I am committed to bringing my children up to eat healthily. The geekdaddy and I have slipped into some very bad habits over the years, in terms of eating too many takeaways and too much chocolate and junk food. It’s something we’re both trying to address at the moment, and it’s something we really don’t want to happen to our kids.
When I weaned the geekdaughter I followed the latest advice and waited until she was 6 months before offering her solids. When I started weaning I weaned exclusively on home-made vegetable and fruit purees. I bought every book Annabel Karmel had ever written, and frequently spent an afternoon in the kitchen making batches of food and freezing it in little ice cube trays. I really enjoyed it.
I heard about Ella’s Kitchen at our local doctor’s surgery post-natal group. Their stage 1 pouches were mentioned as being healthy and easy to carry around when you’re out. I loved the idea, and always had several in the kitchen cupboard and the change bag. They were extremely handy.
Two months ago we started weaning the geekson, and I wanted to do the same puree thing again. However, now being a busy mum of two I struggle to find enough hours in the day to get all the housework done, let alone the time to cook big batches of food to freeze for him. Thankfully we are now eating healthy family meals together, and so a lot of the time I can simply puree whatever I’ve cooked for the rest of the family, however there are still times, particularly tea times, when I need an easy to prepare meal for him to eat on his own.
So when the lovely people at Ella’s Kitchen contacted me to see if I was interested in sampling their latest baby food products, I leapt at the chance. Just before Christmas a box of goodies arrived, and the geekson and I set about trying them all out. The range has certainly expanded in the last three years, and I’ve really enjoyed trying some new things and revisting old favourites.
These remain very much as I remember them, although the range has expanded, with many more flavours being available now. I love these. No additives or preservatives, just what you see on the label pureed and ready to serve straight from the pouch. So convenient for when you’re out and about – I just squeeze the contents of the pouch straight onto the spoon. Once opened you can store the pouch in the fridge and it’s good for 48 hours, so if your baby has a small appetite you can make one last a couple of days. The geekson has a large appetite and quite happily devoured these pouches with no leftovers. Well apart from what was left all over his face!!
If I have any criticism of the stage 1 pouches it is that sometimes there is too high a percentage of fruit in the mix and not enough vegetable for my preferences. The “spinach, apples and swede” pouch pictured is 55% apple, whilst the “broccoli, pears and peas” variety is 79% pears. I know it’s very common to mix fruit and vegetables together in baby food, but my personal preference would be for a higher vegetable content. Certainly now weaning is established with the geekson I am trying to shape meals so that he has a “savoury” first, followed by a pudding, and these pouches are more like both rolled in to one. I am delighted to see a couple of pouches that are 100% vegetable join the range – the “sweetcorn, pumpkin and peas” one was an immediate hit with the geekson, and he enjoyed the “sweet potatoes, broccoli and carrots” pouch too (although that one has been out of stock at my local supermaket for the last few weeks). Those are the varieties which I prefer to buy for him.
Next we tried the “baby brekkie” product, which again the geekson devoured happily, although I must say I found this runnier than I expected, and would have preferred it to be a little thicker. It had a tendancy to drip off the spoon between pouch and mouth, and we got into quite a mess with it. It struck me that this product would be more useful at the early stages of weaning, and now that we’ve got solids pretty well established I’d rather give the geekson some porridge (with a fruit puree mixed in) than something like this. However if the geekdaddy ever takes us all away for a weekend somewhere (hey, I can dream, right?!) it’s the kind of thing that would be handy to have around.
These were an immediate hit with both the geekson and me. The box contains 12 baby biscuits, wrapped in pairs – perfect for tucking inside the change bag, or just grabbing when you need them. I like to keep a few finger foods in the house for after meals, to keep the geekson distracted whilst the rest of us finish eating, and so he can practise feeding himself, and these are perfect. The biscuits are very soft and crumbly and “melt in the mouth” so I had no concerns that the geekson might choke on them. The only downside of these biscuits is that they are very messy – because they are go soft and mushy in the mouth they also tend to be soft and mushy on the hands, and on the clothes and in the hair. But this weaning lark is a messy process anyway, so I don’t see that as much of a downside!
I was really excited to discover that Ella’s Kitchen are now making breadsticks. I remember finding it hard to choose suitable breadsticks to feed the geekdaughter, as I was unsure whether they were too salty or not. Ella’s Kitchen breadsticks follow their same standards as all their other products – organic, no additives, just good healthy stuff. They’re smaller than other breadsticks, perfect for little hands. Despite the fact they say they are suitable from 12 months I’ve allowed both the geekson and the geekdaughter to try these, and they both liked them.
The real test though is whether I would actually buy these products myself, and I must say that since trying them I have spent a small fortune buying more of the things because, quite frankly, I don’t have as much time to cook and puree things this time around! The only product I haven’t bought again is the baby brekkie, which didn’t grab me as much as the others. My favourite product is definitely the baby cookies, and the geekson agrees!
Disclosure: I was sent samples of the above products for review