5 ways to get kids eating more fish
Seafood is a great way to get kid’s developing brains, bones, and hearts the nutrition they need – studies have shown that oily fish in particular are chock-full of nutrients that help with the development of all three. But it’s not just about getting kid’s to make healthier choices, it’s also about their impact on the meal choices of their families.
In cultures where fish is a part of life – Greece, France, Scotland, and Scandinavia, for example – kids would never dream of refusing to eat fish. However, cultures without that history of seafood consumption often don’t make a point of establishing fish as a normal part of their children’s diets.
According to research by the Heart Foundation of Australia, children’s influence on their parents’ meal choices is greatly underestimated, leading the organization to expand its school-focused healthy-eating initiatives. By making fish and vegetable consumption fun, exciting, and tasty to kids, trials showed a significant increase in overall seafood consumption in the community. After all, parents want happy kids who don’t complain about healthy meal choices.
But how do you make seafood more appealing to kids? There are numerous opinions on this topic, but one that remains constant and supported by most seafood advocates is to involve children in the whole process, from catching, to visiting markets, to shelling and shucking themselves, to selecting dishes, to cooking and plating the final results.
“A pit stop at your local market fish stall or fishmongers offers youngsters the perfect opportunity to get involved in learning about where their food comes from and how it gets onto their plates,” Ren Behan, who writes for celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s online magazine, said.
Barton Seaver, chef, author, and Healthy and Sustainable Food Program Director at Harvard University, said getting involved as a kid helped form his views of food.
"My brother and I had a lot of influence over what was cooked because we helped with the shopping, cooking, and serving. We were able to explore what we really liked about food," he wrote in Cooking Light magazine.
Following are five tips sure to lure in even the fussiest children in our lives to enjoying more fish and seafood, and recipes to help things along.