Progresso vs Campbell’s

Just like many, I’ve been trying to save money and eat healthier at the same time. But it is somewhat difficult to put together a tasty, healthy and quick lunch for work every day. There are only so many frozen food meals I can handle in a month, so I thought I would turn to something tasty and still simple – soup.

After watching those funny Progresso soup commercials, I decided to do my own taste test and compare the new Weight Watchers-endorsed Progresso soups with the Campbell’s Healthy Request line of soups.

I thought I would make it fair and choose a similar soup flavor so I went with Progresso’s Italian-Style Vegetables and Campbell’s Select Harvest Italian-Style Wedding.

 

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Campbell’s site says their “Healthy Request soups are 98% fat free, contain up to 50% less sodium than our regular soups and are made with high quality ingredients. And we’ve added lower sodium natural sea salt — so they taste great! All Healthy Request soups are certified by the American Heart Association.”

Campbell’s Italian-Style Wedding soup can said it had meatballs and spinach in chicken broth, with real parmesan cheese and no MSG added. One serving of about 9.3 ounces had 130 calories, 5 grams of fat with 0 grams of trans fat. It had 480 mg of sodium, 13 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber and 7 grams of protein. The ingredients were pretty basic and seemed all natural.

With all those natural ingredients, this soup tasted about as empty as its calories. The broth had no flavor and there wasn’t enough spinach and sausage meatballs to offset the plain taste of the little macaroni balls that looked like corn kernels. If I were at home, I would have added a little salt and pepper and probably some hot sauce, but I was at work, so I settled for what was quickly available – hot Cheetos.

The softened hot Cheetos helped me finish at least half the serving of soup before I just gave up on it altogether.

Progresso Light’s Italian-Style Vegetable soup said it had only about 60 calories per 8 ounce serving with no grams of fat listed, 700 mg of sodium, 12 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein. It also had about 14 percent of the recommended daily value of potassium, 20 percent of vitamin A, 4 percent each of calcium and iron and 8 percent of vitamin C. Most of the ingredients made sense to me also.

One serving equals 0 points in the Weight Watchers point system and one package, about 2 servings, equals 1 point.

Though this soup didn’t have any meat, there was plenty of chunky penne pasta and vegetables like carrots, celery, green beans and tomatoes. The broth was pretty flavorful, it was hard to believe it had fewer calories than the Campbell’s soup. I didn’t even feel the need to add any hot sauce – or hot Cheetos – to this soup.

Maybe it was the vegetables adding some real flavor to the broth, but to me Progresso was the winner – by far.

No more macaroni grilling

Daily Bulletin columnist David Allen writes about the closure of the Romano’s Macaroni Grill in Rancho Cucamonga because of slow sales. He mentions that the West Covina location is closing for the same reason.

I was surprised. You would think that the West Covina restaurant would have tremendous sales. It’s next to a insanely-popular movie theater and across the street from the West Covina mall. Then again, the last time I went to the Macaroni Grill was at least a year ago…

Macaroni Grill didn’t necessarily have the most amazing Italian food, but it was good. The menu had all the traditional favorites, and the restaurant was casual enough for a weeknight dinner but nice enough for a special occasion. Now that it’s closing, where else can you find Italian food in the area?

Tulipano’s in Azusa
Giovanni’s in downtown Covina
Macaroni Grill in Rowland Heights/Industry (wonder if that one will close, too)
Avolio’s in Covina
Artie’s Pizza in Covina
Johnny Carino’s in Covina
El Appetiz in Baldwin Park
Olive Garden in Industry
Spaghetti Eddie’s in Glendora