For the first year of Oliver’s life I did my utmost to make the majority of his meals from scratch, but with the best will in the world there were times when I turned to the pre-made variety. I was amply reassured by the claims on the boxes of their nutritional content and large percentage of the five a day. It didn’t stop me feeling guilty though, not helped by the fact that when I gave him a homemade meal he would say ‘yummy’ and make continuous delighted noises. He still does that to this day. It’s as though he knows.
Nowadays we try to eat dinner as a family as often as possible, but there are still times I reach for the trusted ready meal. They are so convenient and quick, they can be a real life saver and although Oliver doesn’t make the same noises when eating them it doesn’t stop him from finishing them.
There are however two main issues I have with these meals:
- If you leave the meal after cooking to cool for the suggested period of time (usually around 2 minutes) there is a possibility you will burn every taste bud from your child’s tongue. They are molten hot after cooking and I find need an absolute minimum of 5 minutes before I serve it up.
- There is very little variety. Fish pie, cottage pie (or variation of), pasta and risotto seem to be firm favourites of the big brands.
Now there is nothing wrong with these dishes, I just feel like there could be a little bit more variety. I was delighted recently when shopping in Sainsbury’s and saw they had released their own kids meals, one of which was pulled pork. This was labelled for age 3+ (I’m never sure about the importance of the stated age), but I gave it to my nearly 3 year old and it was an instant hit.
Oliver’s (I think because they are so homely) and my current favourite are from Cook, a shop dedicated to frozen ready meals. They do sell the usual contenders, but they also branch out with things like gnocchi, paella and a personal favourite chicken tagine, it is delicious.
These days I use the meals less and less, it’s easier now Oliver just eats what we eat, but I will always keep a stock in my freezer for when my husband and I fancy a romantic meal, or just a child free one.
*I do not work for any brands and this blog is simply me giving my humble opinion on the products available.