Kids are picky eaters and if they are not introduced to different options, can become even pickier. In regards to fish, it can be hard to give them the delicious option that would make them want to eat fish as part of their regular diet. Fish is just as beneficial for kids as it is for adults.
- Start Early – As babies and younger kids adapt to certain tastes, they develop these healthy eating habits for a lifetime. In doing so, they acquire a taste for it and continue to as they grow. Throughout childhood slowly increase their portion size too. Known as “shaping young tastes”, begin serving bits of salmon as infant finger foods at about 9 months of age.
- Texture and Flavor – Balancing the texture and flavor is a major key to helping kids find an appetite for seafood. Offer children fish with a soft texture such as cod or scallops. Then go towards “steakier” types of fish such as tuna or swordfish, as they get older. In regards to flavor, however, kids lean toward mild-flavored fish like shrimp or cod.
Another great tip to get kids to like and eat fish is to switch it up when cooking. Children love to dip food. A great trick is to make yummy dips such as hummus or teriyaki sauce, allowing them to use it as dip for their pieces of fish. Use ingredients such as dill, lemon peel or garlic and pepper to spice it up, or glace honey over it to give it a sweet glaze they’ll enjoy. Try the Fish Crunchies offered by Channel Fish for children who love to dip!
Mixing seafood into their favorite recipes can also be a helpful tip. Recipes such as fish tacos, spaghetti with shrimp or substitute salmon for meatballs. Seafood soups, macaroni and cheese with chunks of salmon, crab or lobster are great alternatives for a delicious kid-favorite meal. Gradually put increasing drops of fish oil into your their favorite smoothie. Using salmon or tuna fish sticks, tuna wraps and salmon quesadillas are just a few ideas to try.