Welcome Kelly! Glad to have you here and sorry to hear of the issues with the high blood pressure. My blood pressure also skyrocketed towards the end of my pregnancy, though I was already a high risk pregnancy...had a preemie, but things turned out fine.
As for the soups and ready to eat meals....well, they are bad for you. The best suggestions are to make up homemade / made from scratch meals you can take with you on weekends or times during the week when it is not so hectic. This way you can control the sodium in them. The other thing is read all labels, as sodium is hidden everywhere! Even some meats have an added sodium solution and some veggies have naturally occuring sodium within them.
To help keep things within range, I highly recommend using your food tracker and figure out your meals a day ahead of time. This will show you how much sodium you are taking in and help you make changes to your meal plan. I admit it is a pain at first, but it helps you get used to eating a certain way and after a while things become second nature to you.
As for soups, the best way to handle this is to make your own stocks either from scratch or they do have a Hormel product out there called Herbox which is a packet of instant granules to make chicken of beef broth, without any salt added! Plus, it is super tasty. I use these to make homemade soups, help fortify my stocks, etc. I have had some great success in making some minestrone, chicken and whole wheat noodle, veggie beef, etc. soups. For a great tasting tomato soup, get a can of no salt added tomatoes (usually whole in a tomato puree), blend it in the blender, strain it through a seive and then add a packet of no salt added beef boullion and Yumm-O. If you want it a little creamy, just add a small amount of whole milk or lite cream.
Great seasonings, instead of salt, are using onions, garlic, shredded carrots, roasted red peppers, fresh herbs, and so on.
Hope some of this helps. Please feel free to ask away with questions. That's what we are here for, is to help!
Member of Living Healthy with Insulin Resistance/Low GI Diet Team
Member of Lowering Salt Intake Team
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