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My four-year-old wants to eat fish sticks all the time. How much fish is too much fish for children?
The nutrition expert answers:
Fish provides a good source of high-quality protein and, depending on how it’s prepared, can be very lean. When choosing fish sticks, be sure to buy an all-natural brand that is made without hydrogenated vegetable oils. Hydrogenated oils form cholesterol-raising trans fats so look for the healthiest option at the grocery store. In addition, you may also want to avoid brands made with monosodium glutamate (MSG) because this common ingredient can cause nausea, vomiting, and migraine headaches in some people.
In terms of how much fish a child should eat, the FDA advises eating up to two average meals of a variety of fish and shellfish per week. They suggest up to 12 ounces for adults and smaller portions for children. They warn pregnant women and women of childbearing age to AVOID fish high in mercury including shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish, advice many parents follow for their children as well. Mercury can be harmful to the developing nervous system of an unborn child. It can also cause neurological problems, decline in intellect, chronic and frequent headaches, numbness and tingling all over, and more. Therefore, it’s best to choose fish low in mercury such as shrimp, canned light tuna (albacore “white”ï¿½ tuna has more mercury than light canned tuna), salmon, Pollock, and catfish.
If you’re looking for a variety of great tasting, kid-friendly meal ideas, please check out my website at www.MealMakeoverMoms.com or my cookbook, The Moms’ Guide to Meal Makeovers (Broadway Books, 2004). Good luck!