With a new school year underway, it's important for parents to be prepared and help their children start forming good habits because most children function better on a routine. They wake up every day at a certain time, they practice the same sports and eat nutritious, fresh foods that fuel their bodies.
One healthy option for kids is seafood. When kids eat at least two servings of seafood each week, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, they can receive big benefits. Fish and shellfish supply nutrients such as vitamins B and D, choline and essential omega-3 fatty acids, which are all needed for strong bones, brain development, healthy immune systems and cardiovascular systems. In fact, research published in "Acta Paediatrica" shows an association between kids who eat fish at least once a week and better grades.
With a new routine in place, it can sometimes be hard for parents to keep up, but with fast-cooking seafood like thin fish fillets and shrimp, a healthy dinner can be ready in minutes. However, since some kids can be picky eaters, consider these tips from Joe Urban, director of food and nutrition services for Greenville County Schools, to add seafood to your family's table.
Start creating meals featuring seafood early in their lives, as children who are exposed to seafood at an early age may develop a fondness for the cuisine.
Introduce them to mild varieties such as cod, pollock and haddock, then have them try other species as they become accustomed to the taste.
Seafood can be substituted in nearly any dish that normally calls for chicken, beef, pork or other proteins. Serving seafood in familiar dishes like tacos, enchiladas, soups, salads, burgers and baked dishes can be a beneficial way for kids to eat more seafood.
Canned seafoods like tuna and salmon make for quick, budget-friendly options when time is short, plus they can be mixed in with a variety of recipes.
Hearty Salmon Skewers over Brown Rice
1 pound salmon, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste
paprika, to taste
1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup pineapple, cubed
1/2 cup canola oil
2 cups cooked brown rice
Coat salmon with kosher salt, freshly ground pepper and paprika, to taste. Slide piece of salmon onto skewer, followed by tomato and then pineapple. Repeat three times on each skewer, or until skewer is full.
In large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1/2 cup canola oil 1 minute.
Place skewers in pan and turn every 2 minutes per side. Squeeze lemon on skewers while cooking.
To serve, place 1/2 cup rice on each plate and two skewers on top. Squeeze hint of lemon over each serving, if desired.
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