Sometimes you just don’t feel like cooking. And, despite the temptation, you’d rather not feed your kids’ junk.  Those days tend to pop up more frequently this time of year, when days are shortened and the air is cooler, and that’s why we’re so glad Atlanta has such a fond attachment to soup. The perfect complement to brisk weather and cozy nights at home, some of the top chefs in the city spoon out the comforting dish regularly—and in convenient containers ready for pick up. Here, just a few healthful and hearty helpings to consider, next time you need the night off.

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Souper Jenny!
As indicated by the name, the owner, Jenny Levison is a devotee to soups and switches up her offerings daily. Though you’ll likely be taking grub to go, make a point to plan a lunch date here if you’ve never been. Despite the crazed parking lot out front, there’s a “secret garden” buzz about the place—everything about it is magic, homespun and delicious, particularly with the vibrant salads and decadent sandwiches. At this time of year, the cafe serves up six hot soups a day, a large portion of which are either vegan, gluten free or both. A few delicious options include my dad’s turkey chili, tomato basil artichoke, Indian lentil and corn chowder.

56 E. Andrews Drive NW, Atlanta 30305, 404.237.7687 

Hot Tip: The restaurant switches to take-out only at 4 p.m. each day and closes at 5 p.m. daily, except for grilled cheese night Thursdays (when the restaurant is open until 11 p.m.) and Sundays (the restaurant is closed all day).

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Taqueria del Sol 
Probably not the first place that pops into your head when you think “soup”, but the shrimp corn chowder is hands down, one of the best soups in the city. It has a bit of a spicy kick—so may be best reserved for older kids, or children with adventurous palates—and is a satisfying dish for super cold nights when you just need some comfort food and a little bit of fire in your belly. If seafood isn’t up your alley, go with the pork green chili or the beef red chili—both rich, stewy options.

 1200-B Howell Mill Road, Atlanta 30318, 404.352.5811; 359 W. Ponce de Leon Ave., Decatur 30030, 404.377.7668; 2165 Cheshire Bridge Road, Atlanta 30324, 404.321.1118 

Hot Tip: Both the Decatur and Westside locations are closed all day Sunday and Monday for dinner. The Cheshire Bridge location is closed for Saturday lunch and all day Sunday.

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Noodle
Sure, you know it best for the pad thai, but this family-friendly spot also has a wide range of soups. You can either go with one of the “small soups” like the miso soup, veggie soup and coconut chicken soup, which come with grilled flatbread, or you can opt for the absolutely scrumptious “big noodle soups”. Heaping containers are filled with noodles, yummy broth, loads of veggies and herbs, along with a smattering of seasonings. Experimental eaters can dive into the curry noodle soup or the Jung Bong soup (spicy paprika broth with calamari, mussels and shrimp), while milder diners will be happy sticking with the miso udon noodle soup—chicken, miso broth, noodles and veggies.

Address: 903 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta 30309, 404.685.3010; 259 E. Ponce de Leon Ave., Decatur 30030, 404.378.8622; 3693 Main St., College Park 30337, 404.767.5155

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Your Dekalb Farmers Market
Being a mom means planning ahead. Get set for the week and stock up on soups at the Dekalb Farmers Market. Located over by the dairy products in the back of the market, rows of soups are made with fresh ingredients and are ready to heat up at a moment’s notice—or to pop in the freezer for a rainy day. The tomato soup and chicken soup are especially good. We also recommend the frozen pasta dinners.

3000 E. Ponce de Leon Ave., Decatur 30033, 404.377.6400 

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MetroFresh
Fun, fresh and funky soups fill out the mix at this local favorite. Affected by the season and by the chef’s whims, the nutritious soup options are constantly rotating. A few on the menu right now are the maple curry veggie lentil, creamy pumpkin herb, chorizo, corn and black bean and the low-carb chicken gumbo. Soups are served in 12 oz. and quart-sized containers, so you can opt for just one or sample several.

931 Monroe Drive, Atlanta 30308, 404.724.0151; at Atlanta Botanical Garden, 1345 Piedmont Ave., Atlanta 30309, 404.474.9589

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How to you give your family a hot meal in a hurry? Spill your secrets below!

—Kelly Skinner

Photos courtesy of Yelp via Caitlin L., MetroFresh via Facebook, Noodle via Facebook and Creative Commons via Flickr