This unique category of soups is designed and made for babies and children. Some Chinese soups contain herbal ingredients that aren’t appropriate for children due to its intense health benefits and potency and is not recommended for children.
The best approach to Chinese soups for children is to use high quality ingredients and limited herbs and additives. Although there is historic and traditional benefits to using herbs, there is limited scientific and proven information on Chinese herbs and its effects on people (especially children). So be sure to use herbs in limited amounts and ingredients that you can trust and are 100% sure won’t harm your children.
Below is a list of soups appropriate for children. As western thinking Chinese, we have given this to our children as young as 8 months. I know some sites (especially Chinese ones) recommend giving soups to your children as young as 4 months, but we still follow the recommended 6 months (to start solids) according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the World Health Organization, and many other health organizations. We will continue to add to this list as our soup database grows.
Soups appropriate for children and babies:
Apple and Corn in Chicken Soup
Black Bean Cuttlefish Soup
Chayotes, Corn with Mushrooms in Pork Broth
Chicken & Veggies – Soup for Beginners
Chicken Herbal Soup
Chicken Soup with Baby Wintermelon and Corn
Chinese Radish with Carrots in Pork Broth
Cooling Wintermelon Soup
Corn with Ham in Turkey Broth
Easy Cream of Corn and Egg Drop Soup
Fish Paste and Lettuce Soup
Fish Tail Soup with Lily Bulb and Carrots
Frog Legs with Wintermelon and Pork Bones Soup
Ham Bone Sour Vegetable Soup
Luo Han Guo and Apricot Kernals with Pork Shank Soup
Old Cucumber Soup with Azuki Beans and Lentils
Old Cucumber with Chinese Yam in Pork Broth
Orange Vegetable Fish Soup
Oxtail and Vegetable Soup
Ox-tail Apple Soup
Papaya and Corn with Yam in Pork Broth
Papaya Fish Soup
Pork Bones and Arrowroot Soup
Pork Bones with Apples and Snow Pears Soup
Pork Bones with Bok Choy and Tofu Soup
Pork Bones with Lotus Root Soup
Pork Bones with Water Chestnut and Arrowroot Soup
Pork Shank with Chayote, Carrots and Corn Soup
Pumpkin, Corn and Chestnuts in Pork Broth
Red Dates and Young Coconut with Fish Tail Soup
Seabed Coconut, Carrot and Corn Soup
Snow Pear and Watermelon Pork Shank Soup
Sweet Potato & Ginger Soup Dessert
Tomato Fish Soup
Vegetarian Arrowroot and Corn Soup
Winter Chicken Soup
Zesty Tomato and Potato Soup
Some things to avoid:
- The Chinese often use peanuts in their soups. If you’re concerned with your children having a too early exposure to peanuts (even if they are boiled), then be sure to ask restaurants about peanuts in soups and not to use peanuts yourselves.
- Chestnuts are also another common ingredient used in Chinese cuisine (and soups). Although chestnut allergies are less common, they still exist.
- Tomatoes in soups are another questionable ingredient due to the acidity of the fruit and because tomatoes are considered an allergenic food. It is recommended to give children tomatoes after one year in age, so it may be best to avoid using tomatoes in soups until they are a year old.
- Cornstarch as a thickener. Many sites and a more traditional way of making soups will encourage the use of cornstarch to “thicken” the soup. This serves no real purpose other than to thicken (which can potentially be a chocking hazard to your baby/child) and has no flavour. So why add it? As parents of young children, our motto is to be as natural as possible.
- Salt. You should be using minimal salt when making soups for children (even for your family). Use natural ingredients to enhance flavour and if it’s not salty enough, use salt in moderation. My thoughts are more, deal with the natural taste because too much salt causes high blood pressure and a slew of other health related problems.