Skip to content

#1 Unhealthiest Soup at 10 Major Restaurant Chains

Dietitians say these are the worst soups to sip on when dining out.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

When the outside temperatures start to cool, it's once again soup's time to shine. It's the perfect starter, side order, or meal when you're feeling chilly. Most chain restaurants offer a variety of soups on their menu to help you warm up; however, some restaurant chain soups can be nutritional disasters.

"Although you might want to reach for soup when you are feeling cold or under the weather, some soups may be loaded with salt, cream, butter, and high in overall calories, unhealthy fats and sodium," Roxana Ehsani, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist in Miami, tells Eat This, Not That! "Most cream-based soups or cheesy soups will likely be high in fat compared to soups that have a broth base."

Certain restaurant chain soups can also be packed with sodium—some over 4,000 milligrams—which can be incredibly taxing on your heart. "The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day for most adults, and less than 1,500 milligrams per day for those with high blood pressure," says Amber Pankonin, MS, RD, registered dietitian, and owner of the food blog Stirlist, which is why both Pankonin and Ehsani warn that diners be aware of the nutritional information for the soups they're ordering. "Check to see if the sodium content on the soup you are ordering is in a reasonable range, such as 200 to 500 milligrams per cup," Ehsani adds.

On the flip side, if you are looking for a healthy soup, look for one that isn't creamy or cheesy in consistency, since those likely will be higher in fat. "Look for one that adds lots of veggies into their soup such as veggie soup or minestrone soup," says Ehsani.

With that in mind, here are 10 of the unhealthiest soups you should never order at your favorite chain restaurants. Read on, and for more, don't miss The #1 Unhealthiest Fish Order At 10 Major Restaurant Chains.

Panera: Broccoli Cheddar – Bread Bowl

Broccoli Cheddar Soup in a Bread Bowl panera
Panera Bread
Per bowl: 900 calories, 20g fat (11g saturated fat), 2,090mg sodium, 146g carbs (8g fiber, 7g sugar), 35g protein

Bread is the perfect pairing with a warm bowl of soup. But if you order the Bread Bowl at Panera, you're in for carb overload.

"The famous broccoli cheddar soup in a bread bowl is so beloved by many, but is one of the highest in calorie soups on the Panera menu," says Ehsani. "You might be thinking it's nutritious for you as there's an actual veggie in the name, but it packs 900 calories, which is almost half your calories for the day from one soup. It also contains nearly a day's worth of sodium in one bowl, packing close to 2,100 milligrams of sodium per serving."

Red Robin: Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup
Per bowl: 390 calories, 19g fat (7g saturated fat), 1,720mg sodium, 37g carbs (6g fiber, 8g sugar), 20g protein

While this soup is broth-based, it's topped with fat and calorie-laden cheddar, sour cream, and tortilla strips.

"Even though a bowl of this Chicken Tortilla soup is only 390 calories, the amount of sodium is high at 1,720 milligrams per serving," says Pankonin.

Pret A Manger: Tomato & Feta Soup

Pret A Manger: Tomato & Feta Soup
Pret A Manger
Per large bowl: 260 calories, 15g fat (6g saturated fat), 1,520mg sodium, 26g carbs (4g fiber, 15g sugar), 9g protein

"Although this soup isn't too unhealthy compared to others, 2 cups of soup (their large size) does hit approximately half of your daily limit for saturated fat," says Ehsani. "A 2,000-calorie diet should hit no more than about 13 grams of saturated fat a day, this soup hits nearly half in just 2 cups. It also is quite high in sodium, packing 70% of your daily limit for sodium, too."

B.J.'s Restaurants: Clam Chowder in a Sourdough Loaf

B.J.'s Brewhouse: Clam Chowder in a Sourdough Loaf
B.J.'s Restaurants / Pinterest
Per bowl: 1,470 calories, 42g fat (14g saturated fat), 4,680mg sodium, 219g carbs (10g fiber, 5g sugar), 45g protein

This soup has the most calories and sodium on the entire list.

