Because it helps to have the best equipment and products at hand to make weaning and feeding easier, quicker and (sometimes) less messy, we’ve also been putting highchairs and booster seats through their paces, along with bibs, beakers, blenders, baby plates, cutlery sets, splash mats and weaning apps.
So, if you’re about to start weaning or are just looking for clever ways to get your child to be less fussy about food, these are the products for you.
See the winners in:
- Highchairs & Booster Seats
- Cups & Beakers
- Cutlery & Tableware
- Mealtime Sets
- Weaning & Feeding Products
- Baby Breakfast Food
- Baby Food or Pouch
- Organic Baby Food
- Baby & Toddler Snack
- Toddler & Child Food
Key features we tested/judged — Effectiveness, ease of use, tray size/shape, comfort for baby, quality of product, convertibility and/or other features, and worth the money
Gold — Silver Cross Buffet Highchair, £149
Why it’s a winner: Our testers were full of praise for this stylish, practical highchair with its comfy seat and easy-to-wipe-clean fabric. The 7 adjustable heights received special mention for allowing children to sit at various table heights and breakfast bars when the tray was not attached. And one tester was a huge fan of the tray’s separate insert which can pop off and go in the dishwasher, leaving a clean tray behind ready for the next meal. Another found the compact fold a “huge bonus when space is at a premium”. All felt it was worth the money because of its excellent quality and the fact it can be used from birth (with a newborn cradle mode) up to the age of 3.
In the words of parent tester Charlotte, who tested this with their 7 month old: “The ease of unfolding and adjusting the highchair makes setting up for mealtimes quick and simple, while the wipe-cleanable seat padding is a dream! The chair is so comfortable, I am surprised our baby doesn’t drift off to sleep sitting in it.”
Buy from: Silver Cross
Joint Silver — Munchkin 360 Swivel Cloud Highchair, £199.99
Why it’s a winner: The modern, stylish appearance of this highchair wowed all our judges. “I love the look – it would go with almost any interior,” said one. The 5-point adjustable harness is nice and secure, and the seat comfortable for little ones to sit in it happily for long periods. The detachable tray and insert both fit in the dishwasher and the plastic seat is easy to wipe clean. The seat can swivel in all directions, too, which one of our testers found useful when sitting around a circular table.
In the words of parent tester Sarah, who tested this with their 16 month old: “This is a fantastic chair that looks very sleek, is practical and seems very comfortable for my son. The beautiful design, solid components and swivel function mean it stands out on the market. It is a bit on the pricey side but if you’re looking for a premium product, it’s worth the investment.”
Joint Silver — Kinderkraft LIVY, £179
Why it’s a winner: Our testers all rated this practical highchair for its versatility. It is a 3-in-one that can be used first as a highchair, then as a toddler seat, and finally as a chair for older children. It can also be turned into a baby bouncer by buying an additional seat. It takes a little while to set up but all our testers were impressed by its sturdy and stylish look and feel once built. The grey frame is easy to clean and the silicone tray can be removed to fit into the dishwasher. A good choice if you want a chair with longevity.
In the words of parent tester Lyssa, who tested this with their 2 month old: “What a great product! I am very happy with it. As it’s a 3-in-one and grows with your baby, it will save parents a lot of time, money and space. It’s practical, stylish and the colour is lovely.”
Buy from: Pramworld
Bronze — Allis Baby Lola Highchair, £115
Why it’s a winner: This 2-in-one highchair offers versatility: as well as using it from 6 months as a highchair, the seat reclines and so can be used as an eleveated bouncer chair for younger babies (though not for sleep as it doesn’t lie flat). Our testers liked the number of ways the chair can be adjusted by reclining the seat, changing the footrest, and moving the height to 8 different positions. Extra features include wheels and a toy bar to keep your children entertained until their food arrives. Although our testers felt it wasn’t quite as sturdy as our other winners, they loved the comfortable, secure seat and how easily it can be folded and compactly tucked away when not in use.
