5 Souper-Easy Ways to Get Your Baby to Love Soup
The first time I served His Royal Highness Hungry Hugo my grandmother’s famous soup, things got super messy (for the both of us). I wasn’t sure he’d give it a try… but I was wrong, he loved it. When it comes to eating soup, as with most new skills, babies get better with practice. If it’s winter or your baby has the sniffles or a sore throat, nothing heals like a bowl (or sippy cup) of warm soup. Soup is incredibly versatile, so depending on the season and locally available ingredients, they’re easy to enjoy all year round!
Because they’re such a nutritious meal, I’ve pulled together a little recap of our 5 top tips to eat soup with children, plus recipes and ideas. It takes a little trying out and experimentation — every baby is different — with some effort you just might lay the groundwork for a lifetime of healthy soup eating!
Bébé Foodie’s Tips to get your Baby to Love Soup
5 REASONS WE LOVE SOUP
– Perfect meal for the cold season (and all year round) — makes a complete, warming and satisfying meal for the whole family
– Soups are a great way to introduce your baby or toddler to a range of flavors, textures, and nutrients
– Get a good amount of veggies and nutrients in one serving
– Can be an easy option for teething babies
– Easy to store and heat
1. MAKE IT THICKER
Thicker soups are easier to eat for both baby led weaning and spoon-fed babies. BLW babies will have an easier time getting the soup to stick on their spoon or hands and for spoon-fed babies, liquid soup can be hard to keep on the spoon (in particular tiny baby spoons) which makes the meal lengthy and frustrating. A thicker soup might be just the way to keep you both from losing interest and giving up. You can always add liquid before serving yourself and the rest of the family.
If you’re dishing up a blended soup, these can be made even thicker by reducing the amount of liquid added, blending with some of the liquid removed, or blending in some white beans. You could throw in additional ingredients to make it thicker (more veggies, cream, cheese, cornstarch) for a thicker consistency, which is usually much easier for self-feeding.
2. MAKE IT TASTY
Add a dash of cream, butter, cheese, cream cheese or non dairy alternatives like olive oil, avocado, coconut cream, coconut milk. It will make the soup smoother and tastier for babies… and adults! No guilt to have, babies DO need the fats (healthy ones) so a teaspoon is more than welcome. Just make sure to choose quality ingredients and avoid anything with added salt. Helpful hint: Remember to choose a pasteurized cheese and avoid some cheeses for their high sodium content. See our cheese guide for more on this.
A good tip is to remember that savory soupy flavor doesn’t have to mean tons of salt (babies and adults need to watch our sodium intake). Instead, give your aromatics (onion, garlic, leeks, celery and herbs) enough time to brown, before adding acidic ingredients like tomato, and then the broth. A splash of umami-rich tomato paste or a parmesan rind will give your soup deep, rich savoriness and body…yum!
3. MAKE IT SIMPLE
While classic soup recipes are good to have, (in France especially, a classic leak, carrot, potato and celery soup was probably eaten every winter by families across the country, for generations), it is sometimes overcomplicating the simple task of cooking and serving soup.
When you need a break from classic soup recipes (I personally make a lot of these at home), go for a simple one or two ingredient soup. Classic soups can sometimes be a bit wearing, overused and overwhelming for young babies… except for my grandmother’s famous soup which is absolutely irresistible and has never disappointed a child in my experience!
To make it simple, use just one main ingredient to:
- Develop baby’s taste buds because it is easier to taste
- Change the color of soups to bring variety and pleasure
- Save work in the kitchen, less peeling and cutting
Just think about nice combinations that go well together with one spice plus one other ingredient to smooth it or give it a kick. Here are a few of my favorite one and two ingredient soup recipes.
4. MAKE IT FUN
If you have kids who aren’t into soup (yet), the easy way to get them interested is throwing in something they like into the soup, say pasta or rice or fun toppings. It also makes soup much easier to eat for babies and toddlers.
- Add fun toppings
- Try adding cute small pasta (stars, alphabets or “angel hair”) to the soup
- Savory granola (recipe + where to buy)
- Crackers (link to brands)
- Instant mashed potatoes flakes (here’s a start)
- Cheese (Laughing Cow, cream cheese, parmesan, mozzarella…)
- Ground almond and pumpkin seeds (an easy recipe to get you started)
- When your little one is older you can also make it fun by having them participate:
- Pick the veggie for the soup (at the store, from a book or fruit and veggie calendar)
- Cook together
5. GET THE GEAR
Get the gear, folks. There’s a bunch of smart baby cutlery and suction mats to make eating more fun for babies and adults. Lots of parents swear by the ezpz mat — the mat and bowl stay stuck to the table (the magic of suction!) If you have a champion plate-thrower or bowl toppler on your hands, some smart gear might be just the thing you need.
If you’ve served a broth — put the liquid in your baby’s sippy cup, and the finger food (carrots, veggies, chicken) in a bowl. This works sometimes with fewer spills and messes to clean up after. Or try soaking up bread in the soup, your baby might have an easier time eating broth-soaked bread.
When it comes to soups, be prepared for reality. There will be messes and there will be clean-ups, (don’t be too disheartened if the first few times are a disaster). With a little preparation and practice, babies just might develop an appetite for soup. As a parent, I love making it — there’s very little pre-cooking and prep, everything goes in one pot, with super healthy ingredients. Less prep, less fuss, less cleaning. There are plenty of reasons soups make a great dish to pop on your baby’s meal plan!