There are 13 frozen meals in the Annabel Karmel frozen meal range, all aimed at 1 to 4-year olds and with varying nutrition panels. What they all have in common is their nutritional claims and the age range they are aimed for. We have based this review on the macaroni cheese meal option.
There are quite a few nutritional claims on these meals, making them appeal to time poor parents: 1 serve of vegetables- (broccoli only), low in sodium, low in sugar, no preservatives, no artificial colours, or flavours. So far this is looking promising however we will see how these claims play out when looking into the nutritional panel and ingredient list.
These meals are designed to replace a child’s main meal and with the energy content at 1050kJ this is in line with a 1-4 year old intake however this is very variable! The protein content is 11g/serve which is adequate for a young child with the source of protein being various types of cheese and butter, sending the saturated fat content up to 4.2g/100g, slightly higher than the guideline of less than 3g/100g. The nutrition claims of low in sugar and sodium are both accurate with both levels well under the guidelines. Dietary Fibre is not listed on the nutrition panel, when this is the case I assume there is minimal fibre in the product outside of what is in the broccoli and a small amount from the pasta.
This particular meal is 47% cheese sauce, 28% pasta and 20% broccoli. Mostly I am disappointed by the limited vegetable variety however the amount of broccoli included is quite decent. The nutritional claims of no preservatives and no artificial colours is true and there are also no sugar alternatives added.
I rate this product 1.5/5 for taste, my 4 year- old enjoyed it but sifted through a fair bit of the broccoli and added a small amount of tomato sauce for added flavour. I found it a bit bland myself, but this is usually what we want for toddler meals as they have more taste buds than us. The consistency was good for a frozen meal and it was not watery or soggy. Regarding portion size this could be a bit on the smaller size for some 3-4-year olds with bigger appetites.
At $4 per meal, these are quite affordable if buying on occasion or as a quick freezer back up but likely more expensive than if you were to cook up a batch up pasta, cheese and broccoli yourself and freeze in bulk.
Overall, I have given this product a 3.5/5 green apple rating, with points deducted for the low vegetable variety, a bit bland in taste (in my opinion) and the slightly higher saturated fat content.
Reviewed by Caitlin Mannion, Dietitian