Trying to convince a child to enjoy seafood can be like trying to teach a fish to… tango. Children are notoriously picky, making meal planning difficult when the parents are craving seafood. Meanwhile, to make the conundrum worse, seafood is an excellent source of Omega-3's, DHA, and other fatty acids crucial for children's developing nervous system, brain, and vision. In fact, children should eat seafood once or twice weekly to get the nutrition boost.
If your child is the selective type, FultonFishMarket.com has your back. We've performed a full investigation into why many kids don't like seafood, strategies to develop their palates, and a few kid friendly seafood recipes to get you started. You'll find all the fresh seafood you need here on our site, with delivery right to your door.
Here are a few common reasons kids might not like seafood, along with strategies parents can use to change their minds:
Studies show that many kids won’t try a food until they’ve seen it at least 15 times.
Strategy: To make your life easier, start introducing seafood early. Prepare and cook your own seafood in front of the kids so it is perceived as a normal dinner item.
Many children are content with a handful of familiar foods and resistant to trying new ones.
Strategy: If you're adventurous, try adding some mild seafood to a child's favorite food, like Mac and Cheese. (Check out our list of kid friendly seafood options below). Your child might like the addition, if it’s noticed at all. If your child dislikes the added seafood, at least he or she is unlikely to “throw the baby out with the bathwater” and reject plain Mac and Cheese altogether, since it was a favorite dish from the start.
Alternate strategy: If you err on the side of caution and your child can handle skewers, alternating a familiar food with seafood on a skewer. While your child will know a suspicious new food has been introduced, he or she can taste the seafood separately (ie. “not touching” the familiar food), while learning to associate seafood with tasty meals.
When kids are unengaged from the cooking process, it is easier for them to view the foods they're served as foreign, or as "grown up foods."
Strategy: Have the children help prepare kid-friendly seafood recipes -- by peeling shrimp, for example. They'll appreciate the novelty and feel a sense of ownership over the finished product.
Small children are easily bored at the dinner table and may "transfer" their boredom to the food itself.
Strategy: For small children, try using plates and utensils decorated with seafood. Worth a shot!
The following list of kid friendly seafoods will give you a good start for your family. Flavor profiles will help with your menu planning.
Salmon: Full-flavored, high-fat fish; firm texture; deep red in color
Trout: Mild, nutty flavor; delicate texture; white, pink, or orange in color
Shrimp: Mild, nutty flavor; plum, firm in texture; pink in color
Catfish: Mild, sweet flavor; moist, dense texture; white-to-pinkish in color
Crab: Sweet, salty flavor; tender texture; red in color
Scallops: Delicate, sweet flavor; soft, fleshly texture; grayish-white to pink in color
Cod: Lean, mild flavor; firm-but-tender texture; white in color
Flounder: Mild, sweet flavor; flaky texture; white in color
Tilapia: Mild, sweet flavor; firm-but-flaky texture; white in color
Sardines: Robust, oilier flavor; firm texture; white in color
Easy DIY Fish Tacos*
Note: You can use any type of kid friendly seafood for this recipe.
Bowls for condiments
1 pound tilapia, or any mild fish
⅓ of a cabbage (or lettuce), shredded
1 lime, squeezed for fresh lime juice
8 corn tortillas
1 tsp salt
1 pinch salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp chili powder
Condiments as desired. Try diced avocado, salsa, sour cream, and chopped cilantro.
- Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
- In the small bowl, combine the garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, teaspoon of salt, and pepper.
- Sprinkle the spice mixture on each side of the tilapia.
- Spray a sheet of foil with cooking spray. Then, place the foil on the grill, oiled-side up. Place the tilapia on the foil uncovered.
- Grill the tilapia until it is cooked through and flakey (about 10 minutes).
- While the fish is cooking:
- Place the cabbage or lettuce in the medium bowl and toss with the lime juice, pinch of salt, and pepper.
- Just before the fish is done cooking, heat each tortilla on the grill for about 30 seconds on each side.
- Serve family-style with the condiments of your choice.
Oven-Fried Fish Nuggets*
Note: You can use any type of kid-friendly fish for this recipe.
Three small bowls
1 pound fresh cod fillets, cut into "fish-stick-sized" strips
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup bread crumbs
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
½ cup flour
½ tsp each garlic powder, black pepper, and paprika
¼ tsp salt
Lemon wedges or tartar sauce Ketchup
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Line the baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat lightly with cooking spray.
- In the first bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, cheese, and seasonings. Set aside.
- In the second bowl, beat the eggs thoroughly. Set aside.
- In the third bowl, add the flour.
- Dip each cod strip in each bowl, in this order: first with the flour, second with the egg, and third with the breadcrumb mixture.
- Place the coated cod strips on the baking pan. Then, spray the cod lightly with cooking spray so that, when you turn the strips halfway through cooking, they don't stick to the foil.
- Bake the fish sticks until golden brown (about 15 minutes), turning the cod over halfway through.
- Serve with tartar sauce and lemon ketchup and enjoy!
FultonFishMarket.com delivers fresh, sustainably-produced fish direct to your door. Check out our online selection, and order delicious seafood for your next occasion.