Answer: Typically if you have been told by your physician to reduce sodium you'll want to look for items that are less than 240 mg of sodium per serving. (If it is a whole meal or entree item like a frozen dinner it should be 600mg of sodium or less.) Your goal is to keep your total daily sodium intake to less than 2300mg per day. Check with your doctor as they may even recommend less sodium/day!
If a soup has more than 240 mg of sodium per serving you could add more water or more fresh or frozen (without seasoning) vegetables or choose another soup w/ less sodium. If you have the time, make your own soups and stews so you can control the sodium. (Remember, 1 tsp of salt = 2325 mg of sodium)
In the case of canned vegetables you can rinse them before using and that typically gets rid of about 40% of sodium listed on label. You can also purchase "no salt added" or "low sodium" canned vegetables. To flavor your vegetables use a no-salt or salt-free broth, or salt-free herbs or spices.
For more information see: https://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm315393.htm and https://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/PreventionTreatmentofHighBloodPressure/Shaking-the-Salt-Habit_UCM_303241_Article.jsp
Leah McGrath, RDN, LDN
Ingles Markets Corporate Dietitian