of broth, plenty of carrots and lots of chicken and dumplings flowing out – but I couldn't tell the difference because they had the same color.

After heating it on the stove for about 10 minutes, I poured the soup in a bowl. I actually measured the amount, and although the can says there are about 2 cups, I found it to be closer to 3 cups (good to know if you're counting calories). There is a lot of broth, and it covers all the other ingredients. Honestly, they could cut down on the broth and let the other ingredients stand out more.

(1) Describe the taste
The overall flavor was that of most other chicken broths and it was good – not too salty. The dumplings were small cubes, just like the chicken, and I also saw lots of discs of carrots and celery. The ingredients label also says there are green beans, but there wasn't much to be found in this can of soup.

(2) Describe the texture
Unfortunately, if you eat the dumplings, carrot & celery without the broth, you won't get much flavor and the texture is all the same –  a little soft & mushy.

(3) What did you like about it?
I enjoyed this for what it is – a good canned chicken soup and the flavor was spot on. The nutrition facts were also impressive - only 80 calories, 1.5 grams of fat (2% of the daily value), 10% of the DV for fiber and 6 grams of protein per 1 cup serving. I was also pleasantly surprised by the ingredients list which is mostly populated with recognizable ingredients (and added vitamins) - it starts out with chicken broth, carrots & dumplings (which is not made with 100% whole wheat flour, but at least they made an effort by using enriched whole wheat flour instead). There is also 35% of the daily value for vitamin A.

(4) What did you not like about it?
The vegetables are soft and mushy and didn't add much contrasting texture. The sodium content is also very high, at 29% of the daily value per 1 cup serving. I actually consumed 2 cups, which means I had 58% of the daily value for sodium at one meal.

(5) Did it satisfy your hunger or did you want something else as well?
I was actually full for a few hours after drinking 2 cups of this soup. However, for people watching their sodium intake more closely, perhaps 1 cup of soup plus a small sandwich would be a better way to go. Pile the veggies on, make it with whole grain bread of course, and for the protein, perhaps a delicious veggie burger like Amy's Organic California Veggie Burger or some deli meat made without fillers, like Healthy Ones Oven Roasted Turkey Breast.

(6). How does this food compare to similar and competing products?
Most canned soups actually have about 40% of the DV for sodium per cup – and even the low sodium ones still have 20% per cup (on average).  This soup had 58% of the daily value for sodium.

Summary
Overall, Progresso Light Chicken & Dumpling Soup is a decent choice as far as canned chicken soups go, in terms of the flavor, nutrition and ingredients. Sure the vegetables were a little soft and mushy, but that's my experience with most canned soups.

Nutrition Facts:


Progresso Light Zesty Southwestern-Style Vegetable Soup

It was time for lunch again and I decided to try another soup in the Progresso Light line.  As before, I decided to heat this up on the stove top instead of in the microwave.

My first impression of the appearance of the soup was not a good one. The broth had a brownish tinge, and the vegetables also had the same brownish hue and were clearly soft. After heating for about 10 minutes, I poured 1 cup into a bowl – from my negative impression of the appearance, I figured that 1 cup would be just about as much as I could handle. And I was right.

(1) Describe the taste
This soup was really uninspiring. At first I thought the broth was a tad too salty, but as I kept at it, I found it was the best thing about the soup, and there was a slight kick of spice at the end that added some interest to the flavor.

(2) Describe the texture
On the ingredients list, chicken broth is followed by 7 vegetables and beans - celery, tomatoes, carrots, green sweet peppers, corn, black beans and red bell peppers - but don't be fooled. The only thing that adds some texture/ crunch to the soup are the little bits of corn (and there is not that much of it). All the other vegetables are soft, mushy and tasteless.

(3) What did you like about it?
I liked the flavor of the broth.

(4) What did you not like about it?
The texture was practically non-existent, and although the taste of the broth was... okay, it just wasn't enough to make this anything more than a lackluster canned soup.

(5) Did it satisfy your hunger or did you want something else as well?
This definitely did nothing for me. I barely had the 1 cup that I poured and had to go make something else for lunch.

(6) How does this food compare to similar and competing products?
This zero Weight Watcher Point soup provides only 60 calories per serving, which is fantastic. There is also 16% of the daily value for fiber, 3 grams of protein and 20% of the DV for vitamin A (not added so it comes naturally from the ingredients). Unfortunately, there is 29% of the daily value for sodium. Most canned soups actually have about 40% of the DV for sodium per cup – and even the low sodium ones still have 20% per cup (on average).