In the words of parent tester Hollie, who tested this with their 9 month old: “It has made my life a lot easier because of its versatility. It has a comfortable and secure design, perfect for my little wriggler who never seems to want to stay still! And the fun toy bar makes those in between moments – usually filled with incessant whining – a lot more bearable! It’s also super easy to fold away and tuck under the stairs until the next mealtime.””
Shortlisted: My Babiie Dani Dyer Navy Leopard Premium Highchair | Graco Swift Fold | Mamatoyz Mama Highchair
Key features we tested/judged — Effectiveness, ease of use, quality/design, washing/drying and worth the money
Gold — Waterproof Sleeved Cape Bib Omnia Baby, £14.99
Why it’s a winner: Bibs have come a long way since the days when towelling terry was the only option. This gorgeous cape design is genuinely chic, with a choice of cute prints. It’s made from waterproof, sustainable Oeko Tex fabric (so free from harmful chemicals), and has long sleeves to prevent messy cuffs, plus a pocket to catch crumbs. There’s also a bag included for travel, with a popper closure, which our testers really appreciated. “It’s easy to wash at 30° in the washing machine,” said tester Anna, who tested it with their 1 year old.
In the words of parent tester Claire, who tested this with their 14 month old: “I am fully sold on this lovely bib. It’s clearly been designed by people who understand exactly what you need. I can’t say enough about the softness of the material and fantastic design. No gaping round the neck or wrists either, so my son’s clothing is fully protected. I wish I’d come across it earlier!”
Buy from: Omnia Baby
Silver — FrostyBabyBoutique Long Sleeve Waterproof Cape Bib, £12.95
Why it’s a winner: Designed for ages 6 to 24 months, this long-sleeved bib comes in several beautiful designs (we’re huge fans of the giraffe and elephant prints and the retro cherries), and wowed our testers, who all commented on its great, hard-wearing quality and good length. In particular, the super-soft ‘raincoat-style’ fabric won plaudits. And it did the job, protecting clothes very effectively.
In the words of parent tester Lisa, who tested this with their 1 year old: “I cannot stress enough how beautifully this bib washed in comparison to the other types of bibs I have used: not a crease, faded cherry or mark of wear in sight but, equally, not a stain or smear has remained. Excellent quality.”
Buy from: Frosty Baby Boutique
Bronze — Babybibs Organic Cotton Bandana Bib, £4.50
Why it’s a winner: Every parent needs a bandana bib (or 5) to catch dribbles and stop clothing getting soaked when teething reaches its heights. They’re made from organic cotton, are a doddle to wash and super-soft to the touch. You might need a few on the go, so the costs could stack up but overall these are gorgeous, lovely quality and just the thing to save umpteen clothes changes a day.
In the word of parent tester Lucy, who tested this with their 10 month old: “I give these 10/10. Made with babies in mind, they are funky, cool and super cute. They’re the only dribble bibs my daughter has been happy to wear all day and I believe it’s thanks to the softness around her neck. They are absorbent, wash great and I would highly recommend to all parents.”
Buy from: Babybibs
Key features we tested/judged — Effectiveness, ease of use, leakage, quality of product and value for money
Gold — MAM Night Time Fun to Drink Cups with Glow Handles, 270ml, £9.65
Why it’s a winner: This cup takes the top spot for the 2nd year in a row because our testers love its style, its leak-proof lid and how easy it is to clean. The handles are comfortable for small hands to grip and even glow in the dark, so toddlers can help themselves if they need a drink in the night – a major plus point for sleep-hungry parents. It is more expensive than many other cups but, as the valve is removable, it has longevity as it can be used both as a non-spill sippy cup for babies or a free flow cup for toddlers.
In the words of parent tester Gemma, who tested this with their 2 year old: “I really love this cup. It holds lots of liquid and has never spilled when the valve is in. The glow-in-the-dark handles work well, as they make it easy for my son to find it in the night.”
Silver — Munchkin Miracle® 360° Colour Changing Sippy Cup, 266ml, £6.99
Why it’s a winner: The spoutless design of these colourful cups (available in 3 different shades) make them kinder to children’s teeth and easy to clean, as there are no fiddly parts. The 360° rim means it can be sipped from any angle and our parent testers all agreed on its quality and, most importantly, leakproof-ness. The lack of handles make it a better choice for older children to grip (it is recommended from 12 months), who’ll also more fully appreciate the colour-changing feature (which works best when the drink inside is well chilled).
