Here’s How You Get Kids to Eat More Fish!

Believe it or not, there are easier ways to get your kids to eat fish than relying on bribes … don’t get me wrong, I’m all in favor of a good bribe every now and then, but if you follow these four tips, you’ll be serving seafood in your home (without any push back) at least twice a week 😉 Oh, and then you won’t wonder how that hot dog ended up on the grill plate!

  1. If this is the first or second time introducing your kids to seafood, serve one of the following dishes: Parmesan-crusted salmon (because it’s an easy thing to make and it will remind them of baked chicken) OR from the grocer’s freezer … coconut shrimp with dipping sauce of choice (yes, you can buy frozen shrimp already prepped to cook in the oven)
  2. Plan meals in advance, and talk up the sides … serve cod with homemade french fries; grilled salmon with fettuccine alfredo; baked halibut with scalloped potatoes or steamed rice. And don’t forget the fresh berries with whip cream.
  3. When planning a dinner with seafood as your main protein (instead of poultry or pork or beef), keep it simple. Don’t try some crazy recipe with tomato sauce or something stuffed with spinach. Just keep it simple and chance are, they’ll love it.
  4. And remember to be a good role model. If you eat it, chances are they will too.

“Being a good role model is so important … parents should introduce seafood early, in ways that seafood itself isn’t put on trial … it takes the trepidation away.” ~ Barton Seaver

NOTE: This is a repost/follow up to a piece I wrote last year, highlighting an Irish chef who’s determined to bring seafood to the plates, and mouths, of more youngsters. Below, is the original article.

Head chef and owner of Michael’s—a Dublin, Ireland eatery focused on providing customers with fresh, sustainable seafood “directly from the boats”—is on a mission to get kids eating more seafood. Known to his patrons simply as Gaz, the restaurateur didn’t grow up eating seafood, nor did he always have the fondness for seafood that he does now.

“I didn’t appreciate the seafood Ireland had until we moved to Austria—it was only when living in landlocked Austria that I realized how lucky we are,” he said.

Upon his return to Ireland, he said he started noticing how many kids wouldn’t try fish.

“I used to go to the tables and try to convince (or bribe) them to try seafood and if they didn’t like it, I would cook them whatever they wanted … it worked.” And eventually, he says kids progressed from pleading for nuggets to coming in and asking, “what’s best today the squid or the mussels.”

And it was the younger generation’s newfound interest in seafood, that got Gaz geared up to launch his Seafood September menu—a special seafood-based menu, free to kids 12 and under.

As for his culinary skills, he says they were “barren” in the early days.

“It was turkey twizzlers and chip sandwiches,” says the chef who’s been featured in Food & Wine magazine not once, but twice. “I definitely did it the hard way, going from better restaurant to better restaurant,” he said. “My Chart House days were the turning point for my love of seafood … I was very lucky to work with the Chart House gang and seeing the fresh seafood for the first time was eye opening.”

And, says Gaz, it’s been a strong theme in his cooking ever since.

Coming up NEXT on the blog … more heart-healthy adventures in honor of American Heart Month.

Want more from The Midwest Mermaid? Be sure to follow along here, and on Instagram for all the latest in seafood news and chews | @shaunanosler

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DISCLAIMER: I’m a writer and an editor. And I try my best to make sure every post is articulate and free from errors. However, being that I edit my own work—and it’s next to impossible to properly edit your own work—I admit, occasionally there may be an error or two I miss. But doing so doesn’t make me an idiot so don’t be mean. Just smile, pat yourself on the back for finding an error and be glad you’re not the only one who makes mistakes sometimes … yes, even mermaids slip up every now and then. xoxox

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Hey there. I’m Shauna—a West Coast transplant in the landlocked state of Indiana … when I moved here I missed the beaches, the mountains, the desert, the rivers … and it took me a while to find places nearby that paralleled my old stomping grounds. BUT. Now that I’ve lived here for over 15 years, I’ve had time to explore the region and you know what? It’s amazing. There’s so much to do—from skiing in northern Michigan to relaxing lakeside in southern Kentucky to rocking the nightlife in one of the many metropolitan areas. And I love it here. I really do. BUT. I do miss the sea … and the sand and the rush of the waves … the smell of seawater … even the sting of too much sun after a day spent lollygagging at the beach. And I miss the constant supply of seafood and shellfish and riverfish? About that … since I’ve moved to the Midwest I’ve noticed that a lot of people here don’t consider fish that come from the river seafood … I’m not sure I agree, but hence the new word I’ve created, “riverfish” … time will tell if Webster picks it up ; ) So this little blog is my way of bringing a little bit of sea life (or is it sealife?) to the Midwest. Here you’ll find all kinds of information … some that you might find more useful than others—like where to find the best seafood (and riverfish) in the Midwest. And some, you might just find amusing … or not. Either way, and if nothing else, I hope you leave my little space here on the world wide web a little refreshed and maybe even a little inspired to bring a little bit of the ocean home with you. (Yes, I did use the word “little” four times in one sentence … it’s OK … mermaids like to repeat themselves.) Cheers! The Midwest Mermaid Oh, and if your curious, yes, I do actually write for a living … if you want to know about the organizations I work with and the publications where you can find my land legs, swim on over to the “Portfolio” tab … and thanks for visiting.

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