Do you ever call food a funny name just to entice your youngster into trying it? What about green trees (broccoli), snow capped trees (cauliflower) and then the renowned Ants on a Log (peanut butter and raisins on celery)? In our house, we eat pink fish (salmon). I know it is not a creative name, but in a house of boys, eating something pink is just fun!
Why eat pink fish? Salmon is rich in omega 3 fatty acids (docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)). The American diet has more omega 6 fatty acids (think vegetable oils and foods containing them) than omega 3’s (think fatty fish: salmon, catfish, halibut, striped sea bass, albacore tuna). It is thought that omega 6’s contribute to inflammation while omega 3’s do not. Research is showing that a diet rich in the omega 3’s can decrease our risk of cardiovascular disease and some cancers.
Don’t walnuts and flax seed add to our omega 3 diet? Yes, they contribute. These foods are rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) – a precursor to omega 3’s. Our bodies change the ALA to omega 3 fatty acids. Add walnuts to salads, rice or pasta dishes or even to homemade pesto. Add flax (whole or ground) to yogurt, cereals (hot or cold) or into any recipe.
How much omega 3’s do I need? The World Health Organization recommends a daily EPA and DHA intake of 0.3-0.5 grams and a daily ALA intake of 0.8-1.1 grams. The American Heart Association recommends healthy adults to eat fatty fish at least twice weekly and consume plant-based sources of ALA such as tofu, walnuts, and canola oil.
What about omega 3 fatty acid supplements? First, can you eat the recommended amount of omega 3 fatty acid rich food? If not, try a supplement, but first read the supplement’s ingredient list. Make sure the fish oil is coming from true fish and is not synthetic. There are no standard dosages for omega 3 fatty acid supplements. The American Heart Association recommends 1 gram per day of EPA+DHA for people with heart disease. There are several recommendations for omega 3 fatty acid dosages for a plethora of disease states. If you would like to take omega-3 fatty acid supplements, ask your health care provider what dosage you should use. Please note, at this time omega 3 supplements should only be provided to a child under a healthcare professional’s supervision.
How do we cook our pink fish? We enjoy it grilled or baked.
Grilling: Heat your grill to medium heat. On a piece of foil (spray with nonstick cooking spray or brush with olive oil), place the salmon skin side down. Brush extra virgin olive oil on your fish. Add desired seasoning (we like garlic salt). Cover the grill with the lid – grill for 10-15 minutes. Ready when flaky. Do not eat the skin of the salmon. (If the salmon is thicker, it will require longer cooking time)
Baking: Turn your oven to 350 degrees. In a baking dish, (spray with nonstick cooking spray or brush with olive oil), place the salmon skin side down. Brush extra virgin olive oil on your fish. Add desired seasoning (we like garlic salt). Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes. Ready when flaky. Do not eat the skin of the salmon. (If the salmon is thicker, it will require longer cooking time)
We would like to have salmon once weekly (with leftovers, we get our 2 servings per week!).
How our boys accept pink fish:
- Our oldest (10 years old) says, “Yes! Salmon!” And, he eats it without issue.
- Our middle boy (7.5 years old) says, “I will try it; I still don’t like it.” And, he finishes his portion without issue.
- Our youngest (4.75 years old) says, “I don’t want to try it!!” With prodding from his brothers and making it a game with his parents, he DOES try it (success!) and takes a couple extra bites (double success!).
We will try again next week! Let me know how pink fish goes over in your house!