Get Your Children Hooked on Fish

March 10, 2009 9:48:27 AM PDT
Now that Lent is here, many moms are scrambling to find interesting and creative ways to encourage their children to eat fish. It is tradition for many families to give up meat and eat more fish on Fridays, beginning Ash Wednesday and continuing through Easter. Since few youngsters are crazy about fish, what are moms to do?Chef Laura Valcour of Chefs 4 a Day, who teaches children's cooking classes, suggests there are several ways to get youngsters hooked on fish. She recommends:

  • Serve them fish that isn't fishy tasting! Tilapia is inexpensive, easy to cook and has a mild taste that kids enjoy. Frozen tilapia is inexpensive and taste just as good as fresh fish. You can also try orange roughy or halibut.
  • Keep the "fish" word to a minimum. Some kids may not try fish because they assume they won't like it. Once they try it, they often learn to love it.
  • Involve kids in the preparation and cooking process, which will help get them excited about the meal.
  • Make the dish they love, just substitute fish. For example, instead of meat tacos, try fish tacos (using a very mild fish such as tilapia or white fish).
  • Use creative dips and sauces. Try ketchup, barbeque sauce and even honey.
  • Let them play with their food. Encourage them to help garnish, make smiley faces on the fish with herbs and olives and build towers with fish sticks. Also, put a marinade into a squeeze bottle and let kids decorate the fish.
  • Experiment with fun shapes and sizes. Use cookie cutters to create star, heart and diamond shapes.
  • Take your kids to the fish counter and ask them to select the one they'd like to try.
  • Lead by example, when your children see you enjoying fish, they will want to try it too.
  • Here are some kid-friendly recipes from Regal Springs Tilapia you can try at home:

    Tilapia Tacos
    Under the Sea Sliders (mini sandwiches) 8 servings
    Tangy Tartar
    My Favorite Fish
    Boat Bakers
    Sweet and Sour Barbecued Tilapia
    Honey Mustard Dressing

    For more kid-friendly recipes, visit Regal Springs Tilapia

    About Chef Laura Valcour of Chefs 4 A Day

    Chef Laura is a graduate of the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago, has over 25 years experience in restaurants, catering and cooking instruction. She has been awarded the Illinois State Board of Education "Award of Excellence" for her contribution to nutrition education by developing a hands-on cooking program for schools from grades Preschool-12th Grade. Her programs help to reinforce learning with her "hands-on" approach to curriculum requirements. Chef Laura is currently pursuing her Masters Degree in Holistic Nutrition.

    Clients include:
    School District 181 (Elm)
    School District 180 (Burr Ridge Middle School, Anne M. Jeans Elem. School)
    Hinsdale South High School
    Gower Elementary School
    Lemont School District #113A
    Adventist Hinsdale Hospital/LaGrange Memorial Hospital-"Heart Healthy Kids Program" with Cardiology Team, Women's Symposium
    Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana
    Whole Foods
    Burr Ridge "Market on the Green" Coordinator (Farmer's Market)
    Burr Ridge VillageCenter/Opus Mgmt-"Market on the Green"
    Right Fit Sport Wellness/Velocity Sports Performance