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If there is a type of person I wish I could be, it’s the type that takes the time to carefully meal-prep their lunches for an entire week. But unfortunately, I’m not that person. In fact, I’m the person who spends too much money during lunch break for the first week after payday, and then resorts to canned soups for the next.

But that’s not to say a canned soup lunch can’t be delicious and customized to your liking. After countless canned soup meals, you really have no choice but to get creative. Whether you’re looking to add more freshness, flavour, nutrients, or heartiness, there are many ways you can dress up a boring can of soup.

Don’t let a can of soup keep you from eating fancy.

1. Fresh Vegetables

There’s no doubt that vegetables come with high nutritional value, but if you’re eating a can of soup, you’re probably not that concerned about how nutritious it is. This means that perhaps the more significant asset that fresh vegetables can offer in this case is their, well, freshness. Dice up vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes, or celery—or even a handful of spinach. They’re the easiest way to give an ample boost to your soup.

2. Cream or Milk

This might not be the first thing that pops into your head when it comes to added ingredients, and I definitely wouldn’t recommend this for brothy soups. If you’ve chosen a chowder or tomato soup, however, that’s a completely different situation. A generous splash of cream or milk in your soup will not only make it taste fresher but also make it smoother and delicious.

3. Herbs and Spices

Using up fresh herbs like basil and cilantro have always been a challenge for me, I’m not going to lie. Luckily, those two are also my foolproof way of upgrading a can of boring soup. Aside from herbs and spices packing some of the highest amounts of antioxidants, they’re also capable of adding a lot of flavours with small amounts!

4. Crunch

Croutons, croutons, and more croutons. Sometimes those small packets of crackers on the side just don’t cut it. Pop some bread crust cubes in the toaster oven and give your soup the perfect crunch. But if you’re not a crouton person, don’t worry because there are many other ingredients you can add. Think outside the box. Think pine nuts, crispy onions, and bacon crisps.

5. Grains

Anything from rice, to millet, to quinoa will take your can of liquid nothingness to a bowl of hearty goodness. Of course, you could always add some chicken breast or beans as protein, but ancient grains are able to offer the same without compromising the idea of a light lunch. It’s the perfect opportunity to discover your favourite grain. Barley? Farro? Wheatberry?

Dressing up a boring can of soup can be exciting and even kickstart some inspiration in making your own in the future. Whatever the case may be, don’t let your laziness or lack of culinary inspiration keep you from eating well and staying full. Even if it is just a can of soup.

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