Hello, Seafoodie Parents-
Let’s talk tiny tots and fishy feasts!
We’re big fans of starting the seafood celebration early in life. Because seafood provides many beneficial nutrients, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) encourages parents and caregivers to begin feeding properly cooked fish to babies as soon as they begin eating table foods. Worried about food allergies? According to the AAP, there is no evidence that delaying the introduction of fish will prevent food allergies and that an early introduction to babies and toddlers may actually help prevent certain allergic diseases, such as asthma, eczema and allergic rhinitis. However, we advise first talking to your pediatrician or other licensed healthcare provider if you have a family history of allergies or other concerns.
Fun fact: Did you know that more than half of a baby’s eyes and half of their brain are made up of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA? It’s true! And seafood is the premiere food source of omega-3s DHA and EPA. Plus, seafood provides other nutrients–like protein, vitamin D, vitamin A and selenium–which tend to be low in many children’s diets.
Now, let’s talk portion sizes.Experts recommend that kids younger than 6 years old should aim to eat about 3 to 5 ounces of seafood per week as part of a healthy diet. Once your kiddo reaches age 6 to 8, the recommendation increases to around 4 to 6 ounces per week. Just remember to flake or chop that fish into bite-sized pieces so little seafoodies can easily grab, swallow and enjoy!
Introducing new foods to kids can sometimes feel like riding a rollercoaster—lots of ups and downs! The key here? Serious persistence and mixing the familiar with the new. Even if your little one tosses more of a new food on the floor than they consume, or switches from loving it one day to rejecting it the next, keep offering it up. It might take about 10 (or many more!) tries before they give it a thumbs-up. Taste buds are always changing along with their expanding minds, too!
Here are a few more of our favorite tips for introducing and incorporating fish into your kids’ diet.
Start small: Introduce plain pouched or canned tuna and salmon or small cooked salmon (baby) finger-sized pieces to babies and toddlers who are just beginning solid foods.
Dip and munch: For little ones who enjoy gripping and dipping, try serving lightly breaded and baked fish sticks alongside sweet honey-mustard or mild BBQ dip. Using their favorite dipping sauce might encourage them to try something new!
Add to favorites: Fold canned or pouched tuna, salmon or leftover cooked fish, into kid-favorite dishes like mac ‘n’ cheese, tacos or quesadillas. Kids are more likely to try (and enjoy) a new food if it is introduced alongside or in an already-favorite food.
Engage and involve: When dealing with a challenging eater, involve them in the process! Research shows that when kids help with shopping and cooking, they’re more likely to eat the final product.
To get your family started on your seafood journey, we’ve rounded up some of our little Seafoodies’ most-requested meals below, but you can also check out our blog post here (LINK HERE) for more inspiration. These recipes are all kid-tested, parent-approved and designed to encourage healthy eating habits that will last for life!
We hope you–and your kiddos–enjoy!!
Homemade fish sticks are awesome with just a squeeze of lemon, but if your little Seafoodies prefer to dip them in tartar or cocktail sauce, we’re not going to argue with that! Be warned—adults will gobble these up, too.
A light breading on tilapia is a great way to get kids acquainted with seafood! This recipe can also be modified by substituting any other whitefish you have at hand.
This rendition of the classic tuna casserole you grew up with might surprise you with its low-fat content. Don’t forget the fresh breadcrumbs that toast to perfection right on top!
Parents of fussy eaters can rest easy knowing that these salmon nuggets are a great way to introduce new foods that still look like old favorites.
You are going to have to keep canned or pouched tuna well-stocked in your pantry after your children get a taste of this fun pasta dish!
When it’s just “one of those days,” turn to this simple sheet-pan meal for a nourishing dinner that’s low effort, but tastes fabulous!
Topped with smoked salmon, loaded with veggies, two cheeses and fresh basil—this recipe is everything your family loves, all wrapped up in a breakfast-friendly pizza package!
A shrimp pasta recipe that tastes delicious and is super easy to prepare? It’s a win-win for everyone. Both little ones and parents approve of this fork-twirling favorite!
A household favorite just got a little healthier with our wholesome shrimp and pesto take on the classic pizza pie.
It’s true that fried foods tend to be higher in saturated fat and calories (and messy to cook at home). Not so with an Air Fryer! We bet this crispy, crunchy shrimp will become a go-to in no time.
Mac ‘n cheese has kept its place as a time-honored family staple for good reason. Our Instant Pot crab version only amplifies the goodness by adding in some extra protein and making it easier to cook!
Gluten-free kiddos—this one’s for you! These crunchy crab cakes are tasty and versatile, too. The recipe produces four entrée-sized portions but can be divided into smaller, snack patties— perfect for little hands.
These adorable little crab sandwiches are almost too cute to eat. Notice we said “almost”!
Lobster might sound luxurious for a child, but this comforting bisque is a great way to introduce new flavors to growing taste buds, while still satisfying your own!
Creamy, soft and delicious—clam chowder is also a great source of magnesium, potassium and inflammation-fighting omega-3s.