I had often seen the Little Dish meals in the fridge aisles of various supermarkets but had usually opted for alternatives due to cost as they weren’t really that cheap, especially for Nieve to refuse to eat them (as kids do)! I was therefore excited at the prospect of trying them with Nieve to see if they passed her taste test. We received a lovely box of goodies from Little Dish that included various chilled meals and a great little pack of Little Dish goodies for Nieve to enjoy (thank you!).
We first tried the Chicken Risotto which contained one recommended portion of Nieve’s daily fruit and vegetables in the form of tomatoes, butternut squash and sweet potato. We followed the cooking instructions and opted for the microwave option (you can also heat in the oven) as Nieve is quite impatient when it comes to waiting for her food! A few minutes in the microwave and hey presto it was ready! We emptied the contents onto her plate and in the exact words of my husband, “it looks pretty nice that!” And that it did! It smelt and looked appealing – even to us adults.
The biggest obstacle now was whether Nieve would eat it herself. We placed it in front of her and she was soon scooping up her first spoonful. Nieve continued eating the full contents of her plate and happily handed me the empty plate saying ‘finished!’ I would say definitely the seal of approval from her! What I also found great about the meal was that the sizes of the individual ingredients were perfect for little appetites and not over facing. The vegetables although seen by a well-trained adult eye, were quite cleverly mixed within the whole meal so as to disguise them from its child audience.
It was a few days later before we tried the next the meal (Nieve goes to full time Nursery and has her meals there) but alas Nieve was feeling under the weather so I don’t really feel that her reactions were a true reflection of what she thought of it. We tried the Fish Pie with her and heated it in the same way as the risotto. It smelt just as nice but I must admit it didn’t look quite as appealing on the plate, but what fish pie would? Knowing that Nieve was under the weather I had a feeling that this meal may be refused but tried anyway! And my predictions were correct – but I am putting this down to her feeling poorly rather than not liking what she could see (I may try this meal again when she was feeling better). Again it was the right portion size and contained a good balance of fish and vegetables in a creamy cheese sauce, it’s just a shame Nieve was not in the mood (the joys of teething!).
Another few days later and we had saved the best meal till last as I knew Nieve would definitely eat the Pasta Bolognaise (Photo 7) as it’s already one of her favourite meals that I make for her! Again we heated it in the same way as the other two meals and it smelt lovely! Dishing it out I knew that Nieve would devour it (Photo 8). The pasta pieces were a great size for small mouths which made it easier for Nieve to feed herself as using normal pasta shapes can be quite tricky for Nieve to scoop up on to her small cutlery. Nieve devoured the meal in minutes and even when finished she was requesting ‘more!’ (Photo 9). I didn’t think that the vegetables were as well hidden in this one, which may be a bit of an issue if your child is beady eyed at spotting those bits of sneaky vegetables in their food, but for us this wasn’t an issue.
Little Dish have a small range of different products that include 9 different meals that are widely available from most supermarkets (although my local ASDA only stocks four versions of them). They have also now started to make their own fresh filled pasta along with sauces that compliment these but these are not so widely available at the present time. I found from their website that they are a company that promote home cooked meals for children and have a useful selection on recipes and tips to help mums and dads cook well balanced meals at home, as well as more information about the products they sell – worth a look if you’re considering trying them with your little ones.
Little Dish recommend these meals from 12 months onwards as I think some meals contain ingredients that are only recommended for children to try once they are 12 months and over, and I actually agree with this as I think if I had tried these with Nieve below that age, it would have been a waste of a meal and over faced her. My only concern with these meals are their price tags. My ASDA is currently selling them at £2.50 each but are on offer for 2 for £4 which in the current climate, I think is quite expensive considering you can buy adult meals for the same price (if not cheaper!). Now I know that Nieve enjoys them I will probably buy them every so often as backups for meals in the week, but I don’t think I could afford to have them as often as I would like, plus although they contain a good balance of ingredients, at the end of the day they shouldn’t be a replacement for good wholesome cooked food – just a quick alternative when time is precious – but I do think the ethos from Little Dish supports this thinking as they promote both their own products and support home cooking through their website.
From the selection of meals we tried, I would say that Nieve enjoyed most of them and that they were a good alternative to home cooked meals when you are in a hurry. They contained a good balance of ingredients and looked and smelt great when cooked. I liked the convenience of them too as my husband and I work full time and often find cooking a struggle and a chore after a hard day at work, but these are a good alternative to use every so often for Nieve’s meals. The portion sizes were great and ingredient size perfect for little mouths. I also found the dates on the meals to be quite generous too which is important for planning meals in the week – most had at least a week if not more when stored in the fridge but they can be frozen too which is fab as well!
Great little meals but just tad on the expensive side for a kid’s meal.