4 ways to get your kid eating fish
“I HATE fish.”
– Every kid ever
If you have trouble getting your kid to eat anything but frozen fish sticks you are not alone. I know for a fact, I gave my mom real grief about fish!
The truth is, fish is insanely beneficial for growing brains. It’s full of healthy fat and protein and when presented to kids in the right context, they might give it a shot!
Getting fish ‘on the table’
1. Make the benefits of fish RELATE to your child’s aspirations. If they are an athlete, explain that fat and protein in fish is exactly what their muscles need to recover and grow and that strong muscles translate to sports performance. If your child is focused on school, talk about how fish is FULL of brain healthy fats (EPA and DHA) and how fish truly can help them retain information and GROW their brains power! Whatever the interest of the child, the benefits from fish support a healthy body and mind, both of which can support any goal…even video game playing!
2. Introduce fish in kid friendly ways, even if its homemade fish sticks! The fact of the matter is that most anything you make at home will be healthier than store-bought. Just go easy on the frying! Simply changing the shape or texture of fish can make a world of difference. So when you kid shouts “I hate fish!”, you can respond “You just haven’t had the right kind yet”. I’ll save you some time and suggest you avoid FISHY fishes like salmon, catfish, rockfish and sardines and opt for more nuetral swimmers like flounder and tilapia!
PROTIP – Squeezing an entire lemon over your fish before it hits the pan (or the oven) kills fish smell and doesn’t leave you puckering up!
3. Have kids help prepare the fish. Kids are usually more willing to try something they help make. The confidence that comes with creating something in the kitchen increases the likelihood your child will want to test their masterpiece! So make them a part of the process by explaining this experiment, picking the recipe together and cooking as a family!
4. Go to a real seafood market and take the opportunity to teach your child about the process involved in getting a fish to your table. Point out on a map where the fish is from, look up the type of boat used to catch it, handle the raw fish and gain respect for the journey it took to get to you!
The omega 3 fatty acids in fish, DHA in particular is essential for developing the eyes and brain of children before and after birth
The same omega 3 fatty acids could also prevent depression, increase grey matter in the brain and reduce instances of type 1 diabetes in children
Some studies show that children who eat fish have a lower risk for developing asthma
Fish is high in vitamin D which can; improve sleep quality. Vitamin D acts as a steroid in the body, helping protect against disease and fighting illness. Some research shows that 40% of the population is deficient in vitamin D. 4oz of cooked salmon provides you with 100% of the daily requirement for this super vitamin
The odds are in your favor if you get your kids to change the way they think about fish. Rather than something “gross” and “slimy” on their plate, fish becomes a means of achieving something; whether it be culinary skills or a home run swing or a field trip, fish can become part of the answer.
If you “can’t cook”, please stop making excuses! No one can cook like the photos we gawk at on the internet. Food is fuel, not fashion. If your recipe turns out to look as good as it tastes, awesome! If it looks pre-chewed…so what, I bet it tastes just fine. Step outside the comfort zone, be brave and learn a new skill.
If “plan A” doesn’t work, don’t worry there are 25 more letters in the alphabet!
As always, for more tips and tricks on how to make healthy food part of your kids lifestyle check out BOOST BASICS, the 15 lesson course I put together to teach kids about exercise, nutriton and a little mindfulness!