Yes, our Minis chilled meals were specifically designed for children and those with smaller appetites. Kirsty’s Minis are 250g portions, that are gluten free, dairy free and soya free. Like all our meals they are free from artificial flavours, colourings or preservatives and they all contain at least 1 of your 5-a-day. In honesty though all our meals and pizzas are suitable for children because they never have any red traffic lights and I look for healthy & flavourful alternatives to sugar & salt.
Are your products available for Vegetarians/Vegans?interact2023-02-16T14:37:30+00:00
Many of our products don’t contain meat and because all our recipes are dairy free this means a number of Kirsty’s products are accidentally vegan. Our Vegan range includes Kirsty’s Lentil Lasagne, Kirsty’s Lentil Cottage Pie and Kirsty’s deserts. In our pizza range our Margherita and Mediterranean Vegetable pizzas are vegan.
Can I cook your ready meals in the oven?interact2023-02-16T14:43:24+00:00
Oh no, Kirsty’s chilled ready meals are made in a different way to most ready meals which allows us to avoid unnatural preservatives and additives. We make the sauces and prepare the meat and veg in a similar way but instead of cooking then assembling into the pack, we assemble first then seal the pack. After sealing, the packs are put into a large pressure cooker which allows us to cook them at a higher temperature. This means we can lock in the nutrients and prevent micro-organisms getting into the pack after cooking – therefore the products can have a longer shelf life without preservatives or additives. Obviously for our frozen meals, pizzas and desserts we use the freezing process to avoid preservatives and additives.
How long do I cook the meals for?interact2022-03-23T11:48:37+00:00
We have a full list of all the stores we are available in on the ‘Store Locator’ section of the website. Apologies if we have listed a store and our products don’t seem to be in stock, we work with all the supermarkets to keep the list up-to-date, sometimes if you ask in store they may be able to get stock in store for you.
Why do some of your desserts contain palm oil?interact2022-03-23T11:51:59+00:00
I know for some of you the use of Palm Oil in any way is indefensible, and certainly we have worked hard to ensure there’s none in our meals but we do have a small amount in two of our desserts. My first priority and the reason I set Kirsty’s up is to provide delicious free-from food, but of course, we do also care about our impact upon the planet. Both of our dessert manufacturers use Palm Oil which is RSPO accreditated which means it is sustainably sourced. Palm Oil is necessary in the recipes because it creates a much better texture and shelf life than any other oils we have tried (and believe me, we have tried). I am no expert, but reading about Palm Oil sustainable production, I came to the conclusion that supporting sustainable farming practices was in some way better than boycotting it’s use and so increasing poverty levels and desperation in areas that are already suffering such a lot with this. I accept that some of you will disagree with this, but I just wanted to share my reasoning, it wasn’t a quick decision for me that I took lightly, it was a very carefully considered one.
Why is the shelf-life longer than three days?interact2022-03-23T11:46:28+00:00
We appreciate that people are used to the fact that most ready meals you find in the shops only have a short shelf life. This is because for a lot of ready meals all the ingredients (eg, sauce, meat, vegetables) are cooked and cooled first, then assembled into the finished product. Even in the cleanest factory (or kitchen at home!) a small number of harmless micro-organisms can get into the product and grow while they are in the chiller cabinet – hence they have to be heated and consumed within a few days of purchase. For Kirsty’s the product is made in a different way. We make the sauces and prepare the meat and veg in a similar way but instead of cooking then assembling into the pack, we assemble first then seal the pack. After sealing, the packs are put into a large pressure cooker which allows us to cook them at a higher temperature. This means we can lock in the nutrients and prevent micro-organisms getting into the pack after cooking – therefore the products can have a longer shelf life.
Why is your ready meal film seal so hard to peel off?Natalie2023-10-10T10:40:13+00:00
We previously were accredited but sadly no longer are. We still test for gluten & wheat in all our foods and are well below legal limits and we have rigorous clean procedures and ways of working with ingredients suppliers in place. Unfortunately Coeliac UK have changed their accreditation procedures to include requirements which would add a significant cost to manufacturing without improving safety levels. We take being Gluten & Wheat free incredibly seriously and have never in over 10 years of business had an issue, but we also know that increasing costs in not something our customers want.
What allergens are your products free-from?interact2023-02-16T14:42:45+00:00
Kirsty’s Chilled and Frozen ready meals are free of all 14 allergens, except Fish Pie which contains Fish. Fish is the only allergen we allow in our factory (so there’s no nuts, no soya, no eggs as well as no gluten, wheat or dairy).
Kirsty’s pizzas are free of all 14 major allergens, including being dairy free, gluten free and soya free.
Kirsty’s frozen desserts are gluten free and lactose free. They are made with Dairy free recipes but in a factory which handles dairy and nuts and therefore aren’t guaranteed to be completely dairy or nut free. Please check individual products packaging.