Summary
I wouldn't buy Progresso Light Zesty Southwestern-Style Vegetable Soup again. Although the ingredients list & nutrition facts are pretty good (well, except for the sodium content), the mediocre taste cannot be forgiven. "Full serving of vegetable" says the can, but like I said before, the quality is lacking. I MUCH prefer V8 Southwestern Corn Soup.

Nutrition Facts:


Question for you...


Have you tried any of the Progresso Light soups? Which is your favorite?


Tanya Taylor founded Iateapie.net in 2004 while working on a PhD in Food Science and Nutrition at Auburn University (Alabama). Shortly after graduation (in August 2006), she moved to Ann Arbor, MI and started working as a Food Chemist.  She recently  relocated to New York where she continues to run Iateapie.net, along with IntheGym.net, which features workout playlists.



Comments


Personally, I quite enjoy Progresso's Light soups. Though, the two you chose to review are not my favorite. The ones I always go back for more for are the Italian-Style Vegetable (full of flavor!) and the Roasted Chicken, which seems to hit a spot for comfort food. After seeing the high sodium content per can myself, I just stick to eating the solid food stuff and what broth comes up in my spoon with that, and leave about a cup of broth in my bowl. It might be wasteful, but saves a lot of sodium in my diet per day. Another new flavor I recently tried was one that had meatballs in it (I can't remember the name) which was so-so, but I wouldn't buy it again. Anyways, the reason I buy them is because I can have a whole can of the 60-70 cal/serving varieties and only take in a total of 120-140 cal for that meal, and still feel full. I'd take that over a 120 cal/serving soup of half the size for my money. Cheers!



I have recently been eating the Progresso High Fiber soups for lunch.  The calorie amounts are similar to the light line, but they leave me feeling very full.  They contain soluble corn fiber which is what provides that full feeling I believe.  I am dismayed, however, to learn there may be 3 cups in the can as opposed to 2.  That is a problem for me as I am currently monitoring calories closely. 



I agree that sometimes the solid ingredients are lacking.  However, there are two that I really like.  The Savory Vegetable Barley (which I would have never chosen off the shelf, but my roommate bought it so I ate it and liked it), and the Chicken Noodle.



When I'm dieting, I'm generally not on a quest for great cuisine.  I'm just trying to get past the next meal.  I'm trying to keep myself at 1600 calories per day, and scarfing down a quick can of soup often fills the bill.  It's not what I'd choose in a perfect world, but in MY perfect world, steak would have half the calories of fish, and Doritos would have all the calories of celery.

It sucks being fat, and the road to my formally healthy body is paved over with food choices that are designed to get me past the next meal.  This means salads, lots of vegetables, and watery soups with low calories.  I don't have the time or money for complicated exotic meals.  I'm a simple guy.

Bottom line.  The soup's are OK.  Some are good, some not so good, all of them take 2 minutes to nuke, 2 minutes to eat, and I'm OK 'til the next mini meal.  My goal is to kill the hunger for the least amount of hassle, cost and time.  Satisfying my discriminating palate is low on the list.  In fact, in my world, that's what got me in this fix.

Oh, I'm down 70 pounds, work out 60-90 minutes per day (mostly ellipticle), and won't stop 'til I get there, and have faced the fact that, just like a recovering alcoholic, my eating habits will just have to be different for the rest of my life.  I don't do well with moderation, so environmental control will always be with me, etc...

-Mark

 



I love all Progresso light soups,  the chicken and dumplings are my favorite. I feel full after eating the soup and sometimes I don't drink the broth.



The soups are indeed on the tasty side, however, the sodium is pretty high.  Frown



Just FYI, your "curiosity was piqued," not "peaked."  If your curiosity had already peaked, you would have no more curiosity.

P.S. My favorite Progresso Light soup is the Vegetable flavor.  Also, I can't stand the meat they put in soup (of all kinds, not just Progresso).  It looks, tastes and feels like mystery meat, so I avoid all canned soups with meat in them.



My new kick is to make a big pot of homemade vegetable soup at the beginning of the week and then have a bowlful of it for lunch or before my dinner each night during the week.  It's so easy, too.  I cut up about 1/2 - 1 cup each of carrots, celery and onions; chop up a couple cloves of garlic - saute all of it in ~1 tbsp. of olive oil for several minutes with some salt and pepper- add a can of diced tomatoes with italian spices and then throw in about 6 cups of chicken broth and simmer away for an hour.  Granted, it's not as quick and easy as opening a can of soup but I think it's more flavorful and probably healthier because you can control the amount of seasoning/salt you add.  Sometimes I'll freeze half of it and save it for another week when I don't have the time to make it fresh.



