Where does your child’s dietary protein come from? According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than 90 percent comes from non-fish sources. If you’ve heard mixed reviews on childhood fish consumption, a new report from the AAP may shed light on seafood selection.
While seafood doesn’t necessarily have to fit into the staple category of your kiddo’s food picks, it has plenty of benefits for your child as they grow. Along with providing a lean source of protein (as long as you don’t deep fry it or opt for the stick version), fish may help to increase cognitive function and prevent the risk of developing allergies in childhood.
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Even though the bountiful benefits, and the Omega-3 fatty acids it contains, are widely accepted, some parents still worry about the safety of eating seafood. The AAP report cites fear of methylmercury pollution as the top reason for avoiding fish.
Should you let mercury-related anxiety stop you from feeding your fam fish? No, and yes. Take caution when choosing fish for your child and yourself—especially if you’re pregnant. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration maintains a list of the good, the best and the bad when it comes to fish safety. In general, the fish with the highest mercury levels include king mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, tilefish, swordfish and bigeye tuna.
If you have questions or concerns about feeding your child fish, ask your pediatrician.