I’m literally counting down the days until my second ever half-marathon in which I intend to knock around 10 minutes off my current personal best. This is no easy task and to say that I’m challenging myself at the moment is a major understatement!
It’s said that if your goals don’t scare you, they’re just not big enough and I completely agree.
So I’m pushing myself further with my gym training, working harder on my speed and endurance and focusing even more on my diet and eating lifestyle.
Recently I teamed up with Baxters who have been producing a wide-variety of soups since 1868. That’s 150 years of soup-making experience! They wanted me to get involved and review their new Hearty range of soups that have been specifically designed with a healthier lifestyle in-mind.
Before this product review I thought that if it was home-made it was ok as you knew exactly what ingredients you were adding. There are too many canned varieties with excess salt and sugar, as well as preservatives that are unnecessary. For me, in order to change my mind, there’d have to be a very different type of product out there.
There were 12 cans delivered to me with 10 different recipe varieties. I was pleasantly surprised at the wide-range of options that were available and it made me think that even for the fussiest of eaters they’d still find something to try.
Here were some of the options:-
- Moroccan Chicken Harira
- Spicy Green Lentil Dhal
- Beef, Bean & Vegetable
- Spiced Red Lentil & Smoked Bacon
- Chicken & Sweetcorn Chowder
- Quinoa, Ginger & Carrot
- Turmeric, Chorizo & Mixed Bean
There were such a diverse range to choose from and you could tell that the recipe ideas were well-researched and moved away from the ‘classics’ of tomato or lentil soup.
So besides the various flavours, what made these soups any different to what was already out there?
As I examined the different cans I could see that each can contained at least 2 of your 5-a-day, even 3 in some recipes. This was very convenient and I began to feel more confident that these soups were going to be different to anything I’d tried before. Perhaps even change my own conception of the ‘canned soup option’.
On the front of the can there was the ‘High Protein’ title which, as a person who is always examining his food, particularly caught my interest.
I turned the can over to find out specifically how much protein there was, and became pleasantly surprised with 14 grams, but was it just on this particular flavour option?
No, in fact almost every can averaged around this amount which gave me the impression that these cans could in fact be considered as a whole lunch that would keep me fuller for longer and result in not snacking an hour later. This is a big plus for anyone who’s looking for a healthier lunch that won’t be hungry and eating who knows what soon after!
Without even tasting the soup I’d identified that they were high in protein and contained 2 or 3 of my 5-a-day. It was a great start.
So where was the compromise? Did they contain a lot of sugar and/or salt? The answer was No.
Each flavour option had different levels which would be expected, but they were all relatively low which was important to me as I’m very conscious of how much sugar and salt I consume. My only concern with these low levels was would it compromise on the taste? Would I have to add extra salt in order to enhance the flavour?
Before I get to that I wanted to point out one other check.
In order to obtain the actual full name of any food product you need to read the back of its packaging. I did this with the Baxters Hearty range and the full name was exactly the same as what was on the front of the can. Nothing added. Often you get words like ‘added water’ which is kept hidden from the advertised brand name but not in this case!
Although I didn’t get the chance to taste every one of the 10 varieties, I can tell you that the ones I did try were all of a high-quality with plenty of flavour packed-in. There wasn’t one that I tried and didn’t want to finish.
I found that the majority of ingredients were similar to what I’d use to make a homemade version anyway, so that freshness was very much preserved.
One of my personal favourites was the ‘Spiced Red Lentil & Smoked Bacon’ soup.
It had a lovely consistency with a slight hint of spice. It was perfect after one of my longer runs last week and quickly warmed me up from the cold outdoors!
There was also enough smoked bacon contained within the portion. I often find that some cans of soup can limit these sort of ingredients in order to keep their costs down, but not with Baxters. What was on the can was very much inside.
I also really enjoyed the ‘Tomato, Chorizo & Mixed Bean’ option.
This had 3 of my 5-a-day which was excellent and it tasted as if I’d made it from scratch and I’d poured a ladle-full from the casserole dish itself! It really was that fresh!
I enjoyed it so much and let my partner try some. She liked it so much she went out to purchase her own the next day for lunch!
If I was ever asked what would be important to me in a canned soup it would be that it tastes great, is high in protein, low in salt & sugar and enough of my five-a-day.
Baxters Hearty range ticked every box without compromising on the quality of the taste. They’ve created a range that alter the landscape when it comes to tinned soups and I would certainly look to fit them into my lifestyle, particularly as my training for the half-marathon picks up.
If you want something that’s quick to prepare, with minimal fuss but tastes great and keeps you fuller for longer then I’d definitely recommend you try one. I promise you won’t be disappointed!