Kidney Diet Tips

Make this Soup Season a Success

dva-barley-beef-stew-smallThe season is here for warming up with your favorite bowl of stew or soup, especially on cold winter days. With the hustle and bustle it is easy to turn to quick, affordable and convenient grab-off-the-shelf soup.

There are more varieties and colorful packaging than ever filling the soup section of supermarket shelves. Although tempting, a majority of store bought soups are high in sodium and other additives. Higher sodium foods pose several risks for patients with chronic kidney disease including increase in blood pressure, thirst and fluid retention. By finding a delicious, low-sodium soup recipe and preparing ahead you can make this winter a success when it comes to eating soup and your health.

Sodium content per serving can vary between varieties and packaging. You can find the amount of sodium per serving listed on the nutrition facts label on the container. When comparing several store bought varieties of chicken noodle soup there is a range from 700 to 1200 mg of sodium per one cup serving. This is over half of the daily recommended sodium allowance. The American Heart Association recommends an ideal limit of 1500 mg of sodium a day with an upper limit of 2300 mg a day. Your daily goal may vary depending on your doctor’s prescription.

Low-sodium and reduced-sodium soups range from 100 to 600 mg sodium and are a better choice. However, some of these soups contain potassium chloride, an additive that greatly increases potassium content. For kidney patients on a low potassium plan these soups are not recommended.

To make healthier, low-sodium soups work for your busy life try preparing a large pot ahead of time and freezing in batches. This is an easy way to have healthy, homemade low-sodium soups on hand throughout the year. Follow these simple tips to make this soup season a success:

  1. Find a low-sodium soup or stew recipe. Check out the DaVita website for low-sodium recipes. Try the Rotisserie Chicken Noodle Soup or the Beef and Barley Stew. The chicken soup recipe contains only 360 mg of sodium per 1-1/4 cup serving. The Beef and Barley Stew only contains 222 mg of sodium per 1-1/4 cup serving.
  2. Plan ahead. Once you find the perfect recipe(s), make a trip to the grocery store to stock up on ingredients. It can be helpful to make a couple of recipes at once, especially with similar ingredients. Buy some large freezer zip lock bags. Allow yourself a couple hours on a weekend or week night to prepare your soups.
  3. Prepare, cool and package. Make your soup recipe and adjust with low-sodium seasonings as needed. Once your soup is done, remove from heat and let it cool. Fill your zip lock bags with the desired amount of soup and remove additional air before sealing. Be sure to label with the date and serving size on the bag before freezing.
  4. Freeze and Reheat. Place sealed bags in the freezer. When you are ready to serve it, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then heat on your stovetop over medium heat until steamy hot. Frozen soups are good for 3 months so make sure and check the dates before consuming.

Warm up with your favorite bowl of stew or soup today. For more recipe suggestions read “Stew Up on Cozy Days“.


Jessica Triggs, MPH, RDN

Jessica Triggs, MPH, RDN

Jessica has been a registered dietitian for over 10 years with nearly all of that time working with the renal population. She is passionate about the power of food in improving the health of our communities. She grew up on a farm in Kansas and enjoys gardening and incorporating farm fresh foods in to a healthy diet for her family. Jessica and her husband have two young daughters with whom they enjoy traveling.