Welcome to January, season of frozen fingers and chilly cheeks. Happily, it’s also the perfect time to stir up a supply of the antidote to cold: steaming bowls of homemade soup. Filled with flavor, healthier than their sodium-heavy store-bought cousins, chock-a-block with fuel to stave off the chill, and easy to prepare in bulk and squirrel away for last minute meals, a varied roster of stews and broths can be an invaluable weapon in any parent’s winter kitchen arsenal.
But maybe you aren’t up for much more than boiling water? Or have a little one who will eat anything … as long as its beige? Relax. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel or channel your inner Julia Child to find success over the stockpot.
Here are five tips and five recipes to make soup a simple part of your child’s diet. But remember: smaller mouths tend to be more sensitive to heat than adult ones, so serve your child’s soup at a slightly cooler temperature than you might prefer. A quick fix: stir in a small ice cube.
Kids Like Colors.
When it comes to new foods, they respond to lots of the same seductive qualities – like color, texture, and design – that grown-ups do. Try surprising them with the riotous orange and layered flavors of this carrot ginger soup.
Immersion blenders work like magic wands.
Marialisa Calta, food columnist and author of the family cookbook, Barbarians at the Plate, says “kids will tend to accept vegetables – like broccoli, peas or even onions – mixed together in soup in a way they might shy away from if those same veggies were just sitting on their plate.”
Learn the classics – but don’t be afraid to reinterpret them.
There’s no question that one great chicken soup recipe can last you a lifetime, but you shouldn’t feel trapped by tradition. Try ethnic variations or experiment from your own base. You could make a different one every Sunday and never run dry.
Embrace the unexpected.
Who says soup can’t be sweet? A simple Hungarian “borscht” is little more than fruit blended with a few scoops of yogurt or sour cream. Or, for a good winter warm-up, try this sweet potato and coconut soup, guaranteed to satisfy the sweet tooth and stick to the ribs.
Accessorize your soup.
Admit it: sometimes the best part of a soup supper is the goodies that come alongside it (like a panini. Calta says that if you’re short on time, “You might opt for prepared soups from the store and put your time into making an easy bread or some other accompaniment. Kids see these and suddenly a simple soup seems like an event.” But remember when choosing packaged broths and soups to opt for low-sodium versions.