If your family is like most, chances are they’re not eating enough seafood. The United States Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends families eat an average of 2-3 servings (8-12oz.) of seafood weekly for good health. According to a recent survey, women with children say they would serve their families more meals with seafood, if they could find a recipe their family would eat. Others say they don’t make seafood often for their family, because they have difficulty fitting it into their food budget.
Respected Registered Dietitian, health coach and author, Tina Ruggiero, says incorporating seafood into your weekly menus can be easier and more affordable than you think. (For more information about Tina Ruggiero, check out her website Gourmet Nutritionist.) Here are just a few tips to get you started:
Think outside the dinner plate
We all know that seafood is a delicious entrée, but it can also be a satisfying and nutritious snack! Consider a tuna fish or salmon wrap using the canned variety and incorporating chopped apples, grated cheddar cheese and green leaf lettuce. You can also add dried cranberries and baby greens to make this delicious salad even tastier!
Don’t redo the menu
Beef burgers can become tuna burgers and chicken quesadillas can become canned tuna quesadillas. You can grill whole fish or fillets instead of beef. Keep an eye out for sales of frozen cod and halibut in your grocer’s freezer and stock up! I recently found 5 pound bags of pollock at the meat market for just under $10. Seafood can be tossed with pasta for a change of pace, and cooked salmon can be scrambled into eggs instead of using ham (the kids will love it)!
Tempt tiny taste buds!
While experts recommend introducing fish after your child’s first birthday, that is typical only in the United States. In Scandinavia and Asia, babies try fish before meat or chicken. If you have no family history of seafood allergies and your 10- or 11-month old has a good appetite and is curious about food, you may consider introducing fish. Cod, halibut and flounder are each mild-flavored and good choices. Make sure the fish is free from bones, and serve it with a touch of butter and chopped parsley for a delicious baby dinner.
Also, two final tips for pregnant and nursing moms – the omega 3 fatty acids in seafood are critical for proper fetal growth and development, especially for eye and brain development. And if you’re an expectant mommy, recent research shows omega-3 fatty acids may reduce pre-term labor, so it’s especially important to eat fish during this important time in your life.
My goal this year is to add one fish dish to our menu every week. It’s one step on our road to a healthier 2012. Personally, I’ve always been intimidated by cooking with fish, so we’ll have a fun time seeing how it turns out!
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