How To Get Your Kids To Eat More Brain Boosting Salmon (Guest Post)

How To Get Your Kids To Eat More Brain Boosting Salmon (Guest Post)

Today’s guest-post is written by a friend of mine Mandy Sacher of  Wholesome Child, who is a qualified nutritionist specialising in children’s health.

As a busy mother of 3 young children (8, 5 and 4 years old) who are very fussy eaters, I struggle to come up with healthy and varied options at mealtimes that actually get enjoyed.  As Mandy explains in her  article below,  Salmon is a wonderful super food that can really benefit the health of our children.  She has shares some great tips on how to include more salmon into your family’s diet.  You will also find below my recipe for The Shrinking Hubby’s Miso Poached Salmon and Noodles our go-to favourite salmon recipe – one of the few dinners that gets demolished every time.  I hope you enjoy this post!

How To Get Your Kids To Eat More Brain Boosting Salmon

By Mandy Sacher of Wholesome Child

Salmon is a super brain boosting food for babies and children.  It is rich in omega-3-fatty acids (DHA and EPA) which are essential for developing brains. These types of oils are found in breast milk and are always added to infant and follow-on-formulas. Recent studies show that children whose diets are rich in these essential fatty acids achieve better results at school – especially in the areas of reading and memory performance. Evidence has also shown that children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and related behaviour/learning disabilities are more likely to have diets which are low in omega-3’s and would benefit from increasing their DHA levels.

Not only are these essential oils important for brain health, they are also crucial for healthy eye development and strong immune systems as they ward off inflammatory childhood diseases. One of the best ways to ensure they are getting enough of these fatty acids in their diets is to bump up their salmon intake.  However, when choosing salmon – especially for babies and small children – it is important to take note of where it comes from and how it is fed.  Many farmed salmon are fed pellets which contain genetically-modified grains and fats such as soy, corn and canola oil.  Synthetic dyes may also be added to their feed to give their flesh that attractive pink colour and there is a widespread use of antibiotics and other chemicals which are not found in high quality premium grade salmon such as wild salmon or organic salmon.

Most parents reading this article are thinking “I am aware of the health benefits of salmon but how do I get my children to eat more of it?”   Here are Wholesome Child’s Top 10 ways to get kids to eat more salmon.  Many of these recipes are perfect for healthy lunchbox meals.

  • The Shrinking Hubby’s Miso Poached Salmon with Noodles (see below or click here for recipe)
  • Coconut crumbed salmon nuggets with dipping sauces such as home-made tomato sauce, tzatziki or beetroot hummus.
  • Spelt pasta spirals with creamy salmon and cheese sauce (great for winter, if your school does not heat food up send in a thermos).
  • Tasty salmon hamburger patties served on a sourdough spelt bun or in a wrap.
  • Savoury salmon and veggie mini- muffins.
  • Home-made cooked salmon sushi rolls.
  • Goat cheese, pumpkin and salmon mini-quiches
  • Rice paper rolls with cooked salmon and buckwheat soba noodles.
  • Salmon sandwich: layer sandwich with flaked salmon, crème fraiche, Dijon mustard and sweet potato puree
  • Salmon Shepherd pies are a great alternative to meat.
  • Salmon lasagne with plenty of vegetables.

So which is the best salmon for kids?  Many parents who are concerned about mercury levels, taste (compliance – getting their kids to eat it) prefer organic salmon to commercially farmed salmon and wild salmon.

Organic Norwegian Salmon is reared in the ocean in their natural habitat and there are 50% less salmon per habitat than non-organic salmon. They are free to eat natural occurring food sources within the ocean that flow into their estuaries and they are reared on 100% organic feed, which is fit for human consumption (100% sustainable).  There are no pesticides, no chemicals, no synthetic dyes and no nitrates. It’s really important when recommending fish for pregnant women, infants and children that we know exactly what the mercury, dioxin and PCB levels are and where our salmon come from.

About The Author:

Mandy Sacher is a paediatric nutritionist and health writer, who sources quality products for her clients.  She has had over 15 years of experience in the health industry and is the founder of Wholesome Child – helping parents to feed their children RIGHT from the start!

