Soup is definitely one of my favorite foods.  But it is a rare occasion when I will order soup in a restaurant because it is usually loaded with salt.  In many nicer restaurants, you may see soup on the menu along with a description of what is in it, but since there are no nutrition facts listed, it is very hard to gauge the sodium content.  However, did you know that many chain restaurants such as Corner Bakery or Panera Bread list the nutritional info for their menu items on their website?

Dare we look at the nutrition facts of your favorite Broccoli Cheese Soup from Panera or Tomato Basil Soup from Corner Bakery?  Yes, let’s!!

First you must understand that the total amount of daily recommended sodium intake for individuals with high blood pressure, hypertension or other conditions where you need to limit sodium is 1500 mg.  Other people who do not have an issue should limit sodium intake to 2300 mg. daily.  When eating soup, try to limit the sodium to 500 mg. maximum per serving.

If you go to Panera and you get a cup of their Broccoli Cheddar Soup, you will be ingesting 840 mg. sodium and with a bowl you’ll get a whopping 1330 mg. of sodium.  If you frequent Corner Bakery and figure you’ll be “healthy” and have their Tomato Basil Soup, a cup will contain 1680 mg. of sodium, while a bowl will have 2430 mg of sodium.  That is more than your daily intake of salt should be and that is just gross.

Needless to say, your best bet is to make homemade soup!  It’s easy to do and healthy, and you can make a big pot and freeze smaller portions to eat at later times. Also many soups can be like a one-pot meal; add a side salad and a slice of whole grain bread and you have a complete meal. Hint: most soups taste best the day after you make them as all the flavors are able to meld.  When making soup, always use low-sodium broth or homemade broth.

Here’s a recipe for a simple vegetable soup made a little unique with the addition of fennel.  Fennel is an excellent source of Vitamin C and contains many health-promoting antioxidant phytonutrients.

Delicious Vegetable Soup With Fennel

A simple soup recipe made unique with the addition of fennel!

Course Soup
Cuisine Soups and Salads
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4


  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic minced
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 stalk celery diced
  • 1 carrot diced
  • 1 bulb fennel trimmed and diced
  • 4 cups greens swiss chard, kale and/or spinach
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup dried small whole wheat pasta orzo or elbow macaroni
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • shaved or grated parmesan for garnish


  1. Heat oil in large soup pot on medium heat.

  2. Saute onion and garlic for 5 minutes.

  3. Add thyme and oregano and saute for 1 minute. 

  4. Add broth, water, tomatoes, celery, carrot and fennel.

  5. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

  6. Return soup to boil.  Add dried pasta and boil gently until pasta is tender, about 10 minutes.

  7. Reduce heat.  Add greens.  Simmer for 5 minutes.

  8. Season with salt and pepper.

  9. Garnish with parmesan cheese if you'd like!


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