As we approach Thanksgiving, we are grateful for … the kitchen! Yep, our kitchens have seen us through a lot this year. Pantry raiding. Marathon meal prep. Zoom happy hours. With the holiday season upon us, we can expect even more quality time in the kitchen—it’s where people naturally gravitate to taste, sip and chat! The holiday season is also a great time to get the kids (or grandkids) in the kitchen and introduce them to cooking and eating healthy seafood meals.
Studies show that expanding your kids’ culinary horizons now can teach them to make smart nutritional choices down the road—such as making healthy, protein-rich seafood a regular part of their diet. What’s more, you might whet their appetites to try some new seafood dishes! While kids are having fun and picking up some cooking skills, they will also learn that nutritious seafood will help develop a strong and healthy mind and body—just what they need to perform better at sports and academics!!! .
So, get ready for a little bit of a mess and a whole lot of fun!
Tips for Encouraging the Next Generation of Seafoodies:
Pique interest—Flip through seafood recipes with your budding chefs and ask which ones appeal to them. Recipes with colorful photos tend to get the best response, since we taste with our eyes first!
Start with the familiar—If your kids already have some seafood favorites, these should be the first recipes on your to-try list. Once they’re ready to branch out to different types of fish, look for recipes that feature a familiar ingredient your kids already enjoy, such as Tater Tots, so the taste is not completely new to them. (If you have an especially picky eater in your family, check out this post for tips to up their interest in seafood!)
Delegate responsibility—Kids derive a huge sense of accomplishment from cooking, so be sure to give them age-appropriate tasks. Ask them to help you create a grocery list. Younger kids can wash produce or measure ingredients. Older ones can cut ingredients or use a garlic press.
Stay flexible—Kids love to experiment with food, so don’t worry about following a recipe to a “T”—sometimes the best meals come from happy accidents! Set aside plenty of extra time for prep and cleanup, and encourage kids to taste and make adjustments as they cook.
Be creative—When cooking with kids, we look for food that’s colorful and fun to eat, like tomato soup topped with cheesy sourdough-and-crab croutons. We also love easy-bake dishes amenable to an easy swap of ingredients, such as sheet-pan salmon with potatoes and green beans. Kids can make the recipe their own by choosing their favorite fish and vegetables.
We’ve gathered four kid-tested recipes to get you started. Happy cooking!
Crab-Grilled Cheese Croutons and Tomato Bisque
Kids of all ages will gobble up this soup topped with golden-brown crab bites. The croutons are as easy to prepare as a grilled cheese sandwich!
Tater-Topped Seafood Pie
Tater Tots bring out the kid in all of us! Your kiddos will love helping with this yummy shrimp and crab pot pie, especially when they get to top the dish with their favorite frozen potatoes.
Homemade Creamy Shrimp Alfredo Pasta
Shrimp Alfredo is the perfect way to introduce little Seafoodies to special-occasion cooking. Little hands can help measure the ingredients and combine the pasta, shrimp and sauce just before serving.
Maple-Glazed Sheet Pan Salmon with Potatoes and Green Beans
This five-ingredient recipe is as simple and kid-friendly as it gets. Your kids will love the maple sweetness of the salmon, and you’ll appreciate the one-pan cooking. Bite-sized salmon pieces also make a great starter food for toddlers. Pro tip: Cover the pan with aluminum foil to make cleanup as easy as the prep!