As someone who doesn't have kids, I admit I have as much interest in their dietary needs as I have in the latest Michael Bublé album... make that song. But while I'd rather have one of those whizzy looking iPads than an exquisitely monikered mini-me (shallow? moi?), I do appreciate that it's tougher than ever for parents to navigate the dietary minefield. Especially when it comes to ready meals.

This week's Panorama 'investigation' What's Really in Our Kids' Food (8.30pm, BBC One, 25 January) had all the intellectual gravitas of a four-year-old's account of what they did on holiday, but it raised an extremely important issue. While plenty of attention has been focused on the diets of older kids, their younger siblings have been largely overlooked (only in Scotland are there guidelines for nursery food).

Yet when it comes to dietary habits, the die is cast before the age of five, according to nutritionists. And as reporter Shelley Jofre discovered, kids in this age group consume twice as much sugar as they should, many eat far more than the 2g a day of salt they're supposed to and very few take in sufficient protein or fat.

There are some obvious offenders, sugary drinks for one (Britvic's Fruit Shoot was singled out because it contains 25g of sugar, though the manufacturer was quick to point out it doesn't market to under-fives and 85% of its sales are from the lower-sugar version). But most of Jofre's ire was reserved for ready meals, one brand in particular.

I felt sorry for Annabel Karmel. There was a whiff of the witch hunt in the way she was pilloried for her toddlers' lasagne having twice as much sugar as an adult meal and 1g of salt (and quite why Jofre didn't take on any of the ambient players with their processed and pasteurised stodge is anyone's guess) but the woman didn't do herself any favours. "If it was a bland meal, the child won't eat it," she said lamely.

Unfortunately, a lack of at-a-glance nutritional labelling on ready meals aimed at kids of this age (presumably because the RDAs for a one-year-old are different from those of a two or three-year old), means parents are often none the wiser. Or at least they weren't. They might be now.

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