In the words of parent tester Claire, who tested this with their 18 month old: “This is a good cup for toddlers. The non spill function seems to work better than other cups I have. It is easy to take apart, clean and then put back together.”
Bronze — Babycup Sippeco First Cups, £8.99 for 4
Why it’s a winner: These cute, colourful cups are nicely designed for teaching babies to drink by sipping rather than sucking, which is better for their teeth and the development of mouth muscles. If you want your child to go straight onto an open cup, this is the product for you. Our expert judge Lucy Upton described these as “a fantastic first open cup for babies, and great to support the complex skill of open cup drinking for young children.” There will inevitably be more spillage but, as the cups are deliberately small in size, there is never too much to mop up.
In the words of parent tester Stacie, who tested this with their 8 month old: “Great cup, the only one I use now. Gives independence and reduces spilling. I like that they can be recycled at end of use.”
Shortlisted: NUK Mini Magic cup | Eco Rascals Bamboo and Silicone Straw Cup
Key features we tested/judged — Ease of use, quality of product, appeal to child, ease of care/washing, value for money
Joint Gold — Pipetta My 1st Spoon + Fork, £9.99
Why it’s a winner: Our parent tester feedback was overwhelmingly positive for this BPA and phthalate-free silicone cutlery set that comes in neutral shades of sea salt and peppercorn. The little spoon and fork are the perfect size for little fingers and are designed brilliantly for the baby-fisted grip: one parent said she was “so impressed at how easily my baby was able to use these after struggling with another baby spoon for several weeks”. There was much praise too for the “genius” choke guard that helps your baby hold the cutlery correctly, and not stick the spoon too far into their mouth.
In the words of parent tester Zameera, who tested this with their 7 month old: “These are the perfect size for little hands and the design is well thought out. I like the soft silicone and the fact that it is environmentally friendly. The choke guards set this item apart from other baby cutlery sets I have come across.”
Joint Gold — Pippeta Silicone Suction Section Plate, £14.50
Why it’s a winner: Our parent testers felt this sophisticated silicone plate was worth the price tag as it can be used by both babies and older children. One mum said they would even use it to serve dips and snacks to adults, as it has such a stylish and minimalist look. It also scored highly for being easy to clean (and dishwasher-friendly), having nice big food sections, and having a strong enough suction pad to defy even the most determined-to-pull-it-off-the-highchair-tray babies.
In the words of parent tester Gemma, who tested this with their 2 year old: “This is so practical: it fits in a dishwasher rack, holds a good amount of food, has equal sections for variety, and has amazing suction. I’ve found myself reaching for this bowl more and more.”
Silver — nohla® Toby the Tiger Bamboo Suction Plate, £17.99
Why it’s a winner: Toby the Tiger was a big hit with our child testers, who loved the fun and cute animal design and how it was easy to scoop food from the 3 curved sections of the plate. Their parents were equally impressed by the quality of the product – which is made from 100% organic and biodegradable bamboo – and by how strong the suction is. While not dishwasher safe, it’s easy to clean and, reports one parent tester, didn’t stain even after tomato-based meals.
In the words of parent tester Janet, who tested this with their 11 month old: “Such a beautifully designed and well-made plate. It’s my daughter’s favourite. She loves the tiger face and the curved grooves that divide the food into portions.”
Bronze — Eco Rascals Bamboo Section Plates, £17.90 each
Why it’s a winner: These quirky plates, made from ethically-sourced and biodegradable bamboo, come shaped as cars, dinosaurs and animals – with differently sized sections depending on the style. Our parent testers liked its eco-friendliness (including the recyclable packing), its good-sized sections and excellent suction.
In the words of parent tester Joanne, who tested this with their 14 month old: “This gets a big thumbs-up from my household. My daughter loves the owl design and, as a result, she is eating more than she did before. I’m really impressed by the suction. Despite my daughter’s best efforts it has always remained firmly attached and we haven’t needed to use a splash mat once since we started using it.”
