Imagine this scenario: you're a few weeks into your keto journey and things are going great. You know what it feels like to be in ketosis and can see the pounds falling away, and then bam! You get a cold!
Or take this one: you're at a similar point, but you woke up at 6am, went to the gym, managed to pack your keto-friendly lunch, but then you got stuck in traffic and only have 30 minutes when you're home to make dinner after a crazy day at work. You open the fridge and only see wilted kale and half an onion. There is no fiber in your being that wants to cook anything!
Do you know what would be perfect for both of these situations? Soup. Oh, sweet, convenient soup. But is soup something you can indulge in on keto? Well, yeah! Assuming you buy or make the right kind that doesn't have a lot of carbs, then you're in luck.
The no-buy list of soups (these are not keto-friendly!)
I'm about to say something really silly, but soups are just broths with extra food in them. All the same keto rules for your regular foods apply here. That means no pasta. No bean-based soups. No carb-heavy vegetables, etc.
Here's a short-list of the most common types of soup that you should just avoid altogether:
- Chicken Noodle
- Beef Noodle Soup
- Vegetables & Barley
- Chicken Gumbo
- Chicken & Wild Rice
- Cream of Potato
- Lentil Soup
Basically, any soup that has rice, pasta, (most) beans, or potatoes is a no-go. I know that knocks off a bunch, but believe me, there are still a lot of options, I promise!
What to look for when searching for keto canned soup
Unfortunately, a lot of popular soup brands have high amounts of sodium, sugar, and preservatives. That's not the case across the board, but generally speaking, you'll always want to double-check the label, even when you are pretty sure it's a safe flavor like broccoli cheese.
Here are some tips for finding keto-friendly soups
Tip #1: Add up the total servings
Soups can be sneaky sometimes. You may see a label and think, psh! 6g of carbs! That's money! But then you realize that that's per cup, and who eats just one cup of soup at a time? No one! Companies label by serving to make them seem healthier, so be careful.
Tip #2: Subtract fiber to get net carbs
Net carbs = total carbs - fibers. Your body can't digest the carbs from fibers, so they don't contribute to your carb count on keto[*]. Use this metric instead of total carbs to get a better read on your carb count and advise what you can and can't eat.
Tip #3. Always check your labels
Canned soups are particularly susceptible to extra carbs and sodium. Check every label to build up a bank of trustworthy soups and then buy in bulk. That's the best way.
Tip #4. Stick to these flavors
This isn't a complete list, but here are some flavors that should generally be more keto-friendly:
- Broccoli cheese
- Mushroom-based soups
- "Creamy soups" in general
- Roasted chicken and veggie
- Bone broth soups
- Beef and cabbage
- Cauliflower soups
- Asparagus soups
- Spring soups with egg
- Vegetable beef soup (without potatoes)
Bonus Tip #5. Avoid cans when possible!
Canned soups are the most common culprits for extra carbs. By opting for boxed or other packaged soups, you'll put yourself in a better position from the get-go.
The secret to eating soup on keto
Here's the best way to make eating soup on keto better: look at canned or packaged soup as a starting point.
In other words, add stuff! Boil or saute up some spinach and throw it in chicken broth or top your soup with some avocado. Another keto favorite is to take bone broth or heavy cream and "stretch" the soup a bit farther to dilute the carb content.
Whatever you can do to increase the fat and protein content while diminishing the carbs is fair game.
9 keto-friendly soups to buy
As promised, here are some of the best low-carb soups to buy for your pantry. Eating soup out of a can is a higher carb game by nature, but we checked each and every one of these canned options to make sure they sit below 10 grams of net carbs per serving and included other options besides cans for you to check out.
Note: Remember that keto-friendly does not mean you can eat an unlimited amount of these soups. It simply means you can eat more of them relative to higher carb alternatives. Counting your carbs and what these add to your daily intake is the only way to make sure you stay in ketosis!
1. Kettle & Fire Spicy Cauliflower Soup
This one has a premium price but does a fantastic job of staying low carb while retaining taste, and it's a little spicy for the more adventurous eaters out there!
6g net carbs per container
2. Progresso Broccoli Cheese with Bacon
This is the highest carb option on this list, but you can find it in most grocery stores. This would be a good option to dilute with cream or bone broth to spread those carbs out a bit.
20g net carbs per can
3. Progresso Classic French Onion
It's a simple soup, but that means it's a great option for veggie additions! Try putting some celery or roasted cauliflower in this one.
16g net carbs per can
4. Costco Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Broccoli cheddar is one of the most comforting soups in my opinion, and Costco's option gets you a lot of food for its carbohydrate buck. Plus with one trip to Costco, you'll have enough soup for a year! Or at least that's what always happens to me.
12g net carbs per cup (not available in a can)
5. Healthy Choice Country Vegetable
This is a bit high in carbs, but it's a solid option for when you're really craving a fully prepared soup from a can. This is another good option for diluting with bone broth, too!
17g net carbs per can
6. True Primal Beef & Vegetable
Also a bit pricer, this soup takes a strong stance against preservatives, gluten, etc. Clocking in at 11 carbs, it's definitely a solid choice for keto dieters!
11g net carbs per pouch
7. Bariatric Choice High Protein Soup Mix
Some people aren't fans of soup mixes, but they taste just fine! This mix is pretty simple, so you'll need to add some veggies in to make it a complete meal.
4g net carbs per packet
8. Freeze Dried Miso Soup
This is the lowest carb option, but it's also mostly broth. Add a hardboiled egg and some green onions to kick it up a notch.
2g net carbs per container
9. Progresso Traditional Chicken Enchilada
This is another canned soup that keeps its carbs pretty low. If you're looking for something super simple that will get you through a meal, this will work! You could even add some extra chicken on top to up the protein count.
16g net carbs per can
Where the best keto-friendly soup is hiding
Hint: it's not from a store — it's from your house! Yes, I’m talking about homemade soup and stocks. Making soup (at least simple keto soup), is easy. Don't be afraid to make your own vegetable or meat-based stock — if you're looking for ways to reduce the sodium, sugar, and carb content of store-bought soups, then this is your answer. By knowing exactly what you're putting in, there is nowhere for those pesky carbs and preservatives to hide.
Here are 31 keto-friendly soup recipes from the team over at Bulletproof.com. If you're looking for inspiration, then look no further! They've got recipes for Lamb & Herb Bone Broth, Creamy Keto Chicken Soup, and much more.
Some people on keto even go as far as to make their own zucchini noodles for soup. While you don't have to go that far, I'm sure it's delicious. You've got options! Or as they say, the world is your... vegetable beef?