Seafood Sets Kids Up for a Lifetime of Health
Seafood is a great source of protein, which helps the body repair and make new cells. This is especially important during childhood and adolescence, when a child is growing a lot. Protein also helps a child’s body produce antibodies that help battle infections. Children would be much more susceptible to serious diseases without essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein).i
Seafood Benefits for Children
- Promotes Healthy Eating Habits
- Provides Essential Nutrients for Growth
When Do I Start Feeding My Child Fish?
Pediatricians recommend introducing solid foods, including seafood, into a child’s diet around 4-6 months. While some may suggest certain parents wait until after the first year of life to give fish, eggs, peanuts and other common allergens to a child, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that there is no need to delay the introduction of these foods past 4-6 months. The AAP suggests giving your baby one new food at a time, and waiting a few days to watch for any allergic reactions before introducing another.ii
Only 10% of Children in the U.S. Eat Enough Seafood
The World Health Organization states that healthy eating habits, including fish early on, help create good habits later in life. The Dietary Guidelines say children should eat two servings of seafood each week in age-appropriate portions to match their calorie needs.
To get your kids to go fish, try these easy tips:
- Make-over Mom and Dad's Mealtime Mind-set
- Teach your kids to look forward to eating, to anticipate with pleasure the meal to come. Tell them how much they are going to love their food, as opposed to asking questions like "do you like that?"
- Make one Meal
- For lunches and dinners, make one tasty meal for everyone to eat. This saves time and money while ensuring kids get the same flavorful, wholesome meal as adults.
- Entice Tots' Taste Buds
- Use new spices and ingredients to help develop your child's palate. Working new flavors in to a familiar food – like capers in to canned tuna – is a good way to introduce an exciting taste.
Get tasty, quick seafood recipes the whole family will love here.
Think beyond lunch and dinner to meet the goal of seafood twice a week. Whip up a bowl of tuna salad as a dip with whole-grain crackers for an afterschool snack, for example.
i American Academy of Pediatrics. Making Healthy Food Choices. Available at: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/gradeschool/nutrition/pages/Making-Healthy-Food-Choices.aspx. Accessed February 24, 2012.
ii American Academy of Pediatrics. Switching To Solid Foods. Available at: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/feeding-nutrition/Pages/Switching-To-Solid-Foods.aspx. Accessed February 24, 2012.