“No soup for me!”
Soup can definitely be hit or miss with picky eaters. Tyson typically turns his nose up at soup before even trying it, which can be super frustrating. (Although he is definitely making progress. He really loves this one.)
This is because soup is what I like to call a “mixed meal”.
(Definition of a “mixed meal”: a one-dish meal where all the ingredients are mixed together. Think soups, casseroles, salads etc.)
And mixed meals are often really challenging for kids – picky or not – and can be intimidating as heck, particularly in the early stages of the feeding journey.
Because sometimes there can be one teeny, tiny ingredient that can ruin the dish for them. (Even if they generally accept all the other foods in there.)
But, that doesn’t mean you have to stop serving soup altogether! That would be just tragic.
There is some middle ground because soup is a meal that you can deconstruct!
(Deconstructing a meal simply means serving the components of the meal separately, and then allowing each family member to have their choice of what to include when putting it together. This gives kids some control over the meal, and allows them to try just a little bit of the food(s) they don’t like – or not try it at all.)
Can this be a bit of a pain? Yes. Does the soup usually taste better when all the ingredients are simmered together? Sure.
But deconstructing the soup can mean your child will join you happily at the table and enjoy (an edited version of) the same meal – which is a lot better than not eating it at all.
So, here’s my recipe for a basic deconstructed soup, or Soup Bar as I like to call it. (Although any soup recipe can be deconstructed.)
I serve this often at our house – and the kids love it. It’s a super quick “throw-together” lunch, snack or dinner – particularly when you have a bunch of random ingredients to use up in the fridge.
A huge benefit of this recipe (besides the fact that your kids can now eat soup with you of course) is it can move kids along the spectrum in terms of their relationship with soup. (I feel like there’s a joke here somewhere about a hot, steamy relationship with soup but I won’t even go there!)
Let’s just say that this can help make soup less scary and intimidating. And once they love this soup – they may be more open to trying other soups in regular, mixed-meal form.
Your favourite broth or broth-based soup (I like using miso soup)
Finely diced /shredded raw veggies
(+ whatever else you have on hand – be creative!)
1) Heat up broth/soup on stove.
2) Prepare other ingredients.
3) Set-up your “soup bar”
4)To serve, give everyone a bowl of broth and allow people to choose their own mix-ins.