What food allergies can you outgrow?interact2022-03-23T11:53:40+00:00
It is possible to outgrow a food allergy, especially for young children, but you should always seek medical advice before reintroducing foods into your diet. Broadly speaking around 80% of children outgrow allergies to cow’s milk, egg, soy and wheat but allergies to tree nuts, fish or shellfish tend to continue into adulthood. Research has shown that children who experience severe reactions are also less likely to outgrow an allergy and the earlier in life a food allergy is experienced, the more likely you are to outgrow it. Unfortunately if you develop a food allergy as an adult, you are much less likely to outgrow it.
What food allergies cause stomach pain?interact2022-03-23T11:54:01+00:00
The most common causes of stomach pain include indigestion, food allergies, food intolerance, and constipation. It’s possible to be allergic to any food, but 14 allergens make up 90 percent of all food allergies. • Milk & Dairy products • Cereals containing gluten (e.g. wheat, rye, barley, oats) • Eggs • Fish, Molluscs & Crustaceans • Peanuts & nuts • Soybeans • Celery • Mustard • Sesame seeds • Sulphur dioxide • Lupins (related to the legume family e.g. peanuts, peas, lentils and beans). In the EU all these food ingredients must be labelled as an allergen on pre-prepared food packaging. Food Intolerances are usually caused by foods which aren’t easily digested by the stomach. They cause an adverse reaction such as nausea, bloating, abdominal pain, and diarrhoea, but not an autoimmune response. Symptoms usually begin about half an hour after eating or drinking the food in question, but in some circumstances may not appear for up to 48 hours. Here’s examples of food types which commonly aren’t easily digested by the stomach • All 14 listed allergens can be a trigger for a food intolerance • Yeast • Worcesterhire Sauce • Sugar, its not easily digested causing a buildup of gas in the upper intestine • Highly acidic foods like Coffee or Capsaicin, a component found in peppers, it’s high acidity can cause irritation to the stomach lining • Nightshade vegetables, which include tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and aubergines can cause stomach problems and also joint pain • Consuming too much saturated fat can cause inflammation, as it can alter the body’s gut bacteria triggering the immune system • Fructan containing foods like Onions and Garlic contain fibres that can cause bloating • High fibre content foods may cause bloating in individuals who are not used to eating a lot of fibre. • Citrus, corn, peanuts, soy, or wheat cause pain in some people. Migraines can be caused by sunflower seed, walnut, cashew, coconut, or pineapple. Among plant foods, soy may be the one that causes pain the most often.
Why do food allergies develop later in life?interact2022-03-23T11:53:20+00:00
It isn’t clear why, but some adults develop an allergy to a food they used to eat with no problem. Whilst most food allergies still occur in childhood, certain food allergies seem more likely to occur in adults. For example, it’s thought that the average age for developing a shellfish allergy is 50.2 years old. Experts aren’t entirely sure why this happens, but theories include: – Hormonal changes may be a factor, including menopause, pregnancy & high periods of stress – Changes in gut bacteria, perhaps built over time from low fibre consumption (starving the bacteria who live off fibre) or a more recent event like surgery, antibiotics, an infection, or again stress. – Not being exposed to a high enough level of the allergen as a child but reaching that threshold in adulthood – Changes to the foods we eat, for example grains are now more refined than ever before and therefore have more gluten. Also foods are sourced from more global sources than even 10 years ago, so the variant may be subtly different. – Natural changes to the body as you age, such as declines in lactase levels, preventing the correct digestion of lactose in Dairy products.
Food allergies do not cause weight gain. However reactions from your immune system can cause bloating through water retention and there’s also evidence that if your immune system is frequently reacting to the foods you eat, the inflammation can impair the brains’ ability to receive appetite suppressing messages. So removing foods that you have an allergy or intolerance to from your diet can help you moderate appetite.
Can I eat these on a diet?interact2022-03-23T11:54:24+00:00
Like most people I keep a watchful eye on my weight, and whilst considering the calories in the food I eat is an important factor, I also try to look at the overall benefits the food I eat and the ingredients I use. Certainly I look carefully at the types of fat I eat, but whilst limiting saturated fats in the diet is a good idea cutting out healthy fats may actually undermine your diet. That’s because fat actually ‘fills you up’ like no other nutrient so if you cut all fats out of your diet, including healthy fats you are actually more likely to overeat and consume more calories.
Which low calorie foods are the most filling?interact2022-03-23T11:55:13+00:00
Choosing foods that will fill you up so you are not tempted by hunger and cravings between meals is central to how I eat. Some of my favourite additions to my recipes include Sweet Potato, Quinoa, Chickpeas and Lentils. Learn more about these diet friendly ingredients that we use in Kirsty’s products in our Super Ingredients section.
Will a low calorie diet slow metabolism?interact2022-03-23T11:54:52+00:00
A low calorie diet can lower your metabolism. Regularly eating fewer calories than your body needs can cause your metabolism to slow down. Several studies show that low-calorie diets can decrease the number of calories the body burns by as much as 23%. So if you are watching your weight, controlling your calorie intake by incorporating low-calorie food is important, but even more important is to choose foods that will fill you up so you are not tempted by hunger and cravings between meals. So considering fibre levels and whether they are a complex carb, should be high up on your list.