Mandy stocks the best quality organic salmon and is located in Rose Bay, Rozelle and delivers to St Ives on Tuesday.

You can find out more about Mandy at her website www.wholesomechild.com.au, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Wholesome-Organic-Salmon or you can contact her at mandy@wholesomechild.com.au

The Shrinking Hubby’s Miso Poached Salmon With Noodles

What you will need:

  • 1-2 fillets organic salmon
  • 1/3 cup of good quality brown rice miso paste (found from organic health food shops or whole food shops)
  • 1 packet Vietnamese Rice Pad Thai Noodles (or you can use buckwheat or soba noodles – adjust cooking time according to instructions.)
  • A couple handfuls green beans (topped and tailed)

How to pull it together:

  • Bring a medium-sized saucepan to the boil.
  • Add the miso paste and using a whisk mix together well.
  • Add the rice noodles (which generally take around 8 minutes to cook or if using different noodles adjust cooking time accordingly).  Cook for 2 minutes.
  • After 2 minutes, add the salmon fillet/s to the miso and noodles.  Cook for 4 minutes.
  • After 4 minutes add the beans and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Dish out into bowls, ensure to add a couple of ladlefuls of nutritious miso broth to the mixture and serve.

Notes:  For a more grown up version – this is delicious drizzled with some tamari, a little sesame oil and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds.  You could also add some chilli oil for a kick.

 

 

Salmon with Pesto Zucchini ‘Noodles’

Salmon with Pesto Zucchini ‘Noodles’

This dish was seriously tasty and super quick and easy.  I’d been craving pesto spaghetti and this really did the trick without the refined carbs.  My pesto recipe uses lemon juice so the tangy flavour works brilliantly with the salmon, although if you didn’t want the fish you could have a bowl of the Pesto Zucchini noodles on their own too!

I have tried many spiralisers to make vegetable ‘noodles’ and the GEFU Spiral Slicer Spiral Fix is by far the easiest and most effective I’ve used.

Salmon with Pesto Zucchini Noodles

Serves 2

What you will need:

2 Salmon fillets

About 1 cup of the Shrinking Hubby’s Pesto (link here or see below) (you may wish to use more or less depending on your taste)

4 Zucchinis (courgettes) topped and tailed

Olive oil, salt and pepper

Lemon wedges (if using) to serve

How to bring it together

Create the zucchini noodles using a vegetable spiraliser.  Place noodles in a colander, sprinkle liberally with good quality sea salt and drizzle with a splash of olive oil.  Toss and let sit for about 30 minutes.

When ready to prepare the meal, you can either barbeque or pan fry the salmon (brush with a little olive oil, season with sea salt and pepper).

Meanwhile heat the pesto in a fry pan or wok, when warm, add the noodles and toss until they are coated and the noodles are heated.

Place the noodles on a plate and top with the salmon.  Sprinkle with some chilli and serve with a squeeze of lemon if desired.

Enjoy!

The Shrinking Hubby’s Pesto

What you will need:

1/4 cup pine nuts dry roasted (you can do this in the oven on some baking paper or in a non-oiled pan on the stove – keep an eye on them – they can burn quickly!)

1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves

2 small garlic cloves (or 2 teaspoons good quality organic minced garlic)

3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1/4 cup olive oil

juice of 1/2 a lemon

sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste

How to pull it together:

Place the pine nuts, basil, lemon juice, garlic, parmesan, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor (I used my Thermomix) and process until finely chopped.  Gradually add the olive oil while the motor is running in a thin stream until well combined.

Zesty Salsa

Zesty Salsa

It’s so quick and easy to whip up a tasty little salsa and makes such a refreshing change to steamed veggies or a green salad.  Don’t be restricted what I’ve used here – you can use what you’ve got in the fridge, some organic corn kernels would be nice here too.  We enjoyed this with salmon but would be delicious with chicken or steak.  It is the perfect accompaniment to my chicken schnitzel (recipe here).  I had the leftovers with a little bit (1/2 cup) of brown rice and a tin of tuna for lunch the next day – was really yummy!

