It’s not easy being a toddler; you need to do a lot of energetic shouting and running, you have to throw yourself bodily off a sofa or bed whenever the opportunity arises and finally you are expected to remember & obey arbitrary rules (willies being hidden in pants, not touching the TV and tidying up). In addition to all that their little bodies and brains are growing, taking in new information and forming connections, all of which requires a huge amount of energy in the form of food.
Foodwise I’ve relaxed a lot about what I feed the kids, sometimes I don’t have time or energy to prepare something more exciting than fishfingers with Ainsley Harriots cous cous and peas (I know spicy cous cous isn’t traditionally an accompaniment to fish fingers but it really works). The kids are already fans of Tesco Finest ready meals for really busy days but I’ve never really gone on for special kids food, assuming it to be bland or untextured.
I was happy to try out some Little Dish meals however to see if they could prove me wrong and be exciting enough for my kids palates. I was delighted to see spinach in lots of the meals, Ben loves it and keeps alerting nursery staff to my neglect by announcing that I NEVER let him have spinach at home.
I had planned to walk to the shops today and cook with the kids but the rain changed my plans. Ben picked out a Little Dish Vegetable Lasagne which they had kindly sent us. The box told me it was made with tomatoes, carrots, butternut squash and spinach. To pad it out I served oven chips and parsnips alongside it.
I was impressed, the ingredients were all normal, healthy things (milk, cheddar, garlic and veg etc) there were visible vegetable chunks which were small enough for me not to need to cut up. So it passed the fussy Mummy test of being healthy, not made with unsuitable low-fat ingredients and being textured.
Sadly the boys are sickening with another cold and haven’t eaten well for a few days; Ciaran had a few spoonfuls of lasagne before turning his focus to his oven chips and parsnips, Ben had a mouthful and turned his very snotty nose up.
There seemed to be nothing at all wrong with it. The only thing I can think of is that we don’t combine those vegetables at home often so maybe it was the combination of tomato, spinach, butternut squash and carrot with a creamy sauce, served up with my eagerness for them to try it that concerned them.
So unless you have snotty toddlers who decide today is the day to refuse a new combination of veg then I would happily recommend Little Dish Vegetable Lasagne for a guilt free quick meal.
A few hours later Ben was crying and begging to have his dinner back. I explained that the lasagne was in the bin and that if he didn’t eat at meal times then he couldn’t have a snack or fruit. He was starving… so hungry… and Ciaran was rubbing his tummy. With ill grace I stomped to the fridge and zapped the Little Dish Chicken Risotto in the microwave. A grumpy glance at the ingredients confirmed that once again there were no Frankenstein foods here.
This was a huge success and clearly deserves its recent award. With no side dishes to distract them the kids ploughed into their bowls of risotto which smelled delicious and quite grown up, my Mum (who was visiting) and I hoped that they would turn their noses up at this one, and let us finish it! The risotto rice had a nice creamy texture and the tomato based sauce had just enough regatto cheese in to give it a pleasant hint of cheese which Ben (not a huge cheese fan) didn’t identify as cheese. Again I was pleased to see visible vegetables.
Ben’s verdict was that it was delicious and exciting. The chicken risotto is definitely one to keep in the freezer for emergencies – sadly the boys deemed it too yummy to share with adults but my sniffs and licks of the spoon as I dished it up were very nice!
A definite 10/10 for Little Dish Chicken Risotto from the boys and I.