Seafood obviously has many great health benefits, including omega-3 essential oils and protein. But some kids (and adults!) put up a fight whenever you serve fish for dinner. Here are ten tips to get your family eating more seafood.
1. Start Early. Begin serving tiny bits of salmon as one of your infant’s earliest finger foods, at about 9 months of age. As has been proven in Asian cultures, babies who adapt to certain tastes enjoy them for a lifetime. This is called shaping young tastes.
2. Dip It. Children love to dip. Make yummy dips, such as hummus, teriyaki sauce, or marinara sauce, and let them dip pieces of salmon.
3. Sneak It. Mix seafood into their favorite recipes: fish tacos, spaghetti and salmon balls (instead of meatballs), burritos with strips of salmon, seafood soups, macaroni and cheese with chunks of salmon. Add drops of salmon oil or diced dried seaweed into your child’s favorite foods. Put gradually increasing drops of fish oil into your child’s favorite smoothie. Make fun fish dishes. Try salmon fish sticks, seafood teriyaki and fajitas, tuna wraps, and salmon quesadillas.
4. Cover It. If your child is not used to seafood, cover it with a favorite topping, such as cheese or homemade breading, or put the salmon under your child’s favorite food, such as mashed potatoes or risotto rise on top. Hide the seafood under a proven favorite, such as cheese, pasta, tomato sauce, or mashed potatoes.
5. Sprinkle It. Sprinkle on their favorite topping that makes seafood tasty and enticing. Sprinkle on lemon or lime juice.
6. Spice It. Sprinkle on healthy spices that get your child’s tastes used to these healthy condiments and help mask a fishy flavor: dill, fennel, lemon peel, garlic, turmeric, and pepper.
7. Sweeten It. Drizzle honey over a salmon fillet, and grill it to make a sweet glaze.
8. Share It. Use a little fishy peer pressure. Invite over some known seafood lovers and have a fish party. Your child is likely to want to copy his fish-loving friends.
9. Switch It. Instead of a beef burger, serve a salmon burger. Just say, “We’re having burgers tonight.”
10. Prepare It Together. Children are more likely to eat what they help prepare in the kitchen.
Find more information about seafood and omega-3s in The Omega-3 Effect by Dr. Bill and Dr. Jim.