Frozen dinner foods for kids- Chewsday Reviews

Steggles Chicken Dino Snacks (tempura)

In this review I'm talking chicken nuggets again, because so many of you want to know more. These nuggets are shaped like dinosaurs, and eternally popular with lots of my clients. Without further ado, I talk Steggles Chicken Dinosaur Snacks (tempura)

 

 🔶Ingredients: chicken breast (60%). This is one of the nuggets with the highest proportion of chicken.
🔹The other ingredients are a combination of ingredients mostly related to the crumb, like cereal flours, oil, starch and salt.

🔶 The positives:
🔹One of the lowest contents of sodium (salt) on the market. The tempura battered nuggets are most likely to have lower salt contents, but this is one of the better ones even still.
🔹Also the lowest saturated fat content of all of the 14 nuggets I surveyed (although this isn't an exhaustive list)
🔹High protein content, although remember that most Australian kiddies eat enough protein to easily exceed the protein requirements
🔹No artificial colours, flavours or added preservatives. Free of hormones and steroids  (as is all Australian chicken)
🔹Made in Australia
🔹$1.25 per serving ($12.50/kg)

🔶The negatives:
🔹Slightly higher sugar content than some other nuggets (but realistically all are less than 2% sugar anyway so this is negligible)
🔹Overall, a reasonable nugget (as far as nuggets go!)

🔶The marketing:
🔹This product proudly states 100% chicken breast. I think this is quite misleading. At first glance it sounds like the whole nugget is made from chicken. Instead, it means that the 60% chicken in the nugget is all chicken breast.
🔹The declaration about the absence of hormones and steroids also adds an element of confusion for customers, given that all Australian chicken is free from hormones and steroids.
🔹The dinosaur shapes are probably the smartest marketing of all!
.
🔶The alternatives:
🔹I'd be quite happy to choose this nugget over many of the others
🔹As always, working towards homemade nuggets or plain chicken is a good nutritional step. I do realise this is really tricky for some kids and families, so if your fussy child enjoys these dino snacks, then breathe a sigh of relief.

 

Lots of requests for today's Chewsday Review, so there must be loads of kids out there who love a good fish finger! Today's version is by the legendary Jamie Oliver. I'm a huge fan, not only of his delicious food and recipes, but also of his commitment to improving childhood nutrition worldwide. Does this include his 'Brilliant Fish Fillet Fingers' though?​

 

🔶Ingredients: 

🔹Alaskan Pollock (fish), bread crumbs, rapeseed oil, wheat flour, water, potato starch, salt. 

🔹Pollock is a species of fish from the cod family, more commonly eaten in the UK than Australia. It's mild flavoured, low fat and generally a good source of Omega-3s (now known as long chain n-3 fats)

🔹The fish makes up 65% of the overall fish finger. 

🔹Common allergens include: fish, wheat (gluten)

 

🔶The positives: 

🔹Low saturated fat, at only 0.6g/100g and no trans fat. 

🔹Low sugar content at less than 0.5g/100g (as expected, but some crumbed products can be hiding a bit!)

🔹$12.49/kg for the fish fingers (works out to about $20/kg for the actual fish) is not a bad price for a main meal protein. 

🔹Grills in 10 minutes. A quick option for when you need dinner on the table fast!

 

🔶The negatives:

🔹It's not clear whether these fingers are a good source of long chain n-3 fats, which are the fats most beneficial for brain and heart health. The fish fingers are likely to contain some n-3 fats, as fish is naturally a good source, but if they provided a lot then I suspect that this would be declared on the packaging. Oily fish tend to provide the most n-3 fats, and this is a lower fat fish, so it may not have as much as you might hope. 

🔹Reasonably high sodium (salt) content of 322mg/100g, although this is slightly less than the upper recommended limit of 400mg/100g. 

 

🔶The marketing:

🔹100% Alaskan Pollock and certified sustainable seafood source. This is technically true, in that 100% of the fish is Alaskan Pollock. However, only 65% of the fish finger is actually fish, so I find this slightly misleading. 

