Parents who really want to raise their kids to be healthy, independent adults spend a lot of time searching for recipes for picky eaters…
..recipes to get kids to eat veggies…
…recipes to sneak in veggies…
That’s not the most effective way to get picky eaters to eat vegetables, and it’s certainly not the most sustainable.
Who will be ‘hiding’ those veggies when your kids are off at college?
No, it’s far more effective to teach kids proper habits and how to relate to their food and value healthy eating for their own sakes.
Is that harder? Does that take longer?
But parenting is a long game and TOTALLY worth it to do things right and not just temporary fixes.
Raising healthy, independent adults means doing more than finding the right recipe.
That being said, when you’re instituting the most important habit of “veggies first” in your home, it can be helpful to have some delicious vegetable-laden recipes in your toolbox.
Does Blended Soup HIDE Vegetables for Picky Eating Kids?
I never advocate hiding vegetables on children, which is why you’ll see my kids making this blended green soup, fully aware of every vegetable that goes in.
Blending a soup, however, does make it impossible to “pick out the green things.” 🙂
This soup is a wonderful, flexible recipe for a family with some picky eaters.
You can use all sorts of green vegetables in it, really whatever you have. We use zucchini in the video, but asparagus, broccoli, or leafy greens can all be incorporated, or skip the green altogether and try cauliflower, parsnips, or summer squash.
In other words, use what you have around.
The addition of the potato does increase the carbohydrate content, which is NOT something kids should be worrying about anyway, but it also mimics the creaminess of dairy but allows the soup to remain dairy-free for those who need it.
I recommend leaving the skin on to retain all the nutrients like potassium that are rich in the peels of potatoes.
You could certainly substitute a turnip, parsnip, or sweet potato for the potato, although the flavor obviously will change slightly.
Kids Cook Soup for Dinner
What I love about this video is how all my kids get involved at their own skill level.
Watch to see my 12-year-old:
- cut an onion
- measure liquids
- saute veggies
My 9-year-old uses his cooking skills to:
- dice a potato
- measure seasonings
And the 6-year-old gets involved with his own skills:
- cutting up the zucchini (with a crinkle cutter)
- measuring seasonings
And it all comes together in a lovely, veggie-laden soup that’s also fun!
Make the Soup Fun for Kids
Presentation can make a HUGE difference when it comes to how kids appreciate a dish.
Be sure to:
- Serve a blended soup first, and if you have picky eaters, don’t put anything else on the table
- Provide face-making ingredients (butter, sour cream in a bag with the corner cut off, dill, etc)
- Give each child a straw. This is almost like magic!
My kids and I had a ball making this video for you, and I hope you and yours enjoy watching and are inspired to try it in your own family, with everyone pitching in!
Can’t see the video? Watch us make this recipe for picky eaters on YouTube.
No time for the video? Here are the notes!
What Makes a Great Recipe For Picky Eaters?
- 0:06: This blended green soup is one of my best strategies for picky eaters! It’s a great way to introduce your kids to new veggies and convince them to try them without hiding vegetables! (Here are 10 strategies to get your kids to be more adventurous with veggies!)
- 0:19: Blended soups are great because you can’t pick anything out. I serve them at the beginning of the meal as an appetizer course because that’s when kids are most hungry and most open to trying new things.
Want to learn how even the tiniest kids can contribute to the family?
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- 0:36: I leave everything else in the kitchen and we have our soup course on the table for a full 10 minutes. Don’t force your kids to eat it, or wait until they’ve finished it to serve the rest of the meal. Just let them hang out with the soup for 10 minutes.
- 1:00: We like to make this fun! Watch at the end of the video how we dress up the soup with little faces. Nothing like soup smiling at you to get a kid interested in veggies!
- 1:11: The most fun is that we serve blended soups with a straw!
- 1:24: I want kids and parents involved in this one, there are sharp tools involved. If your child has not been trained on sharp knives yet, do the hand over hand technique (I demonstrate in the video!) or get them in our kids cooking course and teach them to use knives!
Kids Make Blended Green Soup
- 2:24: Welcome to our kitchen! Three of my kids are going to help me make this blended soup recipe today!
- 2:58: We look at all our ingredients: I recommend getting everything out before you start when cooking with kids.
- 3:42: The very first step is to read the recipe! Pause the video, read the recipe and get out all your ingredients and then join us for the next step! (The recipe is all the way at the bottom of this post!)
- 4:09: We start to cut the veggies! Leah demonstrates a couple of our knife holds. (We didn’t use our trick for avoiding tears when cutting onions. Poor Leah!)
- 6:41: John starts a pot heating on the stove and melts the butter (or other fat you’re using.)
- 7:32: Veggies are ready to go in the pot! I don’t buy leeks very often, so when I do we chop up the whole thing and freeze what we don’t use. If you don’t have leeks, you could use a couple of cloves of garlic or extra onion instead.
- 8:51: Now John will cut potatoes for us. We demonstrate a few key phrases from Kids Cook Real Food. Check out our sample knife skills video here.
