Ready meals for children

(35 Posts)
nellyjelly Mon 29-Apr-13 13:44:25

Do you or would you let them have ready meals? Am talking small children, not teens. Also talking the M and S kids meals not any old crap.

Only ask as I give my two ( 3 and 7) one appx twice a week. I add extra veg and a fruit pudding though. Do this on nights when it is too tricky to fit in a meal ( when DD goes to Brownies and isn't back til late for instance)

They love the M and S sausage and mash and the shepherds pie one. The rest of the week their diet is OKish. DS eats varied stuff at nursery and at home they eat beans, fish fingers etc. kiddy food but I do enourage them to eat fruit and veg. They are getting better at this.

Feel a bit guilty about the ready meals but they don't eat takeaway pizza or anything.

mrsvilliers Mon 29-Apr-13 14:04:29

I think a one off is ok but personally I wouldn't on a weekly basis. My worry would be that it gets to be habit and then they move from the healthier kids' ones to the not so healthy adult ones. Do they eat pasta? It's quick to cook and you can make up sauces in advance, freeze and then blast from frozen in the microwave. That's what I do when I need a quick meal.

moogalicious Mon 29-Apr-13 14:08:20

No. I usually cook extra when doing chilli, curry, pasta sauce etc and save a portion or two in the freezer for days when we're in a rush.

A stir fry and noodles only takes 10 minutes and you could prep in advance.

I don't mind one every now and again, usually those filled pasta ones.
on the busy night I tend to serve leftovers from yesterdays meal, defrosted meal I froze earlier, or tomato soup/beans/eggs on toast. But each to their own, I'm sure some would be aghast that I serve beans on toast as meal, but it works for mesmile

CrazyOldCatLady Mon 29-Apr-13 14:33:52

SIL's kids grew up eating these every weeknight and they're fine.

I wouldn't, because I save extra portions and freeze them. But I'd have no problem doing it once a week if it made my life significantly easier!

nellyjelly Mon 29-Apr-13 14:48:46

Hmmmm would save extra portions of stuff I have cooked if they would eat it. Neither of them really like pasta unfortunately.

nellyjelly Mon 29-Apr-13 14:53:43

Also laughing at the idea mine would eat noodles and stirfry. Am starting to realise just how fussy they are tbh.

We have fishfingers, sausage, oven chips, mash, beans, spag hoops, bolognese, brocolli, carrots, homemade pizza, cheese on toast, scrambled eggs. In various combinations. Anything else disappears onto the bin. I give raw carrot, pepper and tomato with nearly every meal. They also eat banana and apple.

Am not sweating it though. My appetite and repitoire of foods got better as I got older.

LeaveTheBastid Mon 29-Apr-13 15:04:26

If it works for your family them do it. No sense stressing about making extra nutritious meals to freeze if they won't even eat them first time round. M&S ready meals are hardly a Big Mac meal are they? At least they're getting fed.

nellyjelly Mon 29-Apr-13 15:12:40

True. It is amazing how anxious parenthood makes you. I ate utter rubbbish as a kid and still survived. I now have a healthy and varied diet. Probably just envious of those parents whose kids eat anything!

moogalicious Mon 29-Apr-13 15:59:07

grin nelly, mine are a bit older than yours at 6, 8 and 10. It sounds like yours have a good variety anyway. My kids certainly don't eat anything, far from it. I work so I like to do stuff that's quick and easy.

My appetite and repitoire of foods got better as I got older totally agree with this.

FWIW dh grew up on crisps and cola, and he's fine.

snoworneahva Mon 29-Apr-13 16:16:19

I don't see much difference between M&S ready meals and "fishfingers, sausage, oven chips, mash, beans, spag hoops" this is all mostly processed food. I wouldn't feed my kids processed food on a regular basis but loads do.

Oblomov Mon 29-Apr-13 16:17:06

Sometimes I do a roast on a week night - a cheats roast - chicken, roast pots that haven't even been peeled, carrots , broccoli and cauliflower and aunt bessies yorkshires, with quick and easy.
What about a fillet of fish in breadcrumbs?
Chicken drumsticks? We live of spag bol, chilli and curry. Fajitas? Sometimes I use filled ravioli and a pasta sauce and garlic bread.
You do seem to have quite a limited selection of food . Is there anything else they will eat?

