You most likely can get your kids to make fish faces faster than you can get them to eat them, right?!!
I don’t know about you but I love to cook fish. I try to at least once a week, if not twice- to make some sort of dish with it. Whether it be salmon, shrimp, sole, trout or even tuna…. I gotta have it. Because of my love for fish, that means the whole family is gonna have some too. Because as I always say: Mom’s kitchen is not Mom’s restaurant, so we all eat the same things!
Luckily all of my kids really like fish too. But, I know many friends with kids though who really struggle with getting their kids to eat it, as my girlfriend who’s a mom of two says “She’d probably win a surfing competition before she gets her kids to eat some salmon!” (She’s not a surfer and afraid of the ocean.)
You’re probably thinking, well just omit it from the diet, or make them pasta the nights that you eat it. They’ll get their vitamins and nutrients from other foods, fruits and vegetables… well, not so fast! Let me just tell you about all of the wonderful things that these “fruits of the sea” are offering us up that most fruits and veggies don’t contain and you might reconsider skipping fish for your kids or even yourself next time.
Vitamins found in fish include vitamin A, which is so important for vision and helps eyes adjust between dark and light settings. Vitamin A also helps keep eye and skin cells and mucous membranes healthy. Vitamin C aids in the production of collagen and hlps absorb vitamin A. Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium and helps prevention of osteoporosis and promotes joint and bone health. It also contains riboflavin, which helps the body metabolize amino acids, fatty acids and carbs.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
So you’re always hearing about “enhanced with Omega-3’s, high in Omega 3’s… what exactly are Omega 3’s? Well Omega 3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids. They are essential for human health, but our bodies don’t produce it on it’s own… so you have to get them through food, i.e. fish- Salmon, Halibut, Tuna and some nuts. Omega -3 fatty acids play a pretty crucial role in the brain function as well as normal growth and development. They have also become pretty popular with us adults because studies have found that they reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and arthritis. These Omega 3’s also help fight depression.
Other nutrients that fish offers:
Calcium and Phosphorus- excellent for bone health. Iron and Zinc, both aid in trnzporting oxyen in the blood and promotes a healthy immune system to fight against colds. Potassium and Magnesium aid in muscle function and cardiovascular health.
Have I convinced you yet? It truly is that GOOD for you! There are SO many ways to prepare it… and don’t think that just because your’e frying your fish it’s all that bad for them! There are some super healthy oils in there too! Here are some ways that my kids really love fish to be prepared!
Salmon Patties- I get a salmon filet and mince it, I add a beaten egg some salt & pepper, garlic powder and chop a little fresh chives in there I then shape them in to little mini patties and then coat them in seasoned Italian breadcrumbs and pan fry them with a teeny bit of oil or butter. I serve them with rice or mashed potatoes, with broccoli that I’ve sauteed in some butter and salt… the kids love them!
Make sushi! Yes, that’s right… you can make sushi with cooked fish… go ahead and buy some cooked shrimp or even crab- don’t go for that imitation stuff… give them the real deal! Buy some Nori (dried seaweed- most grocery stores sell them!) and make some sushi rice – super easy to make! Cut up a few avocados or cucumbers… and set up a little stations… fish, veggies, sesame seeds, soy sauce… and if they like spicy (which mine do) a little wasabi never hurt anyone! Have the kids get involved and let them build their own sushi. What better way to get them eating fish than if they are excited about it and make it themselves!
Linguini with clams! My kids get a kick out of using the clam shells as little musical instruments while they are eating! Chop some shallots or onion very fine, saute them in some butter, add a little bit of minced garlic, some butter, a bit of heavy cream and chicken stock and throw in your clams- cover and allow it to reduce down and all of the clams to open- add some al dente linguine to it, and top with some fresh chopped parsley… If you get them to try this once, I promise they’ll eat it again!
Personalized Fish Nuggets! The all-time fave! I get a firm white fish like cod and bust out the cookie cutters and cut my fish into shapes for them! I dip the fish in a little beaten egg and milk, give it a good coating of breadcrumbs and you can either deep fry them or bake them in the oven… serve with some ketchup and oven roasted potatoes with some steamed asparagus… YUM!
Oven Baked White Fish. If all else fails, a nice thin flaky piece of white fish baked in the oven with a little lemon, salt- pepper and olive oil drizzled on top is the perfect starting block for introducing them to fish.
Fish Tacos fresh off BBQ! It’s summertime! Let’s get those fish on the grill! Throw on a little marinade of lemon, garlic & olive oil on some red snapper filets- and get grillin’! Make all the fixin’s for a taco- shredded lettuce, avocado, lime, cilantro, and tortillas.
Other things you can do to get your kids excited about fish is… take them to the market with you… let them see all the varieties of fish, the rainbow of colors, ask them which ones they really think look cool or want to try! Keep your flavors basic… fish has it’s very own distinct flavor- add small flavors to it like lemon, garlic powder and some sort of seasoning salt. Serve fish with pasta, hamburger buns, roll them into tortillas….
Fish to avoid (or have less than 2 oz. per week) with small children as they have high levels of mercury…. Shark, swordfish, king mackrel and tilefish.