Parent guilt. Most parents feel it at one time or another and many feel it all the time. One of the topics that pops up repeatedly is about food and nutrition, and time-poor parents often beat themselves up for not having the time to cook from scratch tasty and healthy snacks for their toddlers.

We’re all about taking the foot off the guilt pedal and making it easy on yourself. So, if you’re exhausted from… life/parenting/work/multiple children/ill health/lack of support. We’ve got you.

Over the past 20 years, Annabel Karmel of the baby food bible the Baby and Toddler Meal Planner has worked with food scientists in the UK and Australia to develop a number of age-appropriate, nutritious and tasty food ranges for babies and children, and you’ll want to add Annabel Karmel’s new toddler range, Little Tasters, to your shopping list.

On a recent trip to Australia, Annabel spoke to Bounty Parents about how Little Tasters is perfect for busy parents and fussy eaters, and why you definitely won’t feel guilty about reaching for the healthy snacks at the supermarket.

The Little Tasters range is healthy and fresh frozen, so you can let go of some of that parent guilt.

Great-tasting, healthy, guilt-free snacks to buy for your toddler

The launch of Little Tasters is a trifecta of wins for mums who are too busy to cook every meal for their toddlers. What are the three wins and can you tell us a little about the range?

First, many parents don’t have the time and energy to keep creating fresh and healthy snack foods for their children, so Little Tasters takes away some of the guilt. Guilt comes at mums, in particular, from all areas of life but we can take some of that away by creating nutritionally balanced snacks foods that are as good home made. They’re ready in just a few minutes too.

Second, lots of parents start out cooking for their child, which is admirable, but if you have a fussy eater it’s quite demoralising when you spend time planning and cooking only for them to refuse it. After my first baby died at just three months old, it was horrific, and I became detemined to ensure my other babies would eat nourishing foods in case, god forbid, they got sick, as it would help their resilience. It’s really important to me to work with nutritional specialists and child health researchers in developing recipes for babies and for toddlers.

When you buy something like Little Tasters, for example, you know it’s good for them and that it’s tasty and you won’t get upset if they don’t want to eat it because you haven’t put all that effort and emotion into it. It’s important not to get upset about when they won’t eat something and, this way, you take away the emotion. Even if they try the tiniest bit of something new, they should be praised as it builds positivity around eating.

Third, baby-led weaning – that is lettting them eat with their hands and choose the foods from their plate – is beneficial for development and independence. It gives them an element of choice and control as well as assisting in speech development and hand-eye coordination.

The Little Tasters range has delicious option of home-cooked family favourites including Spaghetti Bolognese Balls and Macaroni Cheese & Broccoli Balls cleverly created to to combine all the flavours and textures of those meals into snack-size balls that are easy for little ones to pick up. They’ve been developed with a growing toddler’s needs in mind and are nutritonally balanced to suit those, plus they’re delicious.

Little Tasters has been developed specifically for toddlers. Can you tell us a bit more about that?

I worked with nutritional scientists and researchers to ensure that Little Tasters has the right salt and sugar levels for toddlers aged 10 months and up as well as the best nutrients. The snacks needed to be tasty as well as easy to hold plus the balance between making sure they’re soft enough to minimise the risk of choking but not so soft that they fall apart was one we worked hard to achieve.

There are other snack foods out there that have quite a long shelf life, which means they are made a long time before a child actually eats them, but because Little Tasters is frozen, all the nutritients are locked in. They are the next best thing to fresh-made snacks as they are made with real veggies, with no artificial flavours, colours and preservatives.

Self-feeding has many benefits for little ones and you can offer Little Tasters from 10 months old.

Why is independent feeding/baby-led weaning important?

Baby-led weaning was something I was advocating 30 years ago in my best-selling book The Baby and Toddler Meal Planner. Self-feeding has so many benefits including creating independence as your toddler picks up the snacks they want to eat and in their own time, as opposed to being spoon fed. As well as being great for fine motor skills and hand-coordination it introduces different textures throughout the Little Tasters range, and may help encourage them to try different foods.

Snacks food to encourage self-feeding

As well as Little Tasters, these quick snacks make great first foods.

  • Soft cooked vegggies – sweet potato, broccoli, peas
  • Soft fruits – bananas, mango, blueberries
  • Toast ‘soldiers’
  • Soft, pasteurised cheese
  • Yoghurt

Where to buy Little Tasters

Look for Little Tasters in the freezer aisles at Coles, Woolworths and IGA.