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Ideas on how to get a toddler to enjoy fish?

I would love to get my child to eat fish. We've tried salmon and tilapia but have not come up with a creative way to get them to enjoy more than a "no thank you bite".

asked by lhh about 4 years ago
23 answers 2045 views
23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added about 4 years ago

Your grade is F

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
lhh
added about 4 years ago

Sorry - Technical glitch!

F8c5465c 5952 47d4 9558 8116c099e439  dscn2212
boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added about 4 years ago

Your grade is an A for persevering.

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added about 4 years ago

Lox, capers and cream cheese on bagel is nearly the only fish we can get our 3-year-old to eat. He asks for it for breakfast 3 mornings a week or more. We let him pile the stuff on on his own, this seems to add to the appeal. Great fish & chips sometimes works too. Also try making crispy, pan fried fish cakes with plenty of panko, and whatever dipping sauce she likes best.

Fish cakes for a toddler should be clean-basic:
flaked fish (leftovers work great - or chopped raw), egg, panko, minced shallot and/or capers (if your kid is into them) – mind that the shallot is very fine – don't risk rejection based on a detectable chunk of onion! Mix, form 2" balls/patties, dust with a bit more panko, fry in oil or butter until golden brown & crispy (if you are used raw fish, insert a knife in center to check for opacity if need be). Nice for grown-ups too as a simple supper. Possible sauces to please the lot: Tartar, Chipotle Cream, Sweet & Salty Lime Yogurt. Serve with pilaf and veg.

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
Pegeen

Pegeen is a trusted home cook.

added about 4 years ago

These "fish sticks" are highly recommended. If the Lime & Tarragon Aioli is too much, just serve them without it. Or you could mix a dab of sweet pickle relish into a bit of mayo for some basic tartar sauce. Bon appetit to the wee one!

http://food52.com/blog...

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added about 4 years ago

Depending on your child's age, you could try simply rebranding with a little creative marketing. My father got me to eat an omelette which I initially hated by calling it "egg cake.". No matter if it was sweet, anything "cake" has got to be good, right? That might work for salmon cakes. I read that the authors of Dinner, A Love story call salmon the "princess fish" to get their daughters to eat it. You could go a similar route with boys, I am sure....Superhero Tuna? Fireman's Tilapia? (not to be too gender essentialist...obviously, you go with own kid's interests)
Sometimes it isn't the recipe but the presentation that makes all the difference in getting kids to give new foods a chance.

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added about 4 years ago

My father used to call the raw cabbage core the 'candy bar'. I still like to eat it, as is, sprinkled generously with salt; what a sucker!

4798a9c2 4c90 45e5 a5be 81bcb1f69c5c  junechamp
ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 4 years ago

My grands enjoyed my homemade fish sticks (Goujonettes of Sole!) when they were small. Truth to tell, they still love them, and have made them for their own kids.

0f493ab9 068f 4498 ba2c 95c992214d52  sit2
Sam1148

Sam is a trusted home cook.

added about 4 years ago

Enlist the help of a friend. Serve fish at dinner---don't serve the child any. Have the friend say something "why don't you give the kid fish"?
"Oh, he isn't ready for adult food yet".

A9f88177 5a41 4b63 8669 9e72eb277c1a  waffle3
added about 4 years ago

Sam, you evil genius

Ea2fede5 db69 4f9c b6a5 c70c27497ae9  dsc 0002 2
added about 4 years ago

Sam & Ono, if only that worked!

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added about 4 years ago

Serve him fish sticks. Don't waste fish on a 4 y/o. It's a waste of time and money.

F8c5465c 5952 47d4 9558 8116c099e439  dscn2212
boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added about 4 years ago

I'm not sure I've seen a response on Food52 which has shocked me more.

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added about 4 years ago

We don't make a big deal of any food that is eaten or not, but we keep serving it. It has taken us sometimes 20+ times of serving something before our girls finally eat that item. The key, we have found, is to remain dispassionate about it but to keep doing it. We say something like: "I really think you will like salmon this time--try a little to make sure". When they say "no", we say OK. Then daddy eats it. ;-) But it will be on their plate again in future meals.


We have been taking that approach since early toddler-hood and now that they are 6 and 8, they eat just about anything that we eat , including fish. Sometimes I wish otherwise, as going out for sushi got really expensive.

3162c11b e070 4795 95d1 fd9492a6b582  lulusleep
added about 4 years ago

Try these fish sticks:
http://www.foodnetwork...

I normally isn't a fish + cheese fan, but this works out quite well.

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added about 4 years ago

I hated seafood as a kid. I remember slowly starting to like into my teens (and college! I'm sorry. I am ashamed) in the following order: salmon, shrimp, crab, lobster, white fish, everything else.

Since it took me so long it's hard for me to think of what would have made me like it faster. I think my main issue was with very 'fishy' tastes and smells - so maybe try to stay away from stronger tasting oily fishes, cook them in a non-smelly way, and serve with lots of other things that overwhelm the fishy flavor. Which I know is a cop-out, but there you go. My sister makes nice salmon cakes with canned salmon - I can imagine that if you up the veggies, eggs, bread crumbs and other binders, you can make the fish a little more appealing.

But to be honest, for me it always came down to the fact that I wasn't allowed to leave the table until I had three (real) bites of everything. Except, of course, when my family had lobster and were perfectly happy not to waste it on me. Oh, the shame.

Edfe409e 4744 406a 98e8 9c239638ad31  img 1965
added about 4 years ago

Because I can't edit: I mentioned my 'three bites rule' because it is the only context in which I remember actually eating fish. Not because it's the best solution by any means - I was just picky.

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added about 4 years ago

I'm convinced my kids loved sushi at ages 2 and 3 because of the chopsticks and soy sauce. Dipping is always fun. And chopsticks? Poking your food with a stick? How's that not going to be a hit?

Cd4936f2 2555 42a6 bab6 b78ae625f4ec  img 3538
added about 4 years ago

I once got my fish adverse godkids to eat it by referring to the tuna steak as steak. I even clued one of them in as to what I was doing and she also asked for seconds.

F8c5465c 5952 47d4 9558 8116c099e439  dscn2212
boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added about 4 years ago

Then there's always the tactic of breaking it into small bits and mix it into something they like: rice, pasta. The daughter would eat anything with rice, and the son, pasta.

F8c5465c 5952 47d4 9558 8116c099e439  dscn2212
boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added about 4 years ago

Also, make it part of a soup. And I agree with several peoples' suggestions to turn it into finger food with something to dip it into.

F8c5465c 5952 47d4 9558 8116c099e439  dscn2212
boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added about 4 years ago

And don't ever buy commercially-made fish sticks. They're made with who knows what kinds of fish, but almost always "trim," they're loaded with cheap fats and sodium, and contain virtually no nutrients. You'd be better off sending him to bed with no dinner.

8a5161fb 3215 4036 ad80 9f60a53189da  buddhacat
SKK
added about 4 years ago

The question I am left with is why fish? If your kid doesn't like fish, don't force it. There are many ways to get the omega's. As a Mom of a grown daughter I know the more energy I put in forcing an idea, the more resistance I got. http://www.montereybayaquarium... tells us what fish is least polluted.

Personally I would fight the battle of more great vegetables.