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Children 0–2 years

Fish for good child nutrition

Fish is great for adult health but does this also apply to our children?

Issues to consider

Safety During Pregnancy

Some women avoid eating fish during pregnancy because they are concerned that they may contract Listeriosis which can cause miscarriage and still birth. As Listeria will grow on refrigerated food careful food handling is necessary.The Minister of Health recommends that pregnant women avoid smoked and raw seafood but cooking fresh fish immediately before eating is safe as Listeria is destroyed by heat.

Fish and Infant Development

Cooked fish is a good source of DHA, an omega 3 fat essential for early brain and nerve development in infants During pregnancy, the foetus takes DHA from it’s mother and so it is important to keep maternal stores high.

Fish for Breastfeeding

In addition to the omega 3 fat DHA, fish also contains protein, iron and trace elements iodine and selenium. These nutrients are important for growth and development post-natally. DHA in breast milk can be maintained if a mother eats fresh or canned fish at least 2-3 times a week.

Encourage Children to Eat Fish

Sometimes children can be put off from eating fish because of its texture and smell.
Always ensure that the skin, scales and bones are removed in fresh fish or use canned fish instead.

Mix fish with mashed potato to make fish cakes or mountains; or add fish to mini muffins or mini pita breads. Try pinwheel or club sandwiches and keep servings small and tasty.

For a smooth texture try blending together salmon with cottage cheese, chopped parsley, a squeeze of lemon juice( and a dash of taco sauce for older children). This makes a great dip or filling for rolls or sandwiches.

If you would like some practical ideas for using fish then check out our recipe section or contact Lea to discuss new ideas.

About the author View all

Lea Stening

Lea is one of New Zealand’s leading paediatric dietitians and also specialises in Sports Nutrition. She has specialised in Paediatric Nutrition for 31 years and in 1985 was the first paediatric dietitian to enter private practice in New Zealand. Lea helps families through her private consultations, public lectures, newspaper and magazine articles as well as television and radio interviews. Read more »

View all posts by Lea Stening »

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