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I agree that the Progresso Light soups could be better, but they are made for low cal, low fat, etc., purposes so for that reason I never did expect much more.  Chicken & Dumplings doesn't do much for me, but I do really like the Italian Vegetable a lot, and the meatball one was pretty good, but I also don't care much for many of the meats found in canned soups.  Another positive is they no longer have added MSG!  Rasmom, that is the best solution...make your own soup with ingredients that are healthy and you have control over the calories, etc.  I do make my own veggie soup which I add cut up cooked chicken to for protein.  However, in the interest of convenience and when I need to fill the hunger and don't have much time (or desire to cook), the Progresso Light soups are just the ticket!



oh wow...but ANYway, I don't really care for the Progresso Light soups, mainly because they seem to add more potassium chloride in order to eliminate some of the sodium content (though they still have a lot, as do most canned soups).  I am really sensitive to the taste of potassium chloride (used often as salt substitute) and I don't like it; so I am unable to enjoy any of these soups.  I much prefer regular Progresso's like the lentil and the chicken and wild rice flavors (which still list potassium chloride, but I can't taste it.  I just budget these higher calorie soups in to my daily caloric allowance.  They have more nutrition anyway.  Thanks so much for your reviews!  VERY informative!



Since I must really watch the sodium for medical reasons, I'm afraid I don't use any canned soups at all.  I'd like the convenience but the consequences of sodium overload are too great for me.



Take that back; I kind of liked the Italian Vegetable too (forgot about that one).  I am very impressed with all the high quality reviews so far.  It's very helpful.  I'm going to check these forums out next time before I try something new.  Thanks so much, everyone!



Dr. Taylor you are a PhD! The correct word is piqued, when used in reference to your curiosity. :)



I have tried the Light Chicken Noodle and Beef Pot Roast, both of which I think are very good.  I usually make soup myself, but once in a while on a cold winters day it is nice to just go to the pantry.  I have not checked the sodium content as I know that almost all canned food is high in sodium (especially if it is lower in other ingredients like fat).  I just don't eat it on a regular basis, so once in a while is OK for me.  Anyway, I bought these two flavors packaged together in a bulk pack so they are the only ones that I have tried, and I would buy them again.



Maybe someone already mentioned this but isn't it a 16oz can?  Which would be only 2 cups.  I've never actually measured it but I don't think they come even close to 3 cups.  I guess I'll have to check that out.



My curiosity was piqued as to whether anyone besides me was a word stickler as well as Progresso Soup eater...yep.  =) 

I have had the Southwestern and actually liked the flavor; I agree that the veggies etc are rather blah, but what I found was that this soup actually tasted different from so many of them. Like you, I heated it on the stove.  I'd eat it again. I have some others in the pantry so now I'm interested to compare notes.

Thanks for the info, appreciate it!



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The progresso light can size is 18.5 oz.. so that is 2 cups and almost a 1/3 cup.

If you are watching you salt.. you can pour off some of that extra broth.

But, flavor-wise, I like the Chicken Noodle and the Beef Pot Roast.. both are yummy, and I can get a couple of lunches out of one can.  But, I also have an apple and a small green salad to go with it.

~K



I am always hungry after I eat the entire can, so I only eat these if I'm desperate and in a hurry. 



I happen to love the Progresso Light soups! The Zesty Santa Fe Style Chicken is my absolute favorite! I keep a couple cans in my desk at work for days when I forget my lunch at home or just for one of my snacks. Laughing



It is SO simple to make good homemade soups that I don't know why more people don't make them and choose instead to buy the cans full of salt. Canned soup tastes either like can or celery or worse, both. Make your soups from scratch, people, and freeze individual portions!



VERY high sodium. I was eating these because of the "low points" but as soon as our health coach pointed out the sodium and I cut out the soups (and TV dinners...ie. Lean Cuisine, Smart Ones) I lost 5 pounds in one day!  Obviously water retention, but by cutting sodium the weight fell off.  I'd advise not to eat these soups.  A better option with less sodium is the Select Harvest by Campbells(?)... they're ~400 mgs vs these which are over 600 mgs. 

The average American consumes something over 5,000 mgs of soduim a day.  A healthy daily value would be between 1,200 - 2,000.  It's extremely hard to find foods low in sodium, but I guarantee if you watch this one ingredient it well help!



