Registered Dietitian and blogger Jenny Shea Rawn, of My Cape Cod Kitchen, knows a thing or two about encouraging kids to eat more seafood. She has two small, seafood-loving kids, so we asked her to offer up some tips. Jenny says:
If your kiddo(s) is hesitant or refuses to try seafood, here are a few tips that have worked for us over the years in raising little seafoodies:
- Pair it with something familiar. Both of our kids love corn and tomatoes (and fresh rolls, of course), so this meal is already familiar to them.
- Don’t fear the flavor. Our kiddos don’t like spicy things, but they do like flavor. So, I add flavor without going overboard. One thing Lucca doesn’t like though is green things (herbs) in his food, so I remove any fresh herbs in his portion.
- Try it at lunch. Lucca is a lot more willing to try new foods at lunchtime. That’s how we got him to try canned tuna. I had tuna in my salad one day and he wanted to try it. I didn’t even have to offer it up. Dinnertime tends to be the witching hour, so it’s less likely he’ll try something new.
- Put it on YOUR plate. Or, in our case, Daddy’s. Lucca will eat whatever Daddy eats, so be a role model by eating the foods you want your child to eat.
- Add a dipping sauce. If you missed these Sweet and Sour Scallop Kabobs, they are a kid favorite and are served with a soy-ginger peanut butter dipping sauce. Tartar sauce, cocktail sauce, sour cream/Greek yogurt mixed with Old Bay Seasoning, citrus vinaigrette or even ranch dressing are great sauces to try with seafood. Or offer simply melted butter and lemon juice.
- Crust it and cake it. Add crunchy seasoned breadcrumbs, like in this case. Or put fish or shellfish into a cake – (like salmon patties or crab cakes).
- Don’t force it. If your kiddo doesn’t want to try it, move on and try another day. Often times it takes multiple exposures to a new flavor before a child begins to like it.