- 10:09: Even little kids can help out with this recipe. Gabe is going to cut the zucchini for us and I’ll show you a few of our favorite knives for young kids. You can use either asparagus or zucchini in this recipe. You could even try broccoli or cauliflower! Experiment! You can find these tools on our resource page.
- 12:00: We’re ready to measure in the salt. If you’re using store-bought broth you might not need much salt. Gabe tells you what we call the measuring spoons. As you use each ingredient make sure you put it on the other side of the counter so you know it’s done.
- 13:25: Leah gets level with liquids as she measures out the broth.
- 14:10: We’re showing you some different ways to measure with kids as we measure the dill.
- 14:49: Soup generally won’t boil over and make a mess, so it’s a great thing for kids to help with. Here’s what a rolling boil looks like with soup.
- 15:51: Now we get to use our immersion blender to make this soup creamy and more palatable to picky kids. Before you blend, make sure you use a fork to ensure your potatoes are fully cooked.
- 17:53: What you’ve all been waiting for! Here’s how we dress it up to make it even more fun!
Let me know in the comments below what veggies you try in this blended soup and how your kiddos like it!
Blended Green Soup Recipe
- 2 Tbs. olive oil (use the code STEWARDSHIP for 10% off at that site!) or butter
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 small leek, white parts only, sliced in half moons
- 1 medium potato, peeled and diced
- 1/4–1/2 tsp. salt (Use the code kitchenstewardship for 15% off of your first purchase)
- 1 c. water
- 1–2 c. homemade chicken stock
- 1/2–1 Tbs. fat (bacon grease, lard, tallow, butter)
- about 3/4 lb. fresh asparagus or zucchini
- 1/2–1 tsp. dried dill weed
- to serve: butter, Parmesan cheese, or sour cream
- Over medium heat, saute the onion and leek in oil/butter for 3-5 minutes until softening. Add the potato cubes and salt and cook and stir a few minutes more.
- Pour in the stock and water (or use all stock or vegetable broth) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for 10-20 minutes until potatoes are soft. Smaller pieces will cook faster if you’re under a time crunch. If using zucchini, add cubes to the soup at this time.
- Meanwhile, prepare the asparagus. Wash it well, remove the ends by snapping them off, then cut the stalks into 1-inch pieces. Optionally, save the tips for a pretty garnish or silly faces. In a separate skillet, saute the asparagus until crisp-tender in the additional fat (or cook slightly longer if necessary for blending).
- When the potatoes are soft and you’re ready to serve the soup, add the asparagus and dill to the soup base.
- Puree, either with a hand blender (this is difficult if the asparagus is only crisp-tender) or in a full-sized blender. Just be careful with the hot liquid either way.
- Serve to children with little pats of butter making a happy face and grate Parmesan cheese and/or use a dash of dried dill for the hair and beard.
- It’s a beautiful green soup with a light flavor, perfect for a first course when the children are very hungry.
- The base of this soup can be made ahead then finished when ready to serve to maintain a bright green color. Leave the dill and asparagus out and cook and add them when it’s serving time.
- If you’d like to save a pan, you can cook the asparagus right in the soup, but don’t add it until the last few minutes. You know me and dishes – I wouldn’t tell you to use a separate pan if it wouldn’t make things taste better. I think boiled asparagus loses a lot of the charm of the vegetable.
More Resources for Picky Eaters:
- What really causes picky eating?
- Science-based solutions for picky eaters
- The connection between speech and picky eating
- How you feed your kid might matter more than what you feed them
- Solving picky eating with all 8 senses
- Sensory processing disorder and picky eating
- The importance of letting your kids play with their food
- 10 strategies to get veggies into kids with no tricks!
- “Veggies first” could get your kids eating 4xs more veggies!
- #mykidtriedthis challenge
- More kids cooking videos
- Our sample knife skills video
What You Should Do Next:
1. Subscribe to The Healthy Parenting Connector
2. Try a Free Preview of my Cooking Class for Kids
Our members’ favorite lesson is always our 10-minute knife skills and safety class, teaching techniques with unique & memorable phrases from butter knives to chef’s knives (ages 2-teen). Take a peek here and try it out with your kids.
3. Enroll in the Online Cooking Course for Kids:
About Katie Kimball
Katie Kimball, CSME, creator of Kids Cook Real Food and CEO of Kitchen Stewardship, LLC, is passionate about connecting families around healthy food. As a trusted educator and author of 8 real food cookbooks, she’s been featured on media outlets like ABC, NBC and First for Women magazine and contributes periodically on the FOX Network.
Since 2009, busy moms have looked to Katie as a trusted authority and advocate for children’s health, and she often partners with health experts and medical practitioners to stay on the cutting edge. In 2016 she created the Wall Street Journal recommended best online kids cooking course, Kids Cook Real Food, helping thousands of families around the world learn to cook. She is actively masterminding the Kids’ Meal Revolution, with a goal of every child learning to cook.
A mom of 4 kids from Michigan, she is also a Certified Stress Mastery Educator, member of the American Institute of Stress and trained speaker through Bo Eason’s Personal Story Power.