Getting your kids to eat their recommended two-a-week isn’t as difficult as you might think
Fish can make an important contribution to a healthy, balanced diet, so is a great choice for all the family - including children. With hundreds of delicious species of sustainable seafood available in the UK and many more imported, there are lots of ways to enjoy two portions of fish a week, as recommended by the Food Standards Agency.
Why eat ‘2 a week’?
Seafood is one of the healthiest foods around. It’s the best natural source of complex Omega-3 oils and is good for heart health, brain development, skin condition and concentration levels so it’s great for kids. It’s also better than vegetable sources of Omega-3, which don’t contain either the concentrated nutrients or the complex of vitamins, proteins and minerals found in seafood.
Tips for getting kids to eat seafood
Children should have at least two portions of fish a week. In fact, getting children into healthy eating habits when they’re young means they’ll be more likely to stick with them when they are older.
Sometimes kids can be reluctant to eat seafood but getting them involved in every stage can really help. Take them along to your local fish counter or fishmonger to choose the fish and find out where it comes from. Then let them help prepare and cook the fish and they will be eager to taste the end result.
Remind them that the vitamins found in fish are essential for shiny hair, clear skin and improves their concentration levels at school too and watch them snap up their fish dish!
• Always wash your hands before handling seafood.
• Make sure frozen fish or shellfish is defrosted properly – preferably overnight in the fridge.
• Use separate chopping boards, knives and plates for preparing raw seafood and make sure it doesn’t come into contact with any other raw or cooked foods.
• If you are worried about bones, choose ‘boneless’ fillets of pre-packed fish or ask the fishmonger to remove the bones for you. Some shellfish such as prawns and mussels are totally free from bones, too.
• Keep a stock of canned fish such as tuna, salmon, pilchards and sardines in your cupboard – these make great sandwich fillings and toppings for jacket potatoes and are a good choice when you don’t have much time to prepare meals or packed lunches. To keep salt intakes down opt for those in water or oil rather than brine.
• Steam, poach, grill or barbecue fish rather than frying it to help keep the fat content down.
• Get children involved in helping you to prepare fish dishes such as sandwich fillings, fishcakes or homemade fish fingers – they’ll be more likely to eat it, if they’ve had a hand in making it.
Seafood dishes for kids
Why not try some of these suggestions for seafood dishes that children are guaranteed to love?
• Fish pie topped with mashed potato and served with peas.
• Jacket potato with canned tuna mixed with cherry tomatoes, sweetcorn and a little reduced-fat mayo.
• Thin-crust pizza topped with tuna and favourite veggies.
• Homemade fishcakes with baked potato wedges and sweetcorn.
• Fish and vegetable kebabs with pitta bread and tzatziki.
• Mashed sardines in tomato sauce on wholegrain bread.
• Homemade mackerel dip with toasted pitta bread and vegetable crudités.
• Salmon and vegetable stir-fry with noodles.
• Seafood lasagne.
• Pasta mixed with canned salmon, broccoli and reduced-fat soft cheese.
• Homemade fish fingers or goujons with jacket potato and vegetables
• Wraps or pitta bread filled with canned tuna or salmon and tomato.
• Prawn fajitas with grated cheese and mild salsa.
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