Progresso sent me a few soups to try out and review. I decided to go with a flavor that was NOT chicken, and so reached for Progresso Light Italian Style Meatball Soup. This soup is 1 Weight Watchers Point and the packaging points out that has 33% less calories than regular ready-to-serve soups.
I must say this soup was delightful. After tasting the first spoonful, I thought, "I need to add a little salt," But nnowing that I tend to consume way too much salt than is good for me, I just kept eating. You know what - this needs no salt, no nothing. There is a pleasant tomato flavor from the broth - not too strong, just a little more than a hint and enough to say hello! The meatballs were small but numerous, along with the penne & vegetables. A note on the vegetables though - as usual they were bland and indistinct ... similar to a few other Progresso Light Soups I reviewed recently over at CalorieCount.com. But I still loved the flavor of the soup.
Progresso and Camobell's soups are having what seems like an advertising war, but to tell you the truth, I'm a fan of certain soups from both brands. From Campbell's, I like Campbell's Select Harvest Light Vegetable Beef & Barley Soup and Campbells Chunky Healthy Request Classic Chicken Noodle Soup (just to name a few), and from Progresso, Progresso Reduced Sodium Italian Style Wedding Soup and Progresso Chicken & Wild Rice 45% Less Sodium Soup. Today, I decided to try Progresso Light Zesty Santa Fe Style Chicken Soup after seeing the appetizing picture on the front: chicken, rice, corn, and black beans
I really enjoyed this soup. The chicken is tender and flavorful (maybe that's the salt talking), and the combination of rice, corn, and black beans is divine. My only complaint was the fact that there seemed to be a high broth-to-stuff ratio; I wish Progresso would find a way to bulk this soup up!
Each 8-ounce serving of Progresso Light Zesty Santa Fe Style Chicken Soup provides 80 calories, 1 gram of fat, 28% of the daily value for sodium, 2 grams of fiber, and 6 grams of protein. There are 2.5 servings in each can, so if you eat the entire thing, you'll be getting 200 calories, 70% of the daily value for sodium, 5 grams of fiber, and 15 grams of protein.
Cutting salt out of my diet has been far harder for me than cutting out sweets and other temptations. Even foods that are for the most part healthy, like salads and stir-fries, taste so much better to me with soy sauce and dressings. Switching to reduced-sodium options hasn't helped me that much; I tend to find myself just adding salt anyway. Still, every now and then, I find one that really stands out.
Progresso's 40% Reduced-Sodium Italian Style Wedding Soup is by far one of the best reduced-sodium soups that I've tried. The broth has a nice chicken flavor, the little salad macaroni noodles are still al dente, and the meatballs are tender and flavorful. There's a good amount of both pasta and meatballs, though a disappointing amount of vegetables. There's a few carrots and spinach fragments floating around, but not nearly as much as would be considered a decent vegetable serving. Eggs, a staple in this soup traditionally, are nowhere to be seen in this canned version, though canning eggs would probably be nigh impossible. And while this soup is tasty, it's definitely not what I'd call hearty - this is one to eat with a salad or sandwich, not by itself with some crackers.
Let me just come right out and say this ... Progresso High Fiber Creamy Tomato Basil Soup tastes like a simple spaghetti sauce mixed with a handful of basil to give it a somewhat pleasant herb flavor. However, there is just something about this soup's textural nature that makes it taste less like tomato soup and more like spaghetti sauce. Is it good? Yes. Would I buy it again? I don't know; perhaps, if I needed something to toss my ravioli in.
However, let's look at the ingredient list: Tomato Puree (water, tomato paste), Water, Sugar, Soluble Corn Fiber, Soybean Oil, Cream, Basil and a few other minuscule items. Each 1 cup serving of Progresso High Fiber Creamy Tomato Basil Soup (2 servings per can) provides 130 calories, 4 grams of total fat which includes 1 gram of saturated fat, 29% of the daily value for sodium, 7 grams of fiber (28% of the DV), 13 grams of sugars and 3 grams of protein.
I love the high fiber; that's something Pacific Natural Foods Organic Creamy Tomato Light Sodium Soup and Pacific Natural Foods Organic Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup don't have. But what they do have is a superbly seasoned tomato soup - and that's something Progresso High Fiber Creamy Tomato Basil Soup hasn't quite got down yet.
Soup is one of my favorite comfort foods on a chilly, rainy day. While browsing Pathmark supermarket recently, I saw Progresso Soups were on sale for $1.22 for the 18.5 oz (2 serving) can. Browsing through the many different varieties, I quickly found one that piqued my interest, Progresso Light Reduced Sodium Vegetable Soup. I checked to make sure the ingredients were all vegetarian, as for some reason, many of their vegetable soups actually contain beef or chicken broth (this does contain egg ingredients). After seeing that nothing in there was derived from anything with a face, I was reassured and happily took home my find. I was pretty pleased ... reduced calorie, reduced sodium, reduced price.
When it was heating up, the aroma was rich and inviting, especially once it was piping hot. I took my first bite, and was very satisfied with the hearty flavor that filled my mouth. The main thing I noticed was the tomato, which makes sense as the broth is tomato-based. There were a mix of vegetable flavors which all came together rather well. It was nicely seasoned, with definite hints of garlic and onion, which were not overpowering, along with a blend of other spices.
The consistency, on the other hand, left something to be desired. Though full of flavor, the broth is very thin and unlike the mouthwatering spoonful shown on the can, it is not, shall we say, very densely populated. The vegetables were fairly large, but mushy and lacked individual flavor. They took on the flavor of the soup instead of infusing the soup with their own natural flavors. There was a fair amount of chunks of celery, carrots, and green beans, at least compared to the 10 kernels of corn I counted. The spiral pasta was also pretty sparse. If you really split one can into 2 servings, you may find yourself on a treasure hunt - navigating through the swamp in search of the golden coins.
Soup is often an excellent diet food, as you can buy ones that are low in calories, full of vegetables, and fill you up inside. The salt these soups contain are often their only downfall, but Progresso has remedied this by using sea salt, resulting in a reduced-sodium soup.
I'm happy to say that I didn't find myself reaching for the salt shaker as I ate the 45% Less Sodium Progresso Chicken & Wild Rice Soup. It actually tastes more like a natural broth as compared to something made from a bouillon, and while it could use more spices, it was decent for a canned soup. There was a satisfying amount of tender breast chunks, and plenty of rice and carrots. I was also pleasantly surprised to see that that there was also tomatoes which was a welcome and colorful addition. However, I would have liked see even more vegetables - more celery and tomatoes, and the addition of peas, corn, green beans, or even broccoli. The ho-hum carrots and celery were just a bit ... boring.