When we weaned Little Chap, I wanted him to have the best healthy food to start him off in life. I had high ideals of him being offered the very best so he would have no option but to love his food and grow to enjoy as wide a variety of flavours and textures as we do. Armed also with no small worry that he might develop some kind of food allergy before we were through the weaning period, I made as many of his purées from scratch as I could.
To stay healthy, we had bought organic fruit and veg where possible ever since we started trying to conceive, so this was not exactly a radical change to the family diet we were dealing with. I dutifully steamed, mashed and puréed fruits and vegetables into little frozen cubes – for about the first month! Then realising it was leaving precious little time in the day for me to do anything else, and with my return to work imminent, we happily invested in Little Chap’s dietary future by mixing what was left of the home-made cubes with some organic convenience foods to supplement those days when I would be working and someone else would be feeding him.
To be honest it made it easier to introduce new textures and flavours. While he’s always eaten well, Little Chap has never had the largest appetite, so a tray of frozen cubes could last weeks! Being able to choose to buy organic “home-cooked” foods, was expensive, but for me it was worth the investment. Little Chap’s palate could try new tastes and textures I might not have otherwise cooked for him, the working week became less frantic and our choice gave me the peace of mind of knowing what he was eating.
I do remember thinking that it was a shame none of the food manufacturers had considered making wholesome organic meals in adult-sized portions the same way. Fresh, natural ingredients, no added salt or sugar – cooked the way any health-conscious mum with more time than me might cook for herself at home, just vacuum-packed for freshness and available with a modest shelf life to wait on your cupboard shelves for a quick zap in the microwave as required.
Surely it couldn’t be that difficult, could it?
I’d like this to be the bit where I tell you I’ve started a business at home to do just that but unfortunately, I wouldn’t have known where to start. Luckily for all of us though, someone at Ilumi was thinking along the same lines but from the specific perspective of those who suffer food allergies. You might be the only person in the family with a gluten intolerance but not everyone is happy to (nor should they have to) give up nutritious foods just because of your intolerance. Several close friends have recently decided or been advised to go gluten-free and I know they mostly eat freshly home-cooked food for the lack of affordable variety in the form of gluten-free ready meals. I’m always trying to find ready meals without a high sugar content and find that even harder.
So when a friendly PR offered me the chance to try some of Ilumi’s range of ready prepared meals, I was dead keen to see how they compared in taste and texture to other healthy choices. We tried four different meals that registered as sugar-free:
Za’atar Chicken £3.75
Coq au vin £3.75
Slow Cooked Lamb Casserole £3.75
Lamb in Gluten-Free Ale with Haricot Beans £3.75
They were all as good as any delicious home-cooked meal. The Slow Cooked Lamb Casserole was my absolute favourite. Packed with the sort of meaty flavours only possible in well-cooked home-prepared food, it reminded me of the mouth-watering, tender lamb pies my grandmother would make with the leftovers from the week’s roast. Mmm…gravy, mint sauce, lamb, potatoes, carrots, onions. *smacks lips*
Each meal we tried fed one person generously and took mere minutes to prepare. Even adding another few minutes to microwave a baked potato or bag of rice to go with it was hardly an inconvenience. Ilumi also offer a range of gluten, milk and nut-free soups and sauces that you could mix with gluten-free pasta as well as larger Banquet Packs to feed up to 8 people if you are entertaining or if your family and friends decide that your meal looks nicer than theirs! Trust me this would not be surprising! Each pouch is a single serving and retails from £1.50-£3.75 + delivery costs.
Register for free to try yours today at http://www.ilumiworld.com