Chewsday Review- Latina Fresh Kids Ravioli

Lots of people like to use Latina Ravioli as an easy weeknight meal. There's a Kids version, so surely that's more healthy than the adult version? Let's see...

🔶Ingredients: durum semolina, water, cheese (11%), vegetables (8%), breadcrumbs, egg, canola oil, whey powder, salt, sea salt, sugar, yeast extract, nutmeg.

🔹The 11% cheeses are made up of cheddar, ricotta and parmesan.

🔹The 8% vegetables are carrot, peas, celery, red capsicum and onion.

🔶The positives:

🔹Good fibre content. Works out to 4.5g per serve, and anything higher than 3g per serve is great!

🔹Fat, saturated fat and sugar content are all low, easily meeting healthy eating guidelines. 🔹Cooks in 5 minutes, so very convenient. It also freezes well for those emergency meals that you can have on the table in less than 10 mins. .

🔶The negatives:

🔹Technically these ravioli fit within healthy guidelines for sodium. But, they contain two different sources of added salt (salt and sea salt). The cheese also contributes some salt. So I was surprised to see the nutrition information panel states that the ravioli contains a fairly low amount of sodium at 290mg of per 100g of pasta, which is below the recommendation of less than 420mg of sodium per 100g.

However, I think 290mg is actually lower than the true content, and possibly slightly misleading. In this case, the uncooked product weighs 200g and serves 2. But each serve is actually 160g because it absorbs water during cooking. So realistically, 100g of uncooked pasta makes 160g of cooked dinner. But, interestingly the nutritional info is based on the cooked pasta, which includes 37.5% water by weight- which likely dilutes the readings per 100g (which we normally compare to the guidelines). So, long story short, I think the per serve numbers actually give a more realistic salt content to use for comparison. That means that the true sodium content is more like 464mg/100g for the dry pasta- which is a bit higher than recommendations.

🔶The marketing:

🔹"Naturally good" Seriously, this is not even a thing.

🔹"The goodness of real vegetables" Blah blah blah. This product makes a big deal about it containing 5 veggies, but it only makes up 8% of the product. Now what does 8% mean? Well, in 100g of uncooked pasta (which is the suggested serving size), you get 8g of veggies. So that's less than 2g of each of the vegetables listed in the ingredient list. This works out to 0.1 of a serve which meets 4% of a toddler's daily vegetable requirements. So yes, technically some veggies, but if you're buying this product for the vegetable content then don't bother.

🔹I also find it interesting that these ravioli are marketed as being especially for kids. There's literally no difference in nutritional composition when compared to the regular 'adult' tortellini. The ingredients are also exactly the same, APART FROM the 8g of added veggies. Hmmm....

🔶The alternatives:

🔹Regular pasta with no filling, about 30mg sodium per 100g

🔹The family size packs of Latina ravioli, which are cheaper, and means the whole family is eating the same meal

🔹Adding a tomato or veggie based sauce to accompany the ravioli 🍝 or mix in some chopped veggies


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. You can also email them.

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