That's not my kid. Mine is younger and not nearly as tidy with a spoon. But (for now) she loves anything labeled soup, which is great, because soup? It's easy, it makes a lot of leftovers, and it's a great way to shovel in vegetables without tricking her into eating them. Here are two favorites.
Soup can be messy for young children, but it's a one-stop shop. You get protein and vegetables in a single bowl, and it's easy to highlight the good stuff (hey! corn!) if your kid isn't into something else (what green thing?).
Both of these soups have high-octane vegetables in them—kale, cabbage, chard—and they're relatively chunky and thick, which makes them less sloppy. All you need is some good bread for a satisfying adult meal.
• Easy Turkey Chili with Kale
Probably our favorite soup; I can make this with my eyes closed. I've used spinach and collard greens in place of the kale, both with great success. And when my daughter has gone through phases where she picks out "dat green," I offer to help her eat it and just nudge a few beans or corn kernels on top of the kale so she doesn't notice. She's two. It works.
• Minestrone Soup, Full of Leafy Greens
Slightly more time-consuming than the chili but jam-packed with green vegetables. And yet it's not intimidating. I've made it without the escarole (just cabbage and chard) and also thrown in packaged, frozen collard greens. It's a very adaptable recipe. If your child loves pasta, put some in as a vehicle for everything else.
My favorite thing about these soups? They're quick and feed us for days. And here's a tip for babies who are just starting to chew: Spoon some soup onto a cutting board (this is easier if it's the day after and the soup is cold) and just run a knife through it a few times. You'll get all the goodness without the big chunks.
(Images: Kachalkina Veronika/Shutterstock; Elizabeth Passarella)