Three Tips to Get Picky Eaters to Go Fish

Nancy Piho, Author of "My Two-Year-Old Eats Octopus: Raising Children Who Love to Eat Everything" (Bull Publishing)

Seafood is such a perfect food for kids, and yet it is something that so many children don't eat, often only because their parents think that they won't. Somewhere along the way, the joy of introducing our children to their first foods has turned into an exercise in dumbing down instead of exploring the entire range of foods we eat as families. That can lead to meals lacking in variety, flavor, and nutrition.

The omega-3, DHA, is a special kind of healthy fat that plays an important role in brain development. Fish and shellfish like salmon, canned tuna, crab, clams, and scallops are not only the best source, they are practically the only whole food source of omega-3 DHA. A variety of seafood at least twice a week usually meets omega-3 goals.

In addition, eating seafood is one of the best ways young children can begin to expand their palates and try a wide variety of foods. Seafood offers so much diversity; after all, clams do not taste like salmon does not taste like oysters do not taste like halibut does not taste like crab do not taste like shrimp! As the parent of two little boys with curious appetites, I suggest the following ideas to set your kids up for seafood success:

  1. 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?"

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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