I like the Light Chicken Noodle soup.  I usually dump most of the broth before I even nuke it so the sodium content ratchets down for me.  And I usually have the whole can.  I might change that for next time as I did not realize there are almost 3 servings in the can.

jenpnc - I, too, am glad there are other word sticklers out there.  Another of my pet peeves is the rambling on with no punctuation and all lower case words, and the use of text message-type shortened words.



Consumer Reports published a study in December of 2009 about Bisphenol A (BPA) in canned goods. Progresso Vegetable Soup was listed as one of the worst for this.  Here is a link to the article which includes a debate of the potential dangers:

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine-archive/december -2009/food/bpa/overview/bisphenol-a-ov.htm



The sodium level keeps me away. I have avoided all canned soup for that reason. I've lost 36 pounds since Jan 5 when I started dieting and my low sodum diet has helped drop my BP from the 135/145 reange to the 115/125 range, what a great bonus to the weight loss. Can't wait for my next medical appointment to see what the blood work will show where my cholesterol levels stand, maybe I can ditch the meds I take for it.

I do eat our home made soups, I know there is no sodium added and while I prefer a saltier flavour, I can do without for a while.

 



Good for you, Bob!!



I eat the Progresso light soups nearly everyday. I rotate between the Italian Style, Southwestern Vegetable (not Zesty) and Vegetable and Pasta. I am not worried about the taste, for me it is all about the calories and they are filling. I think they taste as good as any other canned soups, but I am the first to tell you my palette is not very refined. Most things taste good to me, maybe that is why I have always been fat. Not anymore though.



I'm with you.  I too make a big pot of soup with whatever I find, left-over vegetables, add fresh (or frozen) ones, left-over meat, canned beans, and always add a lot of spinach.  Yum, and full of vitamins (and fiber).



I like the soups, their an easy and healthier answer to lunch at work. I must admit that some of them do not fill me up enough to get through the rest of my day, but I still eat them because its quick, cheap and healthier than what i would eat if i ordered out. ha! 



I asked my WW leader about the 0 pts and she explained that every 50 calories is actually one pt so you do have to count it..it is not a "free" food



I'm sorry that you weren't more impressed with the two soups you tried.  Neither of those two is one of my favorites, but I am a huge Progresso fan.  It's the one dollar bring with me to work lunch that I love - easy to count, yummy to eat, and it keeps me full till dinner.  My favorite is the Vegetable Classics Minestrone - it is not technically a "Light" soup, but at 100 calories per serving, a full can makes a great lunch (which I will be having in 2 or 3 hours).  I think that the kidney beans and garbonzo beans add the variety of color and texture that you were missing in the chicken and dumpling soup.

Oh, and I tend to agree with the poster who didn't like meat in soup... it just tends to feel and taste like mystery meat, so I'd rather get my protein elsewhere - usually at dinner.



I actually love the zesty sante fe style chicken. very filling and instead of using crackers i use a serving of tortilla chips crushed up in the soup for a very satisfying lunch. Another favorite of mine is the Beef Pot Roast..very flavorful and rich.



I love the Light reduced sodium vegatable. Yummy.



I am a fan of Progrsso soups.  I love the beef pot roast and several others.  I enjoy the flavor.  Although not among the lite ones, their clam chowder and chicken corn chowder are out of this world.  I find ways to manipulate the sodium as some of you have already mentioned.....don't drink the broth or drink more water and flush it out.  There has to be some flavor to our eating and Progresso provides it.  I love the suggestion about making your own soup and if I had more control over portion sizes I would but for me that is almost impossible.  I can play with items that already control portions much better than I can cook pretending that I will cut things into fourths or halves and save it for a later meal.  Not going to happen.  At any rate, so far it's working and Progresso soups are a great assist for me.



When it comes to Progresso, they don't have a lot of strictly vegetarian-friendly selections.  I like the minestrone, which isn't a light soup but not bad at 100 calories per cup, and the Italian-style vegetable.  For variety, I am with the above poster who likes Campbell's Select-their tomato basil is excellent and I like their Southwest Vegetable-the vegetables might not have much texture left but at 50 calories per cup, I can handle it.  I crumble in a few tortilla chips on the days I want texture!



