How To Feed Your Kids Seafood The Safe And Healthy Way

Ally Villar
·4-min read

Fish and shellfish are a great addition to your child’s diet! They can provide them with much-needed nutrients and high-quality protein. Adding them into your child’s meals can also give them a good amount of healthy vitamins and minerals.

But just as beneficial they are to your little one’s growth and development, there are some types of fish that are also best avoided. Especially since eating too much seafood can expose your child to high levels of mercury.

If your child is a big seafood lover, know more about the healthiest fish for kids to eat through these five simple safety tips.

What Is The Healthiest Fish For Kids To Eat

Image source: iStock

1. Best to swim away from large predator fishies

Large predator fish like sharks, swordfish, king mackerel and so on actually contain high levels of toxic chemicals and heavy metals from the prey they consume. Smaller fish that they eat already absorb harmful chemicals on their own which they store in their fatty tissues. So when the large fishies get to them, the ones who get the biggest load of chemicals are those higher up the food chain which are – well, us.

These kinds of fish also have the highest levels of mercury as warned by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) which brings us to our next recommendation.

Image source: iStock

2. The less mercury, the better

Nearly all fish and shellfish have traces of mercury. But some seafood contains too much of it and can be harmful to young kids and even unborn babies.

This is why it’s advised that pregnant women, breastfeeding mums and kids consume fish that are lower on the mercury scale. Some of the best choices according to FDA are anchovies, sardines, herring and tilapia.

It’s important that you maintain and lessen the amount of mercury in your children’s diets as they are not only poisonous but too much methylmercury has also been found to affect a child’s memory, language as well as visual skills.

what is the healthiest fish to eat
what is the healthiest fish to eat

Image source: iStock

3. Keep your options open

Just like with any of their other meals, it would be best to prepare a variety of seafood each time you feed them fish. Mixing it up with different types of fish every now and then can not only be a nutritional benefit but also lessens the risk of them getting overexposed to just one contaminant.

Any way you prepare fish can be safe for your child. But it can help greatly for them to avoid contaminants in the fish’s fat if you:

  • Remove the skin

  • Take off the fat just underneath the skin

  • Bake or broil the fish

what is the healthiest fish to eat
what is the healthiest fish to eat

Image source: iStock

4. Raw fish is a big no-no!

Sushi may be delicious when you’re an adult, but with your kiddo’s tummy is still maturing it’s best to keep them away from any raw fish. While you may prepare these seafood dishes for safe consumption, it’s still better to refrain your kids from eating them.

According to HealthyChildren.org, there have also been rare cases where eating raw fish can put not only your child but you as well at the risk of infections including Hepatitis A and parasites. So whether fish or any type of food, it is highly recommended that they only eat what is completely cooked.

what is the healthiest fish to eat
what is the healthiest fish to eat

Image source: iStock

5. Be extra careful with the fish you buy

Since serving your child seafood starts with what type of fish you shop for, you can never be too careful when you buy them. It would be great to pick up the habit of checking the species of the fish you wish to purchase and clarify how it was caught.

This can help greatly in keeping you from getting the wrong fish. And, lets you know exactly what you’re feeding your child.

The same goes for when you’re bringing home fish you caught yourself. Educate yourself on local advisories regarding contaminants or risks.

Quick Age-By-Age Guide On How Much Fish Your Child Should Eat

It would also help to keep in mind the recommended amount of fish a child should consume for every serving on average:

  • 2 to 3-years-old: 1 ounce

  • 4 to 7-years-old: 2 ounces

  • 8 to 10-years-old: 3 ounces

  • 11-years-old and above: 4 ounces

These safety reminders are not only for kids but for adults as well. Practice safer and cleaner consumption when preparing meals for yourself and your family. Especially for your kids who need all the food and nutrition to grow up healthy and happy.

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