Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Little Dish - some exciting new additions to the range!

I was recently invited to London to spend the morning with Little Dish and top childrens Nutritionist Lucy Jones (you may remember her from The Food Hospital on Channel 4).

Hillary Graves, who is the Co-Founder and CEO of Little Dish, the first and only range of fresh, natural food for toddlers and young children made with 100% natural ingredients and no added salt or sugar. Was also going to be there!

I have to admit that when I think of nutritionally balanced meals for my children, ready meals are not something that comes to mind. This is was exactly the reason I accepted my invite. In my experience, you should never judge a book by its cover, so I went in with an open mind and was looking forward to finding our more!

I wasn't disappointed, we were given lots of facts and information, followed by a blind taste test!

I want to share with you some interesting facts about children's nutrition....

Research of over 1,000 parents with children aged one to three, found that three quarters (76 per cent) of parents worry about whether their child is getting all the nutrition he or she needs in their meals.

79 per cent of parents are unsure on the recommended salt intake for children
40 per cent are confused by nutritional guidelines on packaging
20 per cent worry about what their other half feeds their children

I have to say I would have ticked 'agree' to all of the above! I feel that children's nutrition is a very grey area. As a parent, I do worry about what my children are eating. Dont get me wrong, they are allowed a treat or a meal from a certain golden arches company from time to time. But on the whole I try to feed them meals that I deem to be healthy and balanced. This normally involves cooking from scratch, as that is a sure fire way to know exactly what is going into your child's meals. But realistically this is not something that I have time for every day, I work 3 evenings a week so those days are very rushed at dinner time. This is when I allow them something unhealthy and beat myself up about it afterwards!

Lucy Jones, expert in children’s nutrition and Little Dish ambassador, says: “It’s clear from the research that many parents are lacking confidence on the nutritional guidelines for feeding their little ones and it’s an issue that’s at the forefront of their minds. I've been working with Little Dish to further develop the brand’s nutritional profile in its chilled meals and ensuring each meal provides nutritional balance, in addition to great tastes and textures. This helps the Little Dish range to nurture young palates whilst providing peace of mind for mum and dad on days when they need a helping hand with feeding their children".

After listening to what Lucy had to say about Little Dish, I was pleasantly surprised. But of course I still had that little niggle in the back of my mind, can a microwave meal really be that good for you?!

Well, I was about to find out as we were going to be treated to a taste test of some Little Dish meals. Infact it was a blind taste test, so we were testing Little Dish against competitors meals.

Let me tell you, I was shocked. Shocked at the lack of taste, texture and quality of the competitors dishes. But even more shocked at how yummy the Little Dish meals were! They were truly delicious, packed with flavour, not mushy in any way, and certainly something I would be happy to eat myself. In fact I think I should admit that since meeting with Little Dish I have enjoyed the Mini Cheese Ravioli in Tomato and Veg sauce for MY lunch more than once!

Of course, the meals are aimed at 1-3 year olds, so the real test would come when I presented these meals to Millie, and I decided that Chester at age 5 would make a pretty good taste tester too! So last week I served them the Pork and Apple bites with Beans!

Chester wolfed it down, telling me it was delicious! Millie was a little more cautious, and only wanted to try the Pork and Apple bites, not the sauce and beans. But I took Lucy's advice and praised her on her efforts. Millie told me they were yummy! The packaging has an activity/colouring page on the inside, so that received a big thumbs up too! All in all I would say that Little Dish as a success here, and I am sure it will now be on our shopping list!

If you are interested in trying out the Little Dish meals for yourself, here is a little more information...

There are 13 Little Dish meals to choose from:

o Fish Pie with Salmon & Pollock
o Mini Cheese Ravioli in a Tomato & Veg Sauce
o Classic Beef Lasagne
o Alphabet Pasta Bolognese
o Cottage Pie with Seven Veg
o Spaghetti with Mini Meatballs
o Mild Chicken Curry with Rice
o Chicken & Butternut Squash Pie
o Chicken & Veg Risotto

And four brand new recipes, fresh from the Little Dish kitchen:

o Creamy Tomato & Mascarpone Pasta
o Pork & Apple Bites with Beans
o British Lamb Hotpot
o Limited Edition Fruity Lamb Tagine with Couscous

The British Lamb Hotpot is currently in stores with a special celebratory sleeve in anticipation of HRH Prince George’s first birthday on July 22nd , when he’ll be old enough to enjoy his first Little Dish

Little Dish is available from the chilled aisles of Tesco, Asda, Waitrose and online at Ocado, RRP £2.50

For more information, healthy recipes and fun for kids with our zoo crew, visit www.littledish.co.uk

How do you find a balance between a busy lifestyle and healthy eating for mealtimes in your house? I would love to know.

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