Shortlisted: nohla® Leo the Lion Bamboo Suction Plate | MAM Heat Sensitive Weaning Spoons & Cover | Bubba Boo Bamboo Fire Engine Suction Plate
Key features we tested/judged — Ease of use, quality of product, appeal to child, ease of care/washing, value for money
Gold — Vital Baby Nourish weaning and feeding range, £17.99 for a ‘start weaning’ kit
Why it’s a winner: Our parent testers found this fun-coloured starter set practical and high-quality, and like how it includes just about everything you could need for weaning babies at home and away. Particular favourites were the chunky spoons which are easy for babies to grip, and the power suction bowl which held firm to most surfaces. Items in the range complement one another well, so can be stacked for minimal storage and all are dishwasher-safe. One little design touch that got special praise is that the spoons can also be stuck to the lid pots – meaning, as one parent tester put it, “the spoons don’t get lost at the bottom of your bag when you’re taking your baby’s lunch out somewhere with you.”
In the words of parent tester Daska, who tested this with their 10 month old: “I wish I’d discovered this earlier. The quality and standard is high and it all washes well. I particularly like the practical functionality of the products, such as the spoons having rests on them. The range is perfectly thought out, mostly stackable and takes up little room in the cupboards.”
Silver — Habooni Eli the Elephant Silicone Suction Plate Set, £22.99
Why it’s a winner: Our baby and toddler testers were delighted by this cute elephant plate, and their parents loved that this encouraged them to eat more. Each section holds sizeable amounts of food and the suction is nice and strong. Also included in the silicone set is a great bib, and a spoon and fork. Every parent tester said they thought the set was worth the price for the elephant plate alone.
In the words of parent tester Susie, who tested this with their 20 month old: “Not only is it a beautiful set but it’s extremely practical too. Having tried many different brands of suction plates, I can easily say that this is one of the best we’ve ever used as it doesn’t budge. It is stylish, great quality and has made mealtimes so much easier.”
Buy from: Amazon
Bronze — Tiny Roo Bowl and Spoon Set, £13.99
Why it’s a winner: Our parents testers really like the design and the pretty pastel colours of this bowl and spoon set. “This is made for Instagram!” said one. The design of the bowls is practical as well, and both microwave and dishwasher-safe. The suction isn’t as strong as our other winners and it would have been nice to have another spoon or two for the price.
In the words of parent tester Amy, who tested this with their 9 month old: “It is a beautiful set and stands out with its minimal, stylish shape and design. Being able to pop it in the microwave is such a bonus.”
Buy from: Tiny Roo
Shortlisted: Natbebe | Mint and Pink Platinum Feeding Set | Baby Bear Mealtime Set Omnia Baby | Babymoov First Isy weaning mealtime set
Key features we tested/judged — Effectiveness, ease of use, quality of product, appeal to child and worth the money
Gold — Little Moxy Vegan Leather Splash Mat, £32.99
Why it’s a winner: This large rectangular mat made with vegan leather comes in blush, tan and willow shades. Our parent testers loved the look, ease of use, and its animal cruelty-free credentials. While it’s on the pricey side, they thought it was worth splashing out on for the time it saved them cleaning up after mealtimes, as it was so quick to wipe clean and hang dry. And it can also be used for messy play, nappy changes, and as an outdoor picnic blanket which provides extra value for money.
In the words of parent tester Daisy, who tested this with their 14 month old: “This changes mealtimes completely. It is so much easier and quicker to clean up. I love the way the mat grips to our floors – we have tried it on carpet, wood, tiles and grass. The topside is smooth but not slippy, so the highchair is sturdy on it. It is also perfect for messy play.”
Buy from: Little Moxy
Joint Silver — eco rascals bamboo snack pots, £16.90 for 2
Why it’s a winner: These beautiful little pots come in a range of pastel shades and, as they’re made from a bamboo base with a silicone lid, they’re a good choice for parents who want to avoid plastic products. They can only hold dry snacks and are not dishwasher, freezer or microwave safe. But our testers still felt they were worth the money for their quality and the fact that they can double as toys or treasure boxes – one parent tester’s son used them as little drums.
