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Boost the flavor and lower the salt in homemade soup

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mother tasting daughter's soupWho doesn't like a steamy bowl of soup on a cold or rainy day, or a chilled soup when it's warm outside?

Soups come in all varieties. They also vary in how much sodium or salt they contain.

If you're familiar with the American Heart Association's Salty Six - the top six foods that contribute the most sodium to our diet - you know that soup lands on that list. One cup of canned chicken noodle soup can have up to 940 milligrams of sodium!

Sodium levels in similar soups can vary a lot.

Compare the nutrition labels of similar varieties of soup at the grocery store and choose the one with the lowest amount of sodium. At home, add plain frozen veggies to your canned soup of choice so there is less sodium per serving.

Even better, cook a big batch of soup and freeze the leftovers so you'll have several quick meals on hand.

Here are some great salt alternatives that can add flavor to your homemade soups:

  • Tomato - fresh basil leaves and a sprinkle of dried oregano, thyme, or tarragon
  • Gazpacho - minced garlic, red wine vinegar, or sherry vinegar
  • Butternut squash - pinch of dried sage or curry powder with a swirl of plain non-fat yogurt, or cinnamon and nutmeg with cooked apple puree
  • Bean or lentil - chopped roasted red peppers and freshly ground black pepper, or baby spinach and a drizzle of olive oil
  • Vegetable - chopped fresh parsley with a bit of grated Parmesan cheese, or a spoonful of basil pesto
  • Chicken noodle - freshly grated ginger and a squeeze of fresh lime or lemon juice, or a dash of hot sauce and a few cilantro leaves

What other ideas do you have? Share your flavor tips for your favorite soup in the comments.