Chewsday Review- Annabel Karmel Mild Butter Chicken and Rice

Annabel Karmel’s line of frozen meals for toddlers is directed at children aged 1-4 years, and claims to provide balanced alternatives for those days when cooking comes last (we all have them!) So, although I reviewed the Bolognese pasta bake a while back, many of you have asked for specific reviews. Today features Mild Butter Chicken & Rice.


Rice Mix (Water, Rice, Corn, Carrots, Vegetable Oil, Yeast Extract, Spices), Butter Sauce (Tomatoes, Water, Cream, Onions, Yoghurt, Cornflour, Tomato Sauce, Honey, Butter (2%), Spices, Garlic, Yeast Extract, Herbs, Paprika Extract), Cooked Chicken (Chicken (7%), Water, Potato Starch, Cornflour, Wheat Fibre

I like that the ingredients are mostly normal ingredients you might find in your kitchen.

Common allergens: Gluten and milk.

🔶The positives:

🔹According to guidelines, sodium content falls within the ‘best choice’ category at less than 120mg/100g. A 200g serving provides about ¼ of a toddler’s daily salt intake. Given that this is one of their main meals (and often the one with the most salt) I’m pretty ok with this. Australian toddlers commonly eat wayyyy too much salt, so I’m glad this isn’t excessive!

🔹The meals are also low in sugar, which I’d expect.

🔹Saturated fat content is within healthy guidelines.

🔹They offer a decent portion size for toddlers; many of whom would be lucky to finish all 200g (if your toddler eats 2, that’s normal too!)

🔹Huge convenience factor… ever had toddlers?

🔹All meals include one serve of veg, which can be difficult to include with fussy little ones!

🔶The negatives:

🔹At $4 each, these are expensive compared to frozen meals intended for adults, especially considering the smaller portion size. Ps: They are available for purchase in bulk online at Woolworth’s if you’re looking to save a few dollars.

🔹Unfortunately, gut-loving fibre is not even mentioned on the nutritional panel, which isn’t a good sign. Yet, I would be interested to know the content, as wheat fibre is added to most of these products.

🔹The iron content isn’t listed either, which really does worry me. Iron is a key nutrient during this developmental phase and should be prioritised due to high requirements. This butter chicken contains 7% chicken, which works out to 14g chicken. This only works out to 0.7% of most children’s daily iron requirements.

🔶The marketing:

🔹‘Low Sodium’: Not an easy feat for a packaged product like this.

🔹‘Low in Sugar’: This is true, as one would hope with savoury meals.

🔹‘Tested by Toddlers’: Although this sounds great, individual preferences vary significantly within this age group. So, I wouldn’t take this as a guarantee that your kiddo will give it the tick of approval!

🔹‘1 serve of veg’: As I mentioned, this is another bonus as the veggies are fairly easy to eat (tomatoes, corn, carrot, onion). While this doesn’t sound like a lot, this meets almost half of a toddler’s daily requirement!

🔶The alternatives:

🔹Regular butter chicken, shared with the family. There really is no need for toddler-specific meals, as children can and should be partaking in family meals as soon as possible. #samefoodsametime is so powerful for kids.

🔹However, there are always going to be nights where you need a quick option. These meals are a good option for those busy days, as they make a decent nutritional contribution and aren’t just held together with fillers.


About Toddler Mealtimes

Toddler Mealtimes is an online subscription for parents who want to feel confident about teaching their toddler to enjoy a variety of foods. It's particularly helpful for those who are noticing their toddler becoming increasingly fussy, but they're not quite sure to handle it. The 12 month subscription guides you through managing toddler fussiness with confidence with regular tips and tricks via videos and photos. Sign up here

About Baby Mealtimes

Baby Mealtimes is an online subscription for parents with babies aged 4-12 months. It’s your one-stop-shop for everything you need to know about introducing solid food to your baby. The monthly subscription (or 8 month package) guides you through what to offer and when, with meal ideas and a photo gallery of over 120 finger foods organised by age. Sign up here

About Mealtime Building Blocks

Dr Kyla Smith and Liz Beaton are paediatric dietitians 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, Liz and Lauren here

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