In the words of parent tester Telika, who tested this with their 2 year old: “I love how cool the pots look, I’ve had so many friends ask where they are from. They are compact enough to fit nicely into a baby changing bag or everyday handbag without taking up too much space, and the suction lid is great to avoid anything falling out.”
Joint Silver — Bumbo Multi seat, £65.99
Why it’s a winner: This cleverly designed product can be used from 6 months as a floor seat, and also doubles as a highchair when it’s attached to adult chairs. It has a small tray, which tucks away neatly at the back, which can be used if the child is not seated at a table. Our parent testers loved its versatility, quality and longevity (it can be used up to the age of 3). One parent tester said how much easier it made life with their toddler who could now feel grown-up sitting in an adult chair, without them worrying he might fall off it.
In the words of parent tester Phoebe, who tested this with their 21 month old: “This is a design-savvy and well-made product that’s built to last and adapt with your child. It’s so simple to adjust for different stages and feels really suitable for an expanding family.”
Joint Bronze — Baby Brezza One Step Food Maker Deluxe, £159
Why it’s a winner: Convenience is king with this food maker as it is easy to assemble, use, and clean. Our parent testers loved how much time and mess it saved them in the kitchen, as food can be steamed and blended in the same (dishwasher-safe) pot. They also liked how it comes with pouches for feeding and storing purées. Perhaps more of a luxury buy rather than a weaning essential but, if you can afford it, you won’t regret it.
In the words of parent tester Liz, who tested this with their 10 month old: “This is a really smart piece of kitchen equipment that’s very convenient. Set the machine off, come back 30 minutes later and baby’s dinner is ready. It’s then very simple to clean as it’s not made of a million different pieces that need washing. I wish I’d had it earlier – it is brilliant for those just starting out with weaning.”
Joint Bronze — Annabel Karmel’s Baby & Toddler Recipe App, £5.99
Why it’s a winner: Our parents testers found this app really useful – and much more convenient than a cook book – with easy-to-follow recipes for even the less confident cook. You can search for recipes or be inspired by the selections suggested. Extra features include an allergy tracker to record any reactions to certain foods. It would be nice if it had a slightly wider variety of meals for just-starting-to-wean babies but there’s otherwise plenty here to tickle small tastebuds (and larger ones, too).
In the words of parent tester Kate, who tested this with their 10 month old: “It’s great to have a hoard of recipes available at your fingertips in a convenient format. From store cupboard staples you can whizz up a great, nutritious meal for your child, or even the whole family. It’s easy to manoeuvre through the app to find recipes suitable for the age of your child.”
Shortlisted: Waterproof Sleeved Cape Bib Omnia Baby | Baby Bear Mealtime Set Omnia Baby
Key features we tested/judged — Taste, quality and design, ease of use, texture, worth the money and nutritional benefits
Gold — Kendamil Classic Cereals, from £1.79
Why it’s a winner: This range of cereals impressed our parent testers with straightforward instructions, quick preparation time and, most importantly, cleared bowls from their children. All our testers noted how much their children enjoyed the flavours and said they’d happily recommend these cereals to friends and family.
In the words of parent tester Sarah, who tested this with their 7 month old: “Overall, this gets a (very messy) thumbs up from us. It’s a perfect option when your baby’s teething and needs food but can’t cope with biting into things. It has very clear and straightforward instructions, which is a big thumbs up from me. My child really loves the taste, too.”
Buy from: Kendamil
Silver — Mamia Blueberry & Pear Breakfast Pouches, 69p
Why it’s a winner: These breakfast pouches may be a budget buy but they certainly do not compromise on quality or taste. They are 100% organic, contain no artificial flavours or added sugar, and were an instant hit with our baby taste-testers. Our parents testers found them easy to use and particularly to store, as they require no refrigeration and the screw cap means they can be used the following day.