Zesty Salsa

(serves 2-4 as a side dish)

What you will need:

  • 1 Avocado diced
  • 1 cucumber peeled and diced
  • A handful of button mushrooms diced
  • 1/2 red capsicum diced
  • 1 green chilli (seeded) finely chopped
  • 1 roma tomato or a few cherry tomatoes diced
  • 1/4 red onion finely chopped
  • About a 1/4 cup of fresh Coriander leaves (cilantro)

For the dressing:

  • The juice of 1-2 limes (depending on your taste)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

How to pull it all together:

Shake or whisk all the dressing ingredents together.  Combine the chopped up veggies into a bowl.  Gently toss the veggies with the dressing and serve!

 

 

Shallot, Ginger and Sesame Crusted Salmon

Shallot, Ginger and Sesame Crusted Salmon

A few weeks ago I posted a recipe from my favourite cookbook The Monday Morning Cooking Club – Buba’s Eggplant.  A delicious eggplant and tomato bake topped with melted buffalo mozzarella!  It was a big hit on the blog and in many of your homes I’m sure!  You can check out the recipe here.

Another recipe that I have adapted from this cookbook is the simple yet delicious (and of course super healthy) Shallot, Ginger and Sesame Crusted Salmon.  I love this recipe because it takes less than 5 minutes to prepare and it cooks itself in the oven around 10 minutes yet is such an impressive and complex tasting dish.

Salmon, Ginger and Sesame Crusted Salmon

(serves 2)

What you will need

1/2 heaped tablespoon fresh ginger (grated)

1 clove garlic crushed (I use a teaspoon of organic minced garlic for this recipe)

A spash of sherry

1 tablespoon tamari

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1/2 bunch (6 stems) shallots finely sliced

Sea salt to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon)

2 salmon fillets

How to pull it together:

Mix the ginger and garlic in a bowl, add the sherry, tamari, sesami oil, sesame seeds, shallots and sea salt and stir to combine.

salmon-shallot-marinade

Place the salmon fillets on a baking tray lined with baking paper and spoon a thick layer of the marinade on top.  Bake in a 180 degree oven for about 10 minutes (depending how well you like your salmon cooked.

Enjoy XX

Coconutty Salmon, Quinoa and Greens

Coconutty Salmon, Quinoa and Greens

This is one of my favourite go to meals.  It is quick, easy, tasty and healthy – so it ticks all boxes!  The coconut oil gives it a delicious coconutty flavour.  I love making this on the weekend for us for lunch, or it makes the perfect lazy dinner.  I love it with quinoa, but it is delicious with brown rice too …

Coconutty Salmon, Quinoa and Spinach

(serves 2 – but easily halved/multiplied depending on how many you are feeding)

What you will need:

1 cup cooked quinoa (or cooked brown rice if you prefer) *

2 fillets of fresh salmon

1 tablespoon coconut oil

a couple of big handfuls baby spinach leaves or rocket (arugula), or  baby kale works well too

Fresh lemon juice (to taste)

Salt and pepper (and chilli flakes or sambal to taste)

How to cook your quinoa:

In a saucepan add in a ratio of 1:2 quinoa and liquid.  (I.e. 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water).  Bring to the boil and reduce heat.  Simmer, covered for 15 minutes.  You should end up with fluffy perfectly cooked quinoa.  (You can cook with a squeeze of lemon juice, some grated lemon zest, or in chicken stock for extra flavour if you like.)

I like using both white and red quinoa, but whatever you can get your hands on is fine.

How to pull it together:

Steam the salmon fillets for 5 minutes or until cooked to your liking.  You could also poach in boiling water for 5 minutes.  When done,  chop it up or pull apart into flakes with a knife and fork.

In a large pan heat the coconut oil.  Add the quinoa (or brown rice) and toss until well coated.  Toss through the flaked salmon, greens and lemon juice and stir until the spinach has slightly wilted.

Divide into bowls and serve with more lemon juice and chilli (if desired).

Enjoy XX

 

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