Chewsday Review- Annabel Karmel’s Little Tasters

This week's review is of a brand new product range to hit shelves – Annabel Karmel’s Little Tasters. These are marketed as a range of healthy snacks (with vegetables!) that are perfect for self-feeding, but just how do they stack up in the nutrition department?

🔹Ingredients 🔸Fish & Sweet Potato Centre [Carrot, Potato, Sweet Potato* (11%), Potato Flake (Emulsifier (471), Acidity Regulator (Citric Acid)), Hoki (4%) (Fish), Apple Juice Concentrate, Yeast Extract, Dried Apple, Spices], Bread Crumbs (Wheat Flour, Sugar, Yeast, Vegetable Oil, Salt, Wheat Gluten), Water, Wheat Flour, Vegetable Oil, Wheat Gluten, Thickeners (1422, 1404, 415), Yeast, Mineral Salts (450, 500). 🔸Allergens: Wheat, Gluten & Fish 🔸This ingredient list is quite long and there are only small amounts of the ‘main’ ingredients, which is disappointing For example, these fish and sweet potato fingers are only 4% fish and 11% sweet potato, meaning one finger has about 1.5g of fish in it. This is pretty consistent across the range – the spaghetti bolognese balls are only 8% beef, which works out to about 2.5g of beef per ball. 🔸Apple juice concentrate is just another (unnecessary) form of sugar. Luckily, the overall sugar content of these remain low so this isn’t a huge cause for concern. 🔹Positives 🔸 Fat, saturated fat and sugar are all well within healthy guidelines 🔸There’s no denying that these are exceptionally convenient – the packet says they can be cooked in the oven, under the grill or in an air fryer. Easy as! 🔸This next one is part positive, part negative. The website suggests these fingers are suitable for babies 10 months+ and although they are relatively low in salt (sodium) they actually exceed the allowable limit for infant food. Our Australian Food Standards code states that ready-to-eat foods for infants (excluding rusks) should not exceed a sodium content of 100mg/100g yet these bites are 118mg/100g. It’s not a lot more, and still reasonably low as I said, but it does breach the code. One serve (2 ‘bites’) contains 71mg of sodium, which is around 1/3 of a younger baby’s daily intake and around 1/10th of a toddlers daily intake. 🔹Negatives 🔸 I don’t love that these are all crumbed and shaped like nuggets and have claims of 'hidden veg' - in the long term we want our children to be able to eat food that looks all kinds of shapes and textures and flavours, including vegetables, so these won't really help get them there. Hiding vegetables in food isn’t a great strategy for encouraging kids to learn to like vegetables as they get older. 🔸 These are quite a pricy product – you really are paying for convenience. $5 for a packet of 5 serves is pretty steep 🔹Marketing 🔸 Real food made with real veggies – These do contain ‘real veggies’ (what are ‘fake veggies?!), just not a lot of them. 🔸 Ready in just a few minutes – Agreed! 🔸 Perfect for self-feeding – This is true from a shape point of view, but there are lots of other quick and easy finger foods out there (like pieces of steamed sweet potato) that are also perfect for self-feeding 🔸 Low in sodium and sugar – I appreciate that all of the AK ranges are low in salt and sugar, given that they are designed for little people but I am concerned about the apparent sodium breach. 🔹Alternatives 🔸 I'd put these in the 'good in a pinch' category, and offer them occasionally when you are in need of something super quick and convenient. If you do choose to offer them, I would recommend serving them with some vegetables and iron sources, as unfortunately the content isn’t enough to replace a meal.


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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