Lots of requests in the last few weeks for a Chewsday Review of Annabel Karmel products, specifically the ready meals and frozen veggie purees. Most of you know that I've been lucky enough to meet the fabulous AK in real life on several occasions- check out some of my recaps here. But, as a dietitian with high moral standards, I won't let my awe get in the way of an honest review. You're welcome 😝 Today I've chosen the Bolognese Pasta Bake frozen meal, so I can compare it to the recent Heinz bolognese review, which you can read here.
🔹Meat sauce (tomatoes, beef mince (11%), vegetables (onion, carrot, red capsicum), water, tomato paste, apple juice concentrate, sundried tomatoes, cornflour, cheese, vegetable oil, herbs, spices, yeast extract), cooked pasta (26%), cheese (6%),
🔹Common allergens include: gluten and milk
🔹Fat, saturated fat and sugar content all within healthy guidelines, although, these tend to all be higher than the Heinz version.
🔹Low sodium (salt) content of 91mg/100g for a product like this, but again its double the Heinz version.
🔹I prefer frozen products (like this) to those that have been heat treated to store on a shelf at room temperature (like Heinz). Usually this means that more of the heat sensitive nutrients are retained.
🔹Very convenient for busy days.
🔹No marketing untruths, unlike on the Heinz product 😝
🔹No mention of fibre or iron content on the label, which is disappointing. This makes it really hard to compare to other products. Having said that, the mince content (11%) is the same as the Heinz product, which would likely provide enough iron to meet about 20% of toddler requirements. Not huge in the scheme of things.
🔹At the moment these meals are on sale at Coles for $3 (but usually $4). That makes them about $20/kilo which isn't particularly cheap, and is about twice the cost of homemade bolognese.
🔹This product claims to provide "1 serve of veggies", which unlike the Heinz product, is actually true. Woo hoo! This meets almost half of a toddler's veggie requirements, but only a quarter of an older child's requirements.
🔹"Low in sodium and sugar"- also true. The meal does contain the addition of apple juice concentrate (a source of sugar), which is necessary to balance out the flavour of the tomatoes. I have no issue with this.
🔹"No preservatives, artificial colours or flavours" which is confirmed by the ingredient list (and is the same as the Heinz product)
🔹I don't think that toddlers need special foods in their everyday diet, but in terms of a quick and nutritious frozen meal, this is much better than the adult options. So, a good option when you need something quick and convenient, but not necessarily an every day food!
About Mealtime Building Blocks
Dr Kyla Smith is a paediatric dietitian specialising in fussy eating, feeding difficulties and childhood nutrition. Lauren Pike is an occupational therapist working in fussy eating and feeding difficulties. They have a private practice called Mealtime Building Blocks in Perth, Western Australia. You can connect with Kyla and Lauren on their website and sign up for their newsletter, and the Facebook page or on the Instagram page.