Did you know that it may take you as many as 15 tries of presenting the same food before your finicky eater actually tastes it? It’s probably no surprise that researchers have found that most parents give up after only a few attempts. After all, in our time-starved world, it’s tough enough to get dinner on the table – never mind having to deal with a squirming, squawking child who turns her head at the sight of an oncoming utensil.
Even though my daughters will chow down on just about anything that’s put in front of them, even I feel like I’m running out of healthy options some days. But that doesn’t mean I’m willing to compromise balanced nutrition just to get my girls to eat. Instead, on those days, I’ve found that it’s all about ease and convenience. It’s a big reason why I’ve always got a batch of vegetable-based soup in the fridge or freezer. Not only can soup be an easy way to feed your kids without a fuss, but it can also be a wonderful way to develop their taste for vegetables. If your little ones are usually averse to vegetables, try introducing them to mild-tasting ones such squash, carrots and sweet potatoes, which are often more palatable, especially for younger children.
Think a bowl and spoon combination won’t work for kids? For pint-sized eaters, I suggest serving soup in a mug or cup with a lid and straw, which makes it more fun for them and much less of a mess for you. Sound sneaky? Maybe a little, but as a parent, sometimes you’ve got to go with whatever works.
This is my kid-approved recipe for butternut squash soup. For a variation, try substituting acorn or buttercup squash in place of the butternut variety.
Butternut Squash Soup
Makes: about 8 to 10 servings.
- 2 tsp unsalted, organic butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 large onion, chopped
- 2 to 2 1/2 lb butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 5 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or water
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 3/4 cup 1% milk
- Sea salt and pepper, to taste
- In a medium stockpot on medium-high heat, melt butter and sauté garlic and onion for about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add squash and broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and add cinnamon, nutmeg and cumin. Simmer on low for about 2 hours.
- Using a handheld blender, purée soup until smooth. Add milk and blend until combined. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve with sliced whole-grain bread.
Nutrients per 1-cup serving: Calories: 132, Total Fat: 1 g, Sat. Fat: 0.5 g, Carbs: 30 g, Fiber: 5 g, Sugars: 6 g, Protein: 3 g, Sodium: 108 mg, Cholesterol: 2 mg