With a newsfeed that’s overflowing with pictures of Christmas cookies and holiday goodies, this chicken soup is begging you: STOP AND LOOK AT ME!

If your kids are like mine, they’re living on the Buddy The Elf diet of cookies and candy canes. Everywhere we go–school, holiday parties, stores–someone is serving them some sort of sweet treat. Rather than fighting it (hello, meltdowns), I use this month to stay balanced at home, making sure that their regular meals are ones that will keep them healthy despite the month-long sugar rush.

For me, soup is always the answer. I can make a big batch of it that they’ll eat for the week (I freeze leftovers), and my kids happily slurp up the veggies. Plus, there’s nothing more comforting during an arctic chill (brrrr!).

In this version, I omit pasta and rice (though you can add a cup of either–just be sure to increase the amount of stock by 2 cups), and I flavor it with fresh herbs that I tie in a bundle to season the soup while it’s cooking and then remove it before serving (read: lots of flavor without complaints about “the green things”). I also use bone and skin on chicken thighs, which add tons of nutrients and flavor.

Your Perfect Chicken Soup
makes 10 cups
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups carrots, peeled and diced
1 1/2 cups celery, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
2 pounds organic chicken thighs
fresh parsley, thyme and dill (or any combination of herbs that sound good to you)
8 cups organic low sodium chicken stock **(See note below)
salt and pepper
Directions:
In a large stock pot over medium heat, add carrots, celery, onion and sweet potato. Cook, stirring occasionally, until veggies are fork tender around 8-10 minutes. Meanwhile, gather herbs in a pile and use a piece of kitchen twine to tie into a bundle. Set aside. Add chicken, stock and herb bundle to the pot. Increase the heat to bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until chicken is cooked through (around 20-30 minutes). Using tongs, carefully remove chicken from the pot and place onto a cutting board. Let cool for 5 minute before handling, then discard skin and bones. Roughly chop chicken and return to the pot. Remove herb bundle and season the soup to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with crust bread or grilled cheese (my kids’ favorite).

**Chicken broth/stock is one of those foods that’s sneakily high in sodium. I buy low sodium varieties and then season the soup to taste with salt and pepper at the end