To help combat the child obesity problem that affects an estimated 9 million American children ages 6–19, the American Heart Association and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s new guidelines encourage children to eat more lean meats, such as fish.
The AHA is recommending children eat fish at least twice a week for its health benefits. The USDA also recommends that children eat more fish in the new “MyPyramid for Kids” – a supplement for children ages 6–11, to the food guide MyPyramid, released earlier this year.
MyPyramid is a personalized, interactive food guidance system based on the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans developed by a 13–member committee whose scientific research formed the basis for the recommendations. MyPyramid is catered to an individual’s nutritional needs, and the new supplement provides kids with a fun, interactive game and the proper tools to eat a healthier diet and lead a more active lifestyle.
In the AHA guidelines, canned light tuna, salmon and other fish are cited as being rich in heart–healthy omega–3 fatty acids. These fish are also a high in protein and are low–calorie and low–fat, when compared to other protein sources, such as beef.
“Fish such as canned tuna and salmon are a great source of omega–3, which helps with heart problems,” said Sharon McNerney, registered dietician. “These fish are also a great source of lean protein, which is essential to the diets of growing children.
“It is important to teach kids healthy eating habits at an early age to help them lead healthy lives today and in the future.”
Chicken of the Sea’s culinary expert, Lena Cutler, has come up with some fun ideas to get kids to enjoy eating fish in a healthy way:
- Substitute fish in your favorite recipes –try using tuna or salmon burgers or fish tacos.
- Add fish to enhance a dish that is already popular with kids –mac ‘n’ cheese, pizza, etc.
- Get kids involved with meal planning –let them choose recipes they like and find ways for them to help in the kitchen.
- Since most kids already like tuna sandwiches, try improving the health benefits by reducing the amount of mayonnaise used in the filling and/or substituting with light mayonnaise or light sour cream.
For seafood recipe ideas that you and your kids can make together, click here to visit the Mermaid’s Recipe Treasure Chest.