Little Spoon delivers pre-made kids' meals—are they any good?
Our picky testers tried them to find out.
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When COVID sent us into quarantine a year ago, I started baking bread, cooking new recipes, and making babka. These days, you're more likely to find me tossing my kids a canister of Pringles and calling it a day. Hey, momma is tired, and the last thing I want to do after a day of work, home schooling, and parenting is cook my kids a meal—especially since there's a very good chance they'll complain about it anyway. That's why I was intrigued when I heard about Little Spoon Plates, a line of fully prepared kids' meals that get delivered right to your front door.
What is Little Spoon?
Little Spoon began as a direct-to-consumer baby food company, delivering their Little Blends organic frozen purees to customers' houses each week. Complete with—you guessed it—a little spoon, the purees range from the most basic first foods choices like butternut squash, to more advanced blends such as blueberry-chickpea-spinach-pear-rosemary.
As the founders' children got older and aged out of the baby food stage, they decided to introduce a line called Little Spoon Plates, which are billed as "healthy and nutritious meals for toddlers & big kids." The Plates are already fully cooked and portioned out, so that all busy parents have to do is reheat and serve.
Little Spoon Plates are not organic, but do claim to have "no preservatives, artificial sugar or junk; 100% clean ingredients; and antibiotic & hormone free protein."
How much does Little Spoon cost?
The cost per meal depends on how many you order per week. If you opt for the four meals per week plan, each Little Spoon Plate costs $6.49. Choose six meals per week and the price drops to $5.99, or go for nine meals a week and the plates drop even lower, to $5.49 each. If you order the maximum amount—12 meals per week—the cost drops to $4.99 per plate. Sauces, which must be ordered separately, are $2.99 each.
What are Little Spoon Plates like in real life?
I'm used to having our weekly meals delivered—I was an early adopter of the meal kit phenomenon—but I'm also really committed to only cooking one meal for our entire family, so having separate "kids meals" and "adult meals" for a week was a relatively new experience. I will admit, however, that I can see the appeal of knowing that you have a kid-friendly option right in the freezer if your child decides he doesn't like what's being served for family dinner.
Our Little Spoon Plates arrived nicely packaged in a recyclable cardboard box with an ice pack to keep everything cold. The Plates are small—about the size of a salad plate—and have cute labels with illustrations of animals made out of food that my kids found appealing. Also included in our box were several of the companion dipping sauces.
The Plates can be heated and eaten right away, or stored in the freezer for up to two months. The plates themselves are also recyclable, as well as BPA- and BPS-free, and top-rack dishwasher-safe.
One thing to note is that the Little Spoon Plates portions are small. The site says that the meals are designed for kids from toddler to age 10, but I didn't think there was enough food on each plate to be enough for a child who was older than age 5 or 6, depending on their appetite. If you're going to serve these to older kids, I would definitely plan on supplementing the meal with some extra veggies on the side.
Here's what we thought of Little Spoon Plates
One of the great things about having two kids is that there's a good chance you'll get at least one who isn't especially picky, which is the case with my daughter. She'll try almost anything, and even has a taste for the finer things in life like caviar (yuck) and sushi. My son, on the other hand, prefers to eat a well-rounded diet of plain pasta and steak, so I figured they were the perfect combination of testers for Little Spoon Plates. Thankfully, they're both avid vegetable eaters, so while the fact that there are hidden vegetables in many of the Little Spoon dishes may be attractive to some parents, I prefer that my kids know—and love—veggies in their purest form.
Little Spoon Plates are designed to be heated in the microwave, but they can also be heated in the oven—you just have to move the meal into an oven-safe dish for reheating. We don't own a microwave, so we ended up using the oven method, which worked fine from a preparation standpoint, but did not do any favors to the look of the meals. They say that we all eat with our eyes first, and it's difficult to recreate the attractive plating after scraping everything into a baking dish.
The winning dishes
Chicken potstickers with quinoa veggie stir fry and edamame
This was the most attractive of all the Little Spoon Plates we tried, as well as one of the most tasty. This was paired with the soy glaze dipping sauce, which we found too sweet, but was easily fixed with an extra splash of soy and a swirl of chili sauce. The dumplings themselves tasted similar to the frozen dumplings you can get at Trader Joe's, but my daughter and my husband both enjoyed them. My picky child wouldn't touch the dumplings, but he did eat all of the edamame. The stir fried quinoa was not a hit, but I personally think that quinoa tastes like eating a mouthful of sand, so I'd be surprised if there are a lot of kids who enjoy it.
Cheesy black bean pupusas with veggie Spanish rice
My picky son absolutely loved the pupusas, and only let his sister eat one before he stole the rest of the plate. In fact, he liked them so much that he asked for more, though he wouldn't even touch the Spanish rice. Maybe my kids are weird, but they really don't like "stuff" mixed into their rice or grains. While the pupusas themselves were a big hit, I felt that the dish would've been more successful if the rice had been plain and there had been some sort of veggie on the side. But, again, my kids could be weird, and other kids might love the Spanish rice.
The not-so-winning dishes
Turkey kale sliders with millet poppers and carrots
Honestly, this whole meal tasted like airplane food. The sliders were rubbery and not very good, and the carrots were mushy. I appreciate that Little Spoon tried to make a healthier, millet version of tater tots, but these lacked crunch, and were not a hit with either of my kids.
Mac and three cheese with invisible butternut squash and carrots
My kids are not boxed mac and cheese lovers, so that could be why they didn't take to this dish, but whatever the case, it wasn't one of their favorites. I can understand the appeal of the hidden carrots and butternut squash, especially if you have a kid who simply refuses to eat vegetables, but it didn't seem to add anything to the dish. Mac and cheese is a pretty simple dish to make at home, so it feels like a better investment to choose one of the Little Spoon Plates that has a wider range of flavors.
Should you sign up for Little Spoon Plates?
Look, we're all exhausted after a year of feeding—and cleaning up after—our families. If you just can't face planning and cooking one more meal that your kids might or might not eat, Little Spoon Plates can provide respite. I also think that when (if?) we all ever go back to our offices, Little Spoon Plates are a great way for parents who work long hours to ensure that their kids are getting a well rounded meal at the end of the day—instead of just a canister of Pringles.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.