Is Soup a Meal?

The ancient tomes of RidgeCrest Herbals history speak of an age of peace, when employees could come together, greet each other with a firm handshake and a hearty grunt of welcome, and work side-by-side without conflict or contention.

But we are no longer in the Age of Peace, but the Age of the Question. Chaos has spread. Alliances have been forged and betrayed. Even now, armies of the two camps have been trained and equipped. They stand at the barricades of the warehouse area, ready to settle The Question once and for all, and maybe grab a bottle of Anxiety Free on their way out.

There is little time before the chaos, violence, and workman’s compensation claims begin. Before all is lost, we seek aid from our readers, in a last, desperate attempt to return to the Age of Peace and, once and for all, answer The Question. Our fate, dear reader, may rest upon the wisdom of your answer. None can help us but you.

Tell us. I beg you.

Is soup a meal?

We beg your aid. None can help but you. Grace us with your magnanimous voice, and tag us @rcherbals on social media with your thoughts.


To better help you understand the depth our predicament, I lay before you the camps in which we lie:

Camp SIAM (Soup is a meal)


In my opinion soup is a light meal. To become a hearty meal it would need to be eaten with bread or, depending on the soup , a grilled cheese sandwich. Stew, on the other hand is a much heartier type of soup and would meet the criteria of being a meal in my eyes.


Soup isn't just a meal, it's comfort, a warm hug, reassurance, and a friend all in one bowl. It fills the heart, body, mind, and soul. What more could you ask for in a meal? 


Soup IS a MEAL. Not only is it a meal, but it is also a very diverse meal! According to google, there are at least 4 types of soup: thin, thick, cold, and national. And within those categories, there are hundreds of varieties! Now depending on how hungry you are, or what variety of soup it is, it may not be the best choice for the most substantial meal at the time! But it is still a meal! Soup has literally sustained mankind from the beginning of time. In my opinion, soup is a LEGENDARY meal! 


Soup is definitely a meal! Here are just three reasons why:

  1. Multiple cultures regularly eat soup as meals: Russians, Chinese, Thai and many more.  Some of these cultures even eat soup for breakfast.
  2. There are many restaurants (where you go to eat a meal) that specialize in soup: 
    1. My personal favorite is The Boiling Point for Taiwanese Hot Pot soup.
    2. A close second would be Simply Pho.
    3. Every state has their own Ramen restaurants; Hinodeya Ramen Bar is one of the best in California.
  3. Finally, both Seinfeld and Anthony Bourdain agree with me that soup is a meal.  “Soup is elemental, and it always makes sense, even when the world around us fails to.” - Anthony Bourdain


Camp SINAM (Soup is NOT a meal)


A 64-year old male presented for lunch at the typical hour (lunchtime) for an observational study (n=1). Patient denied having been exposed to breakfast, but was known to be recovering from COVID. A large bowl of hot vegetable beef soup was administered. Patient was still hungry, and consumed antipasti (meat, cheese, and olives) before returning to work. Conclusion: Hypothesis that "soup is a meal" was NOT supported by the available evidence. Further experimentation is required.


I do believe there should be some clarification, but most thin, stock-type soups aren't a meal, they are more like a beverage. Stews and chili are much thicker and therefore classified as a meal. 

Plus, when you go to a restaurant, Soups & Salads are listed together, usually where the appetizers are, and never under the entrees. 

In order to classify a soup as a meal, bread, grilled cheese, or crackers need to be included to make it filling and hearty. 

I guess all this boils down to, it's your choice whether it's a meal or not. If it fills you up and satisfies your appetite, call it a meal. 


  1. It doesn't matter how much water you drink. You may feel full, but you still didn't eat a meal. 
  2. Soup needs other foods paired with it to make it a meal, therefore, by itself it isn't a meal. 
  3. You would struggle surviving off of soup if it was the only thing in your diet. See: "The concept of eating soup to lose weight has spanned decades, but experts say an all-soup diet lacks nutrients and is not sustainable. They do agree it can be smart to eat vegetable-packed soups for some meals, though, as these are filling, nutrient-dense, and low in calories." —Chrissy Carroll, RD, MPH


If you consider the way we use the word “soup,” it doesn’t qualify as a meal. You don’t say, “mmm, I feel like soup, lets get ramen/pho (even though they are both types of soup). You just say “I feel like ramen/pho.” When I think of soup I think of cheddar and broccoli, tomato, chicken noodle, or corn chowder, all of which should definitely have some sort of bread on the side for dipping. 


Much like Schrodinger's Cat. The soup both exists as a meal, and not as a meal. However, I raise you THIS question. Is cereal a soup?

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