Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Why is Fish Good for Toddlers?

Healthy fish is a delicious lean source of protein that both my girls love. This is my go to meal since I am guaranteed to have 2 empty plates by the end of dinner. I try to serve a variety of fish that is low in mercury 2 to 3 times a week. Grilling, boiling or baking fish reduces fat and contaminants. Frying fish, although tasty, just adds unnecessary fat and calories.

A child's health and behavior is affected by what they eat. Fish is an important part of a toddlers diet and chalk full of essential nutrients. It is the richest source of DHA, the healthiest type of omega-3 fatty acid, low in saturated fat and high in protein, vitamin D, and many of the B vitamins.

Here is a list of fish that is safe to serve to toddlers that are low in fat, pollutants and mercury:
  • Pollack (the stuff of fish sticks)
  • Wild Alaskan salmon (coho, chum, pink; fillets or canned)
  • Tilapia
  • Canned chunk-light tuna (which comes from smaller skipjack tuna and therefore has considerably less mercury than albacore)
  • Farmed bay scallops (Keep in mind that many people are allergic to shellfish, so if allergies run in your family, talk with your pediatrician about whether you should skip shellfish altogether.
  • Farmed blue mussels
  • Farmed crayfish
  • Shrimp (Northern US and Canadian)
For a more extensive list of healthy fish and not-so-healthy fish, check out www.kidsafeseafood.org.

Here are a few benefits to including fish in your toddlers diet:

Improved cognitive development
Studies suggest that infants who receive DHA-enriched formula experience improved cognitive development. A 2003 study in the journal of Pediatrics, found that mothers who took omega-3 supplements during pregnancy and beyond increase their children's cognitive abilities. In 2005, another study reveals that older children who were given omega-3 supplements show improved reading and spelling scores.

Improved vision
DHA has been shown to help sharpen vision.

Increased level of 'happy hormone'
Research has shown that adults who consume more omega-3's have a lower rate of mood disorders and that women who eat fish high in these fatty acids during pregnancy suffer less postpartum depression. Omega-3's may act in the brain to raise levels of "happy" hormones such as dopamine and serotonin, the neurotransmitters in the brain that are also targeted by some prescription antidepressants.

Enhanced immunity
In a study, Danish toddlers who consumed formula supplemented with fish oil had much higher levels of a protein that's key to healthy immune function than those who drank plain formula or cow's milk.

Decreased Inflammation from eczema
Omega-3's can decrease inflammation in all parts of the body, including the skin. According to a Swedish study, a little salmon or chunk-light tuna to your baby before 9 months may actually help to protect them from developing the allergic skin condition.

Toddler servings are about a quarter of a "normal" adult serving, so count on one to three ounces of fish per serving, depending on your child’s age. Serve and Enjoy!

SSMom

4 comments:

  1. Hi, I've nominated your blog for the Liebster Award! Please visit http://simplyathomemom.com/?p=161 for more details. Congrats!

    Jennifer
    http://simplyathomemom.com

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    1. Thanks Jen! Such a great way to connect with other new bloggers!

      SSMom

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  2. I agree! Good thing my son loves fish (actually, he loves ALL food!) because I feed it to him at least 3-4 times a week! I think it's important for parents to know this info!

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    1. Thanks! Fish is an important part of a childs diet but many parents are hesitant in including it in their diet. But with all of its benefits its one of those things that should be made a priority in including in the kiddies weekly meals.

      SSMom

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