Fish provide an array of nutrients that are hard to find in other foods and are important for a child’s development—and incorporating it into their diet early (even during infancy) can have positive effects on their health for years to come. However, many parents struggle to feed their kids seafood, as children are often put off by the smell or texture.
That’s where we come in. Our goal is to help you get your kids hooked on fish, especially because having fish at least twice a week is a great way to stay healthy. Here are some of our favorite tips for making your kids fish fanatics.
Ease Them Into it With a Mild Fish
Certain varieties can have a very strong taste or smell, which can deter children from even trying a taste. Next time you serve your kids fish, try something white and mild, like Tilapia. It’s a great introduction to seafood for picky eaters because of its subtle taste and texture. Plus, it provides important nutrients like vitamin D.
It’s all About Presentation
Children are easily affected by the way that food looks. The more attractive and familiar it looks, the more they’re willing to eat it. Keep this in mind when choosing recipes and preparing your meals. Something like fish fingers, which look a lot like chicken tenders, are a great intro.
Don’t Dry it Out
Almost no one likes dry fish—especially not kids. When dry, it tends to be chewy and rubber-like. It’s best to poach or steam fish to make sure it retains a lot of moisture. This will make it a lot easier for your kids to chew and it’s also easier on you, as making any seafood this way is quick and simple.
Make It Saucy
Children love sauces and dips—ranch, ketchup, tartar sauce—which pair well with many seafood options. Not only do sauces make playing with your food more fun, but they’re also a great way to hide any tastes they might not love. Even if you think ranch on fish is weird, let it happen if your child likes it.
If you still need help getting fish on your child’s plate, try these tips and tricks during mealtime. We also put together a list of several delicious recipes that are sure to be crowd favorites:
- Tilapia Enchiladas: This is a twist on a classic that kids are guaranteed to enjoy. The dish is saucy, cheesy and full of flavor.
- Tilapia Fish Cakes with Tartar Sauce: These fried fish cakes are a hit with children and adults alike, and can be served alongside your family’s favorite vegetables.
- Bacon and Corn Chowder with Blackened Tilapia: This recipe takes some of your kid’s favorite foods, like bacon and potatoes, and puts them in a delicious creamy soup—and it disguises the fish perfectly. If you really want to make dinner fun, serve the chowder in bread bowls!
- Baked Parmesan-Crusted Tilapia with Creamy Tomato Basil Linguine: This pasta takes inspiration from a classic that kids already know and love. Bonus: it’s a quick, easy and inexpensive meal.
Next time you want to feed fish to your kids, just remember that the most important thing is patience. Not everything happens overnight—getting them to eat fish takes perseverance—but with these tips and recipes, your kids will be eating fish before you know it.
Ready to cook more fish for your family? Give any of these kid-friendly recipes a shot.
Photo Credits: kornnphoto / Shutterstock Inc., Pietruszka / Shutterstock Inc., Regal Springs