Introducing seafood to children may seem intimidating. I know it was for me, especially growing up in the Midwest and not having a lot of seafood when I was younger. But as a dietitian, I know there are a variety of heart-healthy benefits to seafood – the unsaturated fat and lean protein – so I experimented and found recipes that helped me love seafood. Then, I also got my 3-year-old excited about it too!
As a mom and a Seafood Nutrition Partnership Indianapolis Coalition member, I want to debunk the myth that children won’t like seafood. I encourage you to try these three ways to increase your child’s interest in seafood:
1. Exposure. Don’t give up if your child doesn’t seem interested in seafood when you first introduce it. Research shows it can take 12-15 tries before a child accepts any new food. And try mixing it up! Instead of offering one seafood option like salmon, try shrimp or tuna to add variety. Also, look for different ways to prepare seafood. Try grilling shrimp, including fish in tacos or making fish cakes.
2. Be a Positive Role Model. Kids look up to us as parents and notice everything - from what we say to what we don’t say. This includes watching the foods we eat. If we are eating and enjoying seafood, our children are more likely to eat and enjoy seafood too!
3. Include Kids in the Kitchen. When making seafood dishes – or any food – invite your child to join you in the preparation. The more involved they are in the preparation, the more likely they will be to eat the food. And just think how proud they will be when they see their work on the kitchen table!
One of our current favorite family seafood recipes is this Fresh & Light Tuna salad. My toddler always asks for seconds!
Fresh & Light Tuna Salad
2-5.8 oz. cans/pouches tuna in water
1 carrot, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
½ small red onion, finely diced
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons orange or lemon juice
½ teaspoon lemon or orange zest
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ - 1 tablespoon honey
¼ cup chopped basil
1 ½ teaspoons white wine vinegar or white vinegar
Mix together tuna, carrots, celery, and onion.
Whisk together the remaining ingredients and toss on tuna mixture.
Approximate nutrition information per serving: Calories: 247, Fat: 14.5g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Carbohydrates: 8.5g, Fiber: 0.8g, Protein: 22g, Sodium: 507mg.
Adapted from: Target to Table: Healthy and Delicious Meals One Superfood at a Time by Kristen Johnson and Matt Johnson.
Serve with: Bed of greens (or extra carrots and celery if your child is like mine!)
Whole wheat English Muffin or pita bread
For more seafood information and to take the Healthy Heart Pledge, visit seafoodnutrition.org/ind.
Sponsored post from Seafood Nutrition Partnership Indianapolis