In the words of Julia, who tested this with their 9 month old: “These are a great fruit-based baby breakfast option – and these pouches are very easy to use. My child liked these, and I also found them great for adding to porridge to flavour it.”
Buy from: Aldi
Key features we tested/judged — Taste, texture, quality and design, nutritional benefits, worth the money
Gold — Mamia 10m+ Baby Food Pouch – Tomato Pasta, 99p
Why it’s a winner: All the ingredients are organic and the lumps and chunks are just right for babies aged 10 months and up who are getting used to eating different textures. There’s no added sugar or salt and our parent testers felt there was just the right pasta-to-sauce ratio. Obviously, if you’re baby-led weaning, it can get a bit messy but, as one of our parent testers said, “my girl had a lot of fun trying to scoop it up with her hands!” Good value for money, too.
In the words of parent tester Saidat, who tested this with their 11 month old: “I love the pouch design as it’s stylish, portable and safe to throw into baby changing bag without worrying about spillage or leakage. It is a great baby food.”
Buy from: Aldi
Silver — Oliver’s Cupboard, £1.60
Why it’s a winner: These baby meals are designed with spices and organic ingredients to create ‘adventurous foods from around the world’. The pouches are resealable, and the food inside is halal and suitable for babies from 7 months. The texture is very smooth but these blends could easily be added to noodles or pasta if you are baby-led weaning. MFM judge Amy Burns said, “This is a great way to introduce children to world food and bolder flavours – I could taste the heat. A great confidence builder for flavour-weary parents.”
In the words of parent tester Iqra, who tested this with their 11 month old: “This range was easy for my child to eat and smelled great: the biryani and korma were the winners. As it’s all halal, it offers more choices and variety for the wider population. The look was fun and cute and more approachable than other brands and the ingredients are a winner, with no nasty stuff in there.”
Buy from: Ocado
Bronze — For Aisha Chicken and Sweet Potato Curry Pouch, £1.50
Why it’s a winner: This pouch genuinely looks, smells and tastes like a real curry and could be a great first step to getting your little one used to eating family foods. Flavoured with herbs and spices, it is halal and free from gluten, dairy and other allergens and, as it contains chicken and lentils, it is packed with more protein than many baby pouches. You can also put it in the fridge for up to 24 hours after opening, which reduces waste.”
In the words of parent tester Zainab, who tested this with their 7 month old: “My baby enjoyed the food: it smelt nice and she ate all of it. The packaging is good. It’s easy to open and the colours are warm and neutral – I like that. It’s reasonably priced and nice and smooth, not chunky.”
Shortlisted: Kendamil Classic Follow On Milk 900g
Key features we tested/judged — Taste, texture, worth the money, nutritional benefits, quality and design, ease of use
Gold — Lidl Carrot Puff Snacks, 39p
Why it’s a winner: These carrot puffs are a great size and shape for little fingers to handle and though the flavour is quite subtle and simple, our little baby testers enjoyed them and kept coming back for more. They are excellent value for money and there is a generous helping in each packet. As parent tester Kathleen said, “This is a good snack to have in your bag for babies at the beginning of their weaning journey.”
In the words of parent tester Bethan, who tested this with their 10 month old: “My child seemed to absolutely love the taste of the puffs and made enthusiastic noises when trying them! I had a little taste, too, and they seemed less bland than most baby snack offerings.”
Buy from: Lidl
Silver — Lidl Organic Apple Rice Cakes, 55p
Why it’s a winner: Rice cakes are always a popular choice with babies and toddlers and these apple-flavoured ones went down very well with our team of tiny testers. Made using certified organic ingredients and suitable from 7 months, this is a simple snack to keep your little one going between meals. Parent tester Gina said the rice cakes were a big hit with her teething 11 month old, adding, “I think the texture was a nice pain reliever for her as she was really chomping down.”
In the words of parent tester Sarah, who tested this with their 11 month old: “Crunchy and crisp with a nice bite to them. My baby liked biting into them with his freshly sprouted gnashers. I liked the taste, too, and gobbled a few myself.”