🔹No other ridiculous claims. Refreshing really...

 

🔶The alternatives:

🔹This is a reasonable option for a crumbed freezer product. In fact, it rates better than most chicken nuggets for saturated fat, sugar and sodium. It also provides an equivalent (if not slightly higher) protein content. 

🔹In comparison to the previously reviewed Birds Eye Lil Fishies, this is slightly ahead- although if I knew what the n-3 fat content was then I could make a better comparison!

🔹Whole fish is always a great, nutritious option. 

 

Today's Chewsday Review comes to you from the frozen section of the supermarket. A couple of brands have recently come out with fish and veggie nuggets to rival the standard chicken option. Today's nugget is a Bird's Eye variety with 'hidden' veggies. 

 

🔶Ingredients: 

🔹Hoki (fish), vegetables (potato, corn, carrot, peas, onion), wholemeal wheat flour, water, canola oil, wheat flour, wheat bran, wheat starch, tapioca starch, wheat gluten, salt, yeast, sugar, potato starch, glucose, acidity regulators, chia flour, black pepper. 

🔹Hoki is a fish used widely in manufactured fish products, and is the fish used in McDonalds Fillet of Fish. The fish contributes 28% of the final nugget. 

🔹The vegetables contribute 21% of the final nugget. Bird's Eye have been a bit tricky here by listing the ingredient as 'vegetables' rather than as each individual vegetable. By law, ingredients have to be listed from the ingredient in the highest quantity by weight, to the ingredient of the lowest quantity by weight. So, although 'vegetables' contribute 21% overall, this may actually be 20% from potato and 1% from the corn, carrot, peas and onion combined. See...tricky!

 

🔶The positives: 

🔹This product contains n-3 fatty acids (previously known as omega 3 fatty acids). These are important fatty acids for heart and brain health, amongst other things. Here the 46mg per serve meets general recommendations for daily n-3 intake for 1-3 year olds. 

🔹Sodium intake is reasonably low for a processed/crumbed product at 268mg/100g. This is much lower than most chicken nuggets. 

🔹Saturated and total fat content meet healthy guidelines. 

🔹Low sugar content at 3.2g/100g. 

🔹Comes in a fish shape which some kids might quite like!  

 

🔶The negatives:

🔹This nugget is only 49% fish and vegetables (most likely potato), meaning that the other half is primarily from starchy or floury fillers. This just means that you're not getting a lot of high quality ingredients for what you pay for. Having said that, a packet contains 5 servings for only $5.60 total. 

🔹Lower protein content than most chicken nuggets, and almost half of some brands. Remember though that Australian children's intake often exceeds protein requirements by quite a lot!

 

🔶The marketing:

🔹'hidden veggies' As I said earlier, this is likely to be mostly from potatoes and only provides 0.2 of a serve of vegetables (which is 8% of daily recommended intake of vegetables for a toddler). So maybe a tad misleading...

🔹'in a wholemeal crumb' They do use more wholemeal wheat flour than regular wheat flour, and the fibre content is higher than most other nuggets (without necessarily being 'high' in fibre). One serve provides almost 10% of fibre needed by a 1-3 year old. 

🔹4 star health rating- I'm not a huge fan of this system, but that's a story for another day!

🔹No artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. Yep, as is the case with every Chewsday Review thus far!

 

🔶The alternatives:

🔹I'm actually quite surprised at the nutrition content of these fish nuggets. Don't get me wrong, they're certainly not the best option in the supermarket- but they're also far from the worst! Maybe also a good option to keep in the freezer for days where you just don't have time to cook. 

🔹As always, a whole piece of fish is a better alternative. But, these nuggets might be a useful stepping stone from chicken nuggets to fish fillets for more fussy kids.

About the author of this blog post:

Dr Kyla Smith is a paediatric dietitian specialising in fussy eating, feeding difficulties and childhood nutrition. She has a private practice called Mealtime Building Blocks in Perth, Western Australia. You can connect with Kyla on her website and her Facebook page or on her Instagram page.

You can also email her.

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