Though it is important to provide your child with a well balanced meal of carbohydrates, iron, minerals, vitamins and good fats, it is also necessary to include omega 3 fatty acids like EPA & DHA that is vital for building healthy cells in your child as well improve his cognition, vision and moods. Best sources of EPA and DHA comes from fish oil. Oily fishes like mackerel, salmon, sardines, cod liver, menhaden and herring are rich sources of EPA and DHA. Omega 3 fatty acids are vital for normal body functions like building-up brain cells, controlling blood clots and strengthening your child’s bones, teeth, eyes and give immunity from several ailments.
Omega 3 fatty acids are particularly important for pregnant mothers to develop their fetus in the womb itself.
Deficiency of omega 3 fatty acid can cause ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), aggressive behavior and dyslexia in children. Consumption of omega 3 rich food or supplements of omega 3 have shown a marked reduction in symptoms of anxiety levels, impulsiveness and depression in children.
An epidemiological research found that children who consumed fish had low hostility levels as opposed to children who did not. Regular intake of seafood improved lung function and enriched production of blood cells in the body.
If you are a vegan and particular about sticking to a vegan diet for your child, you can find omega 3 sources in nuts and oil like flax seeds, walnuts, soybean and canola oil.
If your child is fussy about eating fish, you can prepare savory snacks out of fish that will cover the fishy smell and entice your child to eat it.
½ kg pieces of any type of fish, 1 tbsp of gram flour, 2 tbsp unflavored yogurt, 1 tbsp garlic paste, 1 tbsp carom seeds, 2 tsp cumin seeds pwd, 2 tsp garam masala pwd/curry pwd, ½ white pepper pwd, 2 tsp cream, 2 tsp lemon juice and salt to taste.
In a bowl, mix all the ingredients together well. Marinate the fish pieces for an hour. Heat 2 tsp of oil on a skillet and shallow fry the fish pieces on both sides until crisp and golden brown. Eat hot with chutney (read how to improve your child's nutrition - part 3)
Fish fingers with sesame seeds
250 gms of boneless fish cut in finger shapes
(for marinating) - 1 tsp of pepper powder, 2 tsp ginger/garlic paste, 1 tbsp each of tomato sauce, soy sauce, chilli sauce and vinegar
1 egg white, 1 cup bread crumbs(cheese flavored – optional), 2 tbsp of flour, 1 tbsp white sesame seeds, salt as required and oil for deep frying. (note : sesame seeds is a rich source of calcium, iron & magnesium) As a variation, you can substitute sesame seeds with rolled oats or plain cornflakes, crushed by hand.
Mix together all the ingredients in a bowl and marinate the fish fingers of a couple of hours. Mix flour, white sesame seeds and breadcrumbs. Roll the fish pieces in egg white and the breadcrumbs mixture. Deep fry in oil and eat hot with mayo dip or ketchup.