Buy from: Lidl
Bronze — Organix Vanilla Little Ruskits, £1.75
Why it’s a winner: A modern take on traditional rusks, these vanilla-flavoured Little Ruskits are a simple finger food for babies who are just getting to grips with feeding themselves or they can be mushed up and mixed with your child’s usual milk. There are no artificial colours or flavours and they have less sugar than many other baby biscuits and rusks. Parent tester Sarah said, “It tastes sweet with a clear flavour of vanilla.”
In the words of parent tester Jessi, who tested this with their 11 month old: “They’re super easy to take out and about, especially as they’re individually packaged. The sizing is good for little hands to hold and they didn’t snap like some baby biscuits do, so I didn’t need to worry about small bits coming off.”
Shortlisted: Kendamil Organic Follow On Milk
Key features we tested/judged — Taste, texture, worth the money, ease of use, quality and design, effectiveness
Joint Gold — Mamia Vegetable Snacks Beetroot Bites / Butternut Squash Squares, £1.29
Why it’s a winner: Both our judges and our parents testers like the cute and appealing packaging and little air-popped square shapes. They also liked the fact the snacks contained actual vegetables in them, rather than just flavouring. They are excellent value for money and our toddler testers really enjoyed both the taste and texture. Parent tester Anna even said her 16 month old “often exclaimed ‘Yum!’ while sitting and enjoying them.”
In the words of parent tester Leanne, who tested this with their 16 month old: “An excellent choice if you want to feel like you’re giving your child a healthier crisp option. Perfect for days out, picnics, the school run and just snacking at home. My child polished off the packet in less than 5 minutes! I managed to snag one square and thought it was lovely.”
Buy from: Aldi
Joint Gold — Piccolo Mighty Oaty Bars, £2.95
Why it’s a winner: Tasty, mess-free and easy to eat on the go, these bars come in 2 flavours: banana and cocoa, and apple, carrot and orange. They are gluten-free, vegan and have no added salt, sugar or palm oil, plus they contain more fibre than many toddler snacks. Our parent testers commented appreciatively that they’re sweet enough to appeal to kids but without being too sweet. One said, “I would snack on this quite happily if I was caught short!”
In the words of parent tester Jade, who tested this with their 22 month old: “I loved the clear, simple ingredients list, so you know exactly what it is your children are having. I liked the low sugar content, and the fact that the flavours were appealing to little ones. This is something that feels like a treat to them when they’re actually having something healthy.”
Silver — Little Steps Organic Banana Popcorn Puffs, £1.60
Why it’s a winner: These popcorn puffs are easy for little hands to pick up and hold and they come packaged in a resealable tin containing 5 portions, which our parent testers felt was good for storage at home. Parent tester Lyndsay said, “The texture is great – crunchy and crumbly.”
In the words of parent tester Rachel who tested this with their 2 year old: “This is worth the money: my son enjoyed eating them and kept going back for more. He loved it from the get-go, even though he was unsure at first, as banana isn’t his favourite. The tin can be used for crafts afterwards as well.”
Buy from: Asda
Joint Bronze — Lidl Organic Raspberry Rice Cakes, 55p
Why it’s a winner: Fruity and great value for money, these rice cakes are a lovely pink colour but the colouring doesn’t come off or stain anything, even when they get soggy. They come in a large bag which contains 20 servings (but isn’t resealable). The raspberry flavouring is a little tart for some palates but the texture is great and they don’t fall apart easily. Our parent tester Aimee said, “They seemed very natural but still flavoursome. And a 55p for a big bag, you can’t go wrong!”
In the words of parent tester Katie, who tested this with their 1 year old: “These rice cakes were a good snack for my little one and I particularly liked that they were organic. They are good value for money. They had a nice, crunchy texture but were not too hard and my child was easily able to bite and chew them.”
Buy from: Lidl
Joint Bronze — Kiddylicious Cheesy Popped Hoops, £2.50
Why it’s a winner: Suitable from 3 years, these crunchy, air-fried snacks are a healthier alternative to crisps for preschoolers and older children. They are free from artificial flavours, colours and preservatives. The hoop shape is fun and our tester children liked the dinosaur on the packaging. Parent tester Caitlen said these snacks were a hit with her son who “asks for them above any other crisps now”.