"This cream-based soup is both very high in calories and sodium," says Pankonin. "It contains 1470 calories and 4,680 milligrams of sodium, which is double the amount of sodium that is recommended to be consumed per day."

Olive Garden: Zuppa Toscana Soup

Olive Garden: Zuppa Toscana Soup
Olive Garden
Per bowl: 220 calories, 15g fat (7g saturated fat), 790mg sodium, 15g carbs (2g fiber, 2g sugar), 7g protein

"This creamy soup is loaded with sausage and potatoes and is quite high in fat," says Ehsani. "Sausage on its own is quite high in unhealthy fat and salt, when you combine it with a cream-based soup those calories can add up quickly. Over half of this soup's calories are coming from fat. If you are looking for a healthier option, choose the minestrone at Olive Garden instead!"

 8 Healthiest Dishes To Order at Olive Garden

Applebee's: French Onion Soup

Applebee's: French Onion Soup
Per bowl: 370 calories, 22g fat (12g saturated fat), 1,250mg sodium, 26g carbs (2g fiber, 9g sugar), 16g protein

Although this soup is broth-based (not creamy), it still packs a ton of sodium.

"French Onion soup is typically high in sodium due to the cheese and bread that is included," says Pankonin. "This version only contains 370 calories but it does contain 1250 mg of sodium, which is about half the recommended amount you should consume in a day."

LongHorn Steakhouse: Loaded Potato Soup

LongHorn Steakhouse: Loaded Potato Soup
LongHorn Steakhouse
Per bowl: 380 calories, 19g fat (9g saturated fat), 670mg sodium, 16g carbs (2g fiber, 2g sugar), 10g protein

LongHorn Steakhouse doesn't mince words when they say this soup is 'loaded'–it's crammed with tons of bacon and cheese.

"Potato lovers will be sad to learn this isn't the best option at LongHorn Steakhouse, this cream-based soup is loaded with bacon and cheese," says Ehsani. "Both bacon and cheese are naturally high in sodium and unhealthy saturated fat. For a bowl of this soup, it's also going to hit almost half of your fat needs for the day."

Chili's: The Original Chili

Chili's Original Chili
Per bowl: 600 calories, 35g fat (13g saturated fat), 2,000mg sodium, 28g carbs (2g fiber, 5g sugar), 27g protein

Yes, Chili's has chili! It offers a kick of spice, as well as lots of sodium and fat–since it's topped with cheese and tortilla strips.

"This bowl of chili contains 600 calories and 2000 mg of sodium," says Pankonin. "If ordering this as a side, try ordering a cup instead of the bowl and it will cut the calories and sodium in half."

 10 Restaurant Chains That Serve the Best Chili

Outback Steakhouse: French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup
Outback Steakhouse
Per bowl: 570 calories, 36g fat (17g saturated fat), 4,120mg sodium, 42g carbs (4g fiber, 18g sugar), 19g protein

"Although French onion soup is technically broth-based, the brothy base is also made by slowly cooking onions in lots of butter then topping each bowl with lots of cheese," says Ehsani. "This soup is also super high in sodium, packing almost double your daily limit for sodium in one bowl. It contains 4120 mg of sodium, while the daily recommendation should not exceed 2300 mg of sodium!"

Subway: Beef Chili with Beans

Beef Chili
Per bowl: 360 calories, 22g fat (8g saturated fat), 800mg sodium, 21g carbs (4 fiber, 6g sugar), 21g protein

Subway offers up a meaty chili. While more filling than other options, it's the worst nutritionally.

"Compared to the other soup options, this soup contains the highest amount of calories and sodium on the menu," says Pankonin. "It might be more filling compared to the other options, but it does contain the highest amount of fat."

 7 Unhealthiest Subway Orders, According to Dietitians