School lunchtimes are often a rush so if I’m sending my daughter to school with soup I prefer it to be a bit hearty and here’s how I pull that off:
P.S. If canned soup is your go-to, check out my post on 4 ways to make canned soups healthier.
1. Start with a good stock.
Be budget-wise. Make a big batch of stock on weekends OR use no-added salt or low-sodium options.
Tip: For a flavourful soup base, boil a big pot of water with two parts chopped onion to one part chopped carrot and one part chopped celery along with pepper, thyme and flat leaf parsley. Strain it.
2. Load up on vegetables: fresh, frozen, leftover or a mix.
Why? 60% of kids don’t eat enough vegetables and fruit.
Tip: For every serving of soup, plan to include ½ cup of vegetables or more.
3. Add hunger-curbing protein:
milk, eggs, lentils, beans, hummus, nuts/seeds, regular yogurt and cheese have about half the protein found in meat, fish, poultry, Greek yogurt and tofu.
Why? Emerging science suggests we have underestimated protein needs so don’t skimp on protein.
Tip: A lunch with some beans in a soup will need a protein boost. Add an egg or Greek yogurt.
4. Add leftover whole grains:
barley, pasta, brown rice, quinoa.
Why? Eating more whole grains now may lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers down the road.
Tip: Cook and freeze extra whole grains to add to soups. Grains keep in the freezer for a month.
5. Build flavor and curb salt:
use aromatics like garlic, carrots, onions, celery, mushrooms, leeks, pesto, tomatoes, herbs, spices, lemon, lime or a strong tasting cheese.
Why: About 90% of kids get too much sodium and soup is one of the top sources of salt in our diets (second to pizza/sub category).
Tip: Use stale bread to make homemade croutons for soup. They keep for a week in the pantry.
What kind of soup does your child like to take for school lunches?