My husband and I have been on a weight loss journey. Naturally, this has affected the way our family eats, mostly for the better and some areas need improvement.

Lately, our favorite change has been adding seafood to our diet at least twice each week. Before working with the Seafood Nutrition Partnership and learning about all of the benefits of seafood that go beyond the weight loss, we probably ate shrimp once a month, tilapia every other month and a tray of fish sticks once a month on babysitter night. I’ve always enjoyed shrimp, so this was often my food of choice when we went out to dinner.

Many of us struggle to work seafood in to our family meals because we have experiences where kids just won’t eat it, and it feels like a waste. This isn’t any more or less true about ANY food when it comes to my kids, so I figured I had nothing to lose. It hasn’t been totally successful every time, but we’ve picked up some great tips for helping our kids learn to enjoy seafood!

Three Reasons I’m Feeding My Kids Seafood

Better Grades in School: The omega-3s found in seafood help my kids’ brains develop, leading to higher IQs and improved reading and spelling skills. Plus, children who consume more seafood have less anxiety and better focus.

Healthy Eyes: Nearly half of our eyes’ light-detecting cell structure is made up of omega-3s. And with two parents who wear corrective lenses, my children’s eyes need all the help they can get to remain healthy.

Heart Health: Eating approximately one to two 3 oz. servings of fatty fish a week reduces the risk of dying from heart disease by 36 percent. Heart disease is the #1 killer of Americans taking almost 600,000 lives each.

Try It: Order Seafood to Share at a Restaurant

We recently took a trip to York, Maine and my mission was to try ALL of the seafood; chowders, lobster anything, crab…anything!

When we went out to eat, we ordered several dishes to try and shared them, family style. Lobster was new to my personal repertoire of food and I’m glad I tried it — I was a good example to my children and checked another food item off of my list! During one lunch, we tried a lobster roll and grilled cheese with lobster. At this particular restaurant, they had food items that used all of the tips for getting your children to try seafood; add it to a favorite (grilled cheese with lobster), put it on a stick (Lobby Pop, fresh lobster on a stick, warmed in butter), top it (Lobster Taco, add lobster to the top of something you already eat).

You don’t have to be on vacation to try seafood! While we’ve been on the twice a week challenge, we’ve tried seafood everywhere we’ve gone! Check out these amazing shrimp tacos from Festiva! I love that tacos usually come as a trio, that means if we get two orders, everyone can have one and then you can order other entrees to try too! Hooray, for family style

Seafood Surprises in the Twice a Week Challenge

There are a few things that surprised me about seafood;

  1. It was typically very easy to prepare. And it cooks fast! I found Youtube videos and online recipes to help if it was a new kind of fish for me.
  2. My kids were willing to try something new that was beyond our normal 10 meal variety rotation.
  3. Seafood was easy to buy and find, even in Indianapolis!
  4. Some grocery stores will cook it for you! That’s right! Market District will cook it for you and wrap it up so you can take it home for dinner! There might be other stores that will do this too!
  5. There are so many different seafood dishes that I want to try now! I used to only have shrimp, salmon, tilapia and frozen fish sticks in my path, but now I know how to prepare those in different ways AND I know about different fish types that my family and I enjoy.
  6. Eating fish twice a week made us consume more fresh vegetables too. It’s true! The fish entrees that we prepared went so well with many of our favorite vegetables as well as others that we eat less frequently, it just made sense to eat them together!

This week, we had a Shrimp and Sausage Veggie Skillet for one of our twice a week seafood meals. Here’s the recipe for that Shrimp & Sausage Veggie Skillet.