In the words of parent tester Bryony, who tested this with their 3 year old: “My daughter really loved these. She’s normally quite fussy but she tucked into these straightaway, so that’s well worth the money for me. I felt the packs were just the right size for a snack.”
Shortlisted: Aldi Mamia Soft Biscotti Strawberry | Lidl Sweetcorn Puff Snack | Organix Vanilla Little Ruskits
Key features we tested/judged – Taste, texture, worth the money, ease of use, quality and design, effectiveness
Gold — Little Dish Fresh Kids Meals, £2.50
Why it’s a winner: These toddler-friendly ready meals can be quickly microwaved and, although they are a convenience food, they are also made with healthy ingredients, providing at least one of your child’s 5-a-day. Our expert MFM judge Lucy Upton, a paediatric dietitian, felt the product was well presented and described it as “a nutritionally sound ready meal option for children, with texture appropriate for their age.”
In the words of parent tester Emily, who tested this with their 23 month old: “There is a really good mix of ingredients: all natural and not processed, which is a HUGE WIN in my book. The meals are super low in salt and have no added sugar, too. I felt really confident that my kids were having a nutritious and balanced meal, even with minimal effort from me.”
Silver — Annabel Karmel’s Baby & Toddler Frozen Meals, £2.30
Why it’s a winner: This range of frozen ready meals are high in protein and iron and, as they go in the freezer, you can stock up for those days when the rest of your cupboards are bare. Parent tester Giorgia described them as “a saviour in my freezer”, and said how particularly impressed she was with the quality of the pasta dishes. “I’m very fussy with pasta sauces, being Italian,” she said, “but I must say I was really impressed by the taste on the sauce!”
In the words of parent tester Laura, who tested this with their 3 year old: “My daughter really liked these meals. She was going through a fussy phase and these meals were guaranteed wins – especially as they all had hidden veg in them! I tried them all myself, too, and they didn’t have the greasy synthetic taste that a lot of ready meals have.”
Bronze — Aldi Mamia 12m Bolognese Bake Tray Meal, 85p
Why it’s a winner: This ready meal from Aldi, with its eye-catching packaging, is an absolute bargain but doesn’t compromise on quality: our parent tester Lolita particularly praised its delicate flavour and all our parent testers found the chunks just the right size for toddlers. The twirly pasta shapes are fun and there are plenty of vegetables included.
In the words of parent tester Stacey, who tested this with their 3 year old: “I thought the texture was perfect for the age specified. Good big chunks of carrot, so I felt like my child was getting some veg. There’s a good variety of textures between the pasta, veg and sauce, too.”
Buy from: Aldi
Shortlisted: Aldi Mamia Oaty Bars – Strawberry & Apple
See all our MFM Award winners:
- Prams, pushchairs, lightweights and double buggies – 2022 winners
- Baby carriers, slings and wraps – 2022 winners
- Sleeping and nursery products – 2022 winners
- Family health, bathtime and skincare products – 2022 winners
- Breastfeeding and bottlefeeding products – 2022 winners
- Nappies, changing and potty training products – 2022 winners
- Products for your pregnancy – 2022 winners
- Lifestyle, travel, fashion, books, toys and gifts – 2022 winners
- MadeForMums Special Awards – 2022 winners
- MadeForMums Editor’s Choice Awards – 2022 winners
The MadeForMums Awards editorial team is led by Consumer & Reviews Editor Christy McGhee, Consumer & Commerce Editor Gemma Cartwright, and Editorial Director Susie Boone and comprises Janet Mtima, Emily Longman Wall, Chloe Brightwell, Catherine Ball, Janet Martin, Sarah Dawson, Gabrielle Nathan, Claire Belle Freed, Lucy Waterlow and Cheryl Freedman who have created, written and edited these pages after rigorous testing and judging by our panel of home testers, experts and editorial judges. Images by Emma Winchester. With thanks to Danielle Graph, Emma Onuma, Tayla Emmons, Helen Brown, Helen Salter and Amber Newlands.