By Henry Gould – May 21st, 2019
Despite being one of the best sources of protein for humans to eat, it seems US children (and perhaps Canadian children too) are not eating nearly as much seafood as previous generations.
According to a recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, US children’s seafood consumption has been declining each year since 2007, hovering around levels not seen since the 1980’s. That’s not good, as all types of seafood are generally low in saturated fat, high in protein, and contain a lot of essential vitamins and nutrients that aren’t available in meat or plants.
Many people have negative impressions of seafood that often times are developed as children, having been made to eat smoked mussels from a can or some less than fresh Tilapia. I get it; bad seafood is really, really bad, and that can lead you to believe all seafood smells like low-tide.
Obviously seafood is an incredibly broad term, and could include swimming fish (salmon, tuna, cod, flounder), shellfish (crabs, lobsters, prawns) or filter feeding molluscs (oysters, clams, squid, octopus).
If you’re a parent of a kid who won’t eat seafood, or just someone who is usually averse to eating seafood, below are some ideas to help get you eating more.
When In Doubt; Fry!
Let’s be honest, frying makes everything taste better, and if it’s the difference between eating seafood and not eating it, I say go for it. Simply coating a piece of fish in seasoned flour (or corn flour) and frying in olive oil is a perfectly healthy way of eating fish. Remember, meat and fish aren’t sponges, so unless it’s coated in a heavy batter you’re not actually eating that much oil. And if you fry in a healthy fat like olive oil, it’s win-win.
Expand Your Horizons
Salmon and prawns are easy and familiar, but why not clams? They’re delicious, affordable, and unbelievably easy to cook. A 3oz serving of clams contains 22g of protein, in addition to other essential nutrients like iron which many people don’t get enough of.
Google clam recipes and you’ll have tons of options, but even something simple like frying some onions and garlic in a pot with bacon, then adding the clams, allowing to steam, and serving with chopped parsley is delicious.
In terms of new horizons, look out for different types of rockfish at local fish stores as many will bring in things other than generic cod. These are often cheaper than lingcod or black cod (i.e. Sablefish) and are an easy introduction to seafood for someone not used to seafood.
Get Ideas From Restaurants
I love to cook, but often come up blank when I’m in the grocery store figuring out what to cook for dinner. Solution? Go to the website of your favorite restaurant and look at their menu for inspiration. With seafood especially, I find looking at the menus of Japanese restaurants or Izakayas gives me great ideas for cooking seafood. After all, Japan is more or less the reigning champ when it comes to cooking (and / or not cooking…) anything from the ocean.
Found a dish you love at your local sushi bar? Google “Miso glazed Sablefish” you will find more results than you could ever hope to cook.