The Healthy Food Company – meals designed by Nanna Kay will be expanding its Italian children’s prepared meals range, with the launch of a chicken risotto and vegetable risotto this autumn.
The new dishes, expected to be available towards the end of September, are in the final stages of development and are currently being tested to ensure they are nutritionally balanced for children.
They will join the company’s popular Italian-inspired meals, which includes beef lasagne; vegetable lasagne, beef bolognese; beany bolognese; meatballs in tomato sauce with pasta and a chicken pasta bake.
When the company first started developing its dishes it engaged with children about their favourite meals and discovered many of them preferred pasta-based dinners.
Kay Shearing, manufacturing and product director at The Healthy Food Company, who co-founded the firm with her daughter, said, “We are looking forward to introducing our new risotto dishes to the foodservice market. The flavours are great and the meals will complement our Italian range perfectly.
“Italian meals are a firm favourite among children and when we set up the business it was clear to see they wanted dishes such as spaghetti bolognese and a chicken pasta bake.
“We gave ourselves the challenge of making the meals as healthy as possible, while keeping the fun and tasty flavour children love.
“Our dishes are made with no added salt or sugar, so we certainly had our work cut out to ensure children liked the final product.”
She added, “We aim to achieve one-third of a child’s macronutrients for the day in each dish, which meant we had to balance the carbs with protein, then the good fats against the bad fats, while focusing on taste as we needed the children to enjoy eating the food.
“The great thing about Italian food is the flavours are in the core ingredients so this makes it easier to keep things natural. We enhanced the flavour with key items such as garlic and pepper, along with some paprika.
“We added lots of hidden vegetables in the meat dishes and lots of hidden beans in the vegetarian dishes to increase the protein levels.
“As well as the macronutrients, we are keen to improve the micronutrients such as folate, zinc, iron and various vitamins. Again, Italian food makes this easy for us to achieve.
“So, while the kids are having fun with the pasta we know we are getting lots of lovely nutrients into them with absolutely no additives of preservatives.”
The Healthy Food Company manufactures nutritionally balanced meals for children, which are flash frozen to lock in the goodness.
It was founded by mother and daughter team, Kay Shearing and Donna Tresadern after they identified a gap in the market for healthy and nutritious children’s prepared meals to support time-strapped parents.
The company also set about improving meal offerings in schools, nurseries and hospitals, providing full meal solutions such as macaroni cheese and beef lasagne, as well as standalone items including pasta sauces.
It now works across the education, healthcare, care home and private sectors, helping caterers and chefs provide healthier yet tasty menu choices.