Oblomov Mon 29-Apr-13 16:18:15

mash is processed?
I make mine from scratch. I make lasagne and shepherds pie.

I think one thing to be wary of for small children is the salt content in ready meals, but apart from that I wouldn't worry too much.

Oblomov Mon 29-Apr-13 16:23:02

snow, what does your weekly dinner menu consist of?
maybe you could inspire op?

How about making some little shepherds pies and sticking them in the freezer? I can get quite a bit of veg (pease, carrots, parsnips, celery, mushrooms) into a shepherds pie.

We tend to have an 'oven' meal once a week and on the other days I cook from scratch. Sometimes dd doesn't eat it but she can have bread/toast and a yoghurt and fruit.

For us that's not a diet I would be happy with but it seems like you get as much fruit and veg into them as you can smile dd is awful with veg!

I give my son the little fish meals I think they are called. He likes the fish pie and I cant stand fish so only way I can get fish in him. He has the lasagne too.

Not often but its great for when you just cant be arsed grin

nellyjelly Mon 29-Apr-13 18:41:59

Well the mash, fruit and veg isn't processed. Nor is the cheese or scrambled eggs. Yes their diet is fairly limited but it is not all processed. I have no problem with sausages or fish fingers, I buy good quality ones. These only form part of the meal. I make my ownpizza when I have time.

FWIW I do 't have the space for a freezer. There is a small compartment on top of the fridge we have so we freeze little bits but no way have I the room for portions of meals unfortunately.

nellyjelly Mon 29-Apr-13 18:43:42

Am actually amazed at people that can cook from scratch all the time. I work almost fulltime and realy struggle to fit it in.

I only ever do quick home made meals 30 mins max unless it's the weekend. It's a shame you don't have freezer space. Tbh dd eats a lot if rubbish in the day sometimes blush so I try and make up for it with fruit and decent evening meals!

Without a freezer I can confidently say that mine would get ready meals weekly. How do you cope?! Hats off to you.
I cook from scratch 6 out of 7 days a week, and if mil didn't insist on cooking for me on the 7th I'd cook then. But that's made a whole lot easier when I have batches of homemade tomato sauce, basic mince mix, and frozen bread dough to hand. Anyone who cooks from scratch regularly does so because they enjoy cooking, I find it relaxing, it's my hobby.(or they're a martyr mummy) If it's a chore, don't do it. You don't have to cook fron scratch, to feed your DC well, that's sanctimonious crap fed to us to make mothers feel yet again more guilt.

riverboat Mon 29-Apr-13 21:52:19

I ate tons of ready meals as a kid. Monday to Thursday it was pretty much ready meals every night because my mum hated cooking, and then when my dad took over cooking at the weekend we ate 'proper' home cooked food.

Anyway it didn't really bother me at the time, and I don't think it has done me any harm in the long run. I'm never ill, and haven't had a lasting addiction to the things. I do a lot of home cooking myself now, though certainly am not against using the odd ready meal here and there when busy. If you're adding extra fruit and veg and keeping an eye on the nutritional contents I don't see the problem.

nellyjelly Tue 30-Apr-13 08:57:06

Thanks all. I know I need a freezer but space is very limited. It would certainly help though.

TheChaoGoesMu Tue 30-Apr-13 09:01:58

I give them to my dc sometimes when I cant be arsed to cook. I think they're ok.

saycheeeeeese Tue 30-Apr-13 09:06:05

Mu mum never cooked anything from scratch except chips and Sunday dinner. She just didn't have very good cooking skills, I've lived to tell the tale as have my brothers and sister.

OP I give my DD these when ny DH are having something we love and she hates, she gets her fair share of fresh fruit and Daily and her multi vitamins.

JimbosJetSet Tue 30-Apr-13 09:08:37

I hate reading these sorts of threads (I don't know why I do it to myself!) I think/hope the parents who don't feed their kids organic cooked from scratch meals every meal are less likely to post. I'm sure there must be lots of families who largely exist on a diet of fish fingers/mash/spag hoops etc and have relatively healthy children, but they less likely to admit it here.

