Nutritionally speaking, fish is a great catch for kids: The omega 3's in fatty fishes like salmon have brain-boosting power, and some varieties are rich in vitamin D, which experts are urging everyone to get more of. Plus, the American Academy of Pediatrics says fish is fine for kids under a year old. In fact, a new study has found that babies who eat fish before 9 months have a reduced risk of developing eczema. Of course, you'll want to skip ones that are high in mercury (swordfish, shark, tilefish, king mackerel, and white albacore tuna), but barring those, the ocean is yours! How to bring out the seafood lover in your child:
1. Be super-picky when it comes to bones. Just one stray can be irreversibly "ewwww"-inspiring for some kids (not to mention potentially dangerous).
2. Keep it moist. Poaching any type of fish, especially white-fleshed ones like flounder and sole, in a little water or broth will allow it to cook thoroughly without drying out, says Annabel Karmel, author of the book Top 100 Baby Purees. Plus, it's easy: Depending on the fish, you can be eating in a few minutes or less!
3. Mix it up. Try this kid-friendly version of a classic Italian tuna ragout from Erin Patterson, founder of Smallbitesonline.com: Drain and dump a can of chunk light tuna (the safer type) into a pot, add your family's fave jarred tomato sauce, heat, and spoon over pasta.
4. Fish the frozen-food aisle. No time to cook? Shop for pre-prepped fish sticks (check labels for baked ones made from whole fish fillets with no fillers), salmon burgers, or marinated fillets that you can just heat and serve. Done!
5. Deem it dippable. Serve up fish sticks or bite-size pieces of those store-bought salmon burgers with ketchup, tartar sauce, honey mustard, or ranch.
6. Sneak it in at snack time. Mix canned wild salmon with mayo or plain Greek yogurt and spread on whole-grain crackers.