Picnics are my favourite, my weakness. There is something about eating outside that makes food taste extraordinary, something about plastic plates on wild grass that makes even my burnt offerings seem appetising. Even through the winter, when it’s dry outside, we like to pack a picnic lunch and take the bus to our favourite woods and to walk to the clearing in the middle where it is always so silent and nobody ever goes, and spread out the blanket that Kirsty crocheted back when the boys were small, and to eat. But in the sunlight – my goodness! When there are blue skies and a playful, summery breeze, we can make a whole afternoon of it; we go after lunch and meander slowly through the trees, we look for tigers and dinosaurs and collect sticks and when we get to the meadow we play chase and all sorts of ballgames and when I inevitably get one of our balls stuck in a tree the boys are gracious enough to think me hilarious and spend ages trying to replicate my ‘trick’.
And then we spread the blanket, and unpack the food. And it is always delicious.
We’ve been working with Sainsbury’s to share their new Sainsbury’s Little Ones baby food range. Designed with the support of leading registered nutritionist Fiona Wilcock, the range has been developed over more than three years to comprise a varied selection of products suited to babies of 6 months + to the under-threes.
Some of the range includes:
- Chilled ready meals including Chicken Katsu Curry with Rice, Thai Chicken Noodles, Fish Pie, Butternut Squash Risotto, Cheese and Tomato Pasta and Cottage Pie
- Food pouches including Lamb Tagine, Lentil & Chickpea Dahl, Pork Roast
- Dinner, Beef Potato & Leek Casserole, Parsnip, Sweet Potato and Mango, Peach & Brown Rice
- Baby cereal including Multigrain Banana Baby Rice, Museli Banana & Mango and Museli Apple & Carrot
- Fruit pots including Apple, Banana & Blueberry, Pear, Apple & Strawberry and Apple, Peach & Mango with Apple Pieces
For our picnic we brought along the Butternut Squash Risotto, Cheese and Tomato Pasta and a variety of fruit pots. We have been working with Sainsbury’s over the past few weeks to introduce our children to the range; it can take up to eight tastes of a new flavour for children to become comfortable and familiar with the taste, so whilst the Cheese and Tomato Pasta went down a treat with all four, it took some time for our pickiest eaters – Balthazar and Olympia – to come on board with the risotto, as we very rarely think to cook and serve risotto. Nonetheless, by the time that our picnic rolled around, Olympia was as much a fan of the risotto as the pasta, and Balthazar liked it well enough to eat it, although he will never love anything as much as his beloved pasta!
We don’t serve the children food that we wouldn’t eat ourselves, so as you can see below, we served ourselves a helping too. It was good – but this grown-up palate thought it needed more salt..! But of course for little ones it is just right.
One of the things that I like best about the Sainsbury’s Little Ones range is that it was specifically designed to target the nutritional needs of babies and toddlers, so on the days where we just don’t have time to whip a meal up from scratch we still have confidence that we’re feeding the children something healthy. Both the Butternut Squash Risotto and the Cheese and Tomato Pasta are worth two of your child’s five a day, and the Fruit Puree is worth one of their five a day. We like to serve the meals with a little side salad – the children sometimes eat the salad as a ‘starter’ whilst the food is cooking! – which only takes a few minutes to chop and prepare and means that in addition to the main meal by Sainsbury’s Little Ones they have probably hit or come close to hitting that target five out of five fruit and veg. Of course, we don’t serve them pre-prepared meals every day, but for particularly busy days it’s reassuring to know that we have a quick option waiting in the fridge!
The fruit pots, which are designed for babies from six months +, were an enormous hit with all four children and having tasted them, I could definitely understand why! Although they are designed as a six month baby food to suit little ones, they are pure pureed fruit and thoroughly delicious for humans of all ages and sizes. They make an excellent healthy ‘pudding’ for the children, and this grown-up has developed rather a liking to stirring a puree into yogurt or over porridge for an additional nutritional boost. Yum.
Although we shop at Sainsbury’s regularly, we may not have thought to try the Little Ones range had we not been invited to test the products and produce this review. I do think that going forward, we will almost certainly incorporate these products into our regular shop in order to have a couple in the fridge for those can’t-catch-a-breath days – and I don’t think anyone will forgive me if I don’t keep us stocked up in Fruit Puree!
What do you feed your children on busy days?
Disclosure: This post was produced in collaboration with Sainsbury’s. I have been paid to test the products and produce an honest review.