FWIW I have a picky 2 year old and having looked at the M&S kids ready meals, I think they are relatively healthy grin

PixiesPlayroom Tue 30-Apr-13 14:12:07

Hi, as busy parents I'm sure we all give our little ones ready meals - even in the form of fish fingers - from time to time and I think that's fine. I try to cook from fresh most days and always have some back-up home made meals in my freezer too - some days the thought of slaving in the kitchen is oh too much! :-)

I have started a blog of recipe ideas for all the family - I hope this gives you some inspiration. I would love to hear what you think.

Thurlow Tue 30-Apr-13 14:20:12

I think it's fine. It's not always possible to cook from scratch all the time, and if you don't have the freezer space then you can't save bathes (though freezing food in bags helps a lot). If your kids are happy to eat plenty of fruit and veg as well it's hardly the end of the world. M&S ready meals are hardly terrible junk food. And I agree with jimbo, I'm sure threads like this tend not to attract posters who can't cook/hate cooking and serve a lot of easier, oven cook food.

When short of time we give DS soup and crusty bread (par baked rolls from Aldi) / picky bits.

choceyes Tue 30-Apr-13 14:31:18

I don't think I've ever given my DCs a ready meal, even fish fingers. Not that I'm against it at all, just that it's expensive and it's another thing to buy and cook/warm up. I'd rather just cook a meal for all the family to have.
On work days I cook the night before, the dinner for the next day and put it in the fridge, so it's all ready for everybody to eat.
If I haven't cooked, and I want to give them a fast meal, I just fry up a salmon fillet and cook some pasta with pesto with peas - takes no longer than warming up a ready meal I would've thought.
Another quick one - Cook pasta, grate some cheese into it and stir in a tin of pulses.

Nothing against ready meals at all, if consumed occasionally. It's just so much cheaper not to buy them. Even then, I think twice a week is a bit much if they already eat things like beans, fish fingers etc on the other days too.
It's just the salt concent I'd worry about.

PoppyWearer Tue 30-Apr-13 14:31:48

I always keep a few frozen ready meals in, for us and the kids, and some tins of spaghetti and so on, and do rely on the for those "mum, I'm hungry!" moments when I am uninspired. Probably a few nights a week.

They get fresh food at nursery and school and DH is a fab cook at weekends. I can/do cook from scratch, but with after-school clubs and so on it can't be every day.

Let's face it, many of us were raised on worse back in the 70s/80s, when Findus Crispy Pancakes and Angel Delight were a regular feature of my Mum's repertoire!

lottieandmia Tue 30-Apr-13 14:36:56

The M&S children's ready meals are fine - my kids have them, so shoot me (shrugs)

notso Tue 30-Apr-13 14:55:42

Once I overheard DD and DS1 talking over their M&S mighty meaty pasta,
DD "Mummy's going to the pub again",
DS1 "How do you know"
DD "because we always have this when she goes out, she has to get the pub quickly so she can't cook"
blush I go out once in a blue moon honest!

I always have a few emergency ready meals in and cans of soup etc. I don't really serve 'kiddie' food the rest of the time though, we all have the same. I can't be doing with cooking loads of different meals.
You don't necessarily need a big freezer to cook ahead, I often cook two meals at once if I know I have a busy day and cool one and put it in the fridge for the next day/day after.

BlingLoving Tue 30-Apr-13 15:26:00

DS regularly has children-specific ready meals. The kind without extra salt - we like Little Dish. He usually has half of one, to which we add vegetables. I don't feel a second's guilt. If you buy good quality ones, it's not really any different to me preparing him lasagna at home and freezing him portions. And frankly, if I can buy good quality ready-made lasagna, that frees me up to cook him something else that I can freeze for him, increasing the variety of his meals significantly.

I think people have a slightly misguided view of what cooking from scratch vs using a good quality easy meal is. There's a big difference between DS having a Little Dish chicken pie (chicken, mash, vegetables) and DS having a chinese takeaway.

BlingLoving Tue 30-Apr-13 15:28:15

Sorry, just to add, a lot of people don't have time to cook on the day, or to do batch cooking. Or just don't like cooking. DH is a SAHD and doesn't cook. So he prepares DS meals either by microwaving things from the freezer, making fish fingers and chips or preparing very simple meals like eggs/sandwiches etc. I work long hours so while I do some batch cooking, I don't have the time or energy to do it every weekend so find good quality ready meals am absolute godsend to supplement.

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