I'm with Regina on this one, I just started looking at canned soups a few weeks ago (before I thought they were ALL ridiculously high in sodium), and I started with the progresso vegetable, but then I discovered Campbell's Select Harvest Light. They have 480 mg of sodium per serving compared to 690 (and while almost 500 per cup might be a bit much, it still saves you 200 compared to Progresso), and my favorite is the Italian, it doesnt' taste too salty, i microwave mine and the vegetables aren't too mushy (as compared to the southwestern style vegetable), and the beans really add texture! With 50 calories per cup, it's a good snack, or meal if you have the whole can. (Plus they come in those microwaveable cups now so you don't have to bring your own bowl to work or school!)



I love the Progresso light soups, especially the Chicken & Dumpling.  However I've found the high fiber soups to have mor flavor (although it's probably due to a higher sodium count).  The high fiber Chicken Tuscany is one of the best canned soups out there.  It's very filling too - I can usually eat a whole can and it will last me through the afternoon.

If you are looking for a southwestern-style soup, Campbell's Healthy Selects (I think that's what they're called) has a better version.



Homemade soup is so much more nutritious and much, much better tasting. The texture of the food is what it should be. With all the low-sodium alternatives out there to make broth, and all the pre-cut vegetables available at the grocer, there really is no reason not to try perfecting your own recipe for soup. You can freeze portions to take out and put in your lunch box for the day. 



I was home sick the week of 2/15 and had purchased a can or two of this since it was on sale.  I had the chicken and dumplings which I found to be appetizing and filling.

So much so I bought a few more cans when I grocery shopped this time.

 



I agree that if you are watching sodium intake, there are not a lot of good choices when it comes to canned or frozen (TV dinner) food fare.  My thought is that if I'm going take in the less desirable calories, I better at least get some satisfaction and nutrition out of the food choice.  When I need a quick meal and prepared food is my only option, I like to add plain mixed vegetables to stock things up to ensure a satisfying meal that will last through my busy time.  Just keep a bag of frozen vegetables on hand to beef up any meal!   I have souped up everything from cup.a.soup to lean cuisine entres.

Cheers



Have you tried the High Fiber variety they make?  Chicken Tuscany and some kind of noodle with veggies I can't remember the name of at the moment come in an 8-pack at Sam's.  I REALLY like the Chicken Tuscany especially, and you get nice beans and other veggies in there.  For a soup, the fiber content is great.  The flavor is also very very good, reminding me of Italian Meatball type soups due to the herbs used.  However, they are NOT light on sodium, which I consider the only drawback.  I just limit how many times a week I eat them.



Did anyone ever try the brand No Salt?  For all you salt lovers out there it may help.

On the soups-  I have only tried the Sante Fe Chicken and agree that the homemade soups are way better if you have the time. The good thing about the canned soup is the calorie count is already there for you.



I honestly love Progresso Light soups. As a vegetarian it's an easy lunch, pick me up after a hard workout, or dinner. I love the southwestern Veggie styled soup, it's probably my favorite. As far as the taste goes, I guess it all depends on the person's pallette and taste buds. Obviously someone who is a vegetarian will have different likes as opposed to someone who eats meat.

I love all the Progresso light soups (vegetarian styles of course); they're low in calories and are full of veggies, and the broth is to die for! :)



What is thiamin mononitrate? What is potassium chloride? What is sodium phosphate? And if, realistically speaking, I'm going to have that can of soup for myself, why do I want to digest 1380mg of sodium from SOUP in one sitting?

This is the epitome of bad processed food. 



My husband and I have a garden in the summer time and we can our green beans, tomatoes, carrots and kidney beans and other lentils.  I use my tomatoes as my base of my soup then add all my veggies and since I do not use salt while canning I don't have to worry about the salt. I season to my taste with different seasonings.  I make a huge pot which will last for 3 days.

This is a very light soup. 

I also eat the  progresso soups as well but some lack a lot of flavor, but there fast. 

 



As a fellow vegetarian, just be careful and check your ingredient lists--there are several very similarly named soups where one version will be vegetarian but the other version has chicken broth in it.  It's deceptive because the chicken is way down on the ingredient list so if you're not careful reading it you can miss it.  I think the one that got me was a light garden vegetable. 



We do not have Progress light soups here in New Zealand, well not as far as I know. Let me know if so and I will try them to see what they are like. I do believe there are similar ones like weight watchers soups here but really I wouldn't know what they taste like for I am not fond of can soups at the best of times, give me homemade soup any day, especially vegetable soup, yum!!!!!



The Progresso Italian Style vegetable soup is excellent.  One way the improve the taste and the nutritional value is to add a cup of fresh spinach while it is heating. I also thought this made it more filling.



thats a good idea using sinach

 



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