Kid-Friendly Seafood Recipes for Summer Vacation | Dish on Fish

Kid-Friendly Seafood Recipes for Summer Vacation

Here’s to another awesome #SeafoodSunday, Seafoodies!

Ah, summer is here! Time to kick back a bit and enjoy the relaxed vibe. But for those of us with kiddos at home, we may find ourselves having to prepare more meals at home (think: lunch). Once you set aside the lunch bags and bento boxes, a whole new world of seafood possibilities opens up: air-frying, seafood pizzas, fresh takes on kids’ favorites. If you’re wondering where to start, we’ve rounded up a few of our little Seafoodies’ most-requested recipes for inspiration. They’re all kid-tested, parent-approved and designed to encourage lifelong healthy eating habits!

Nurturing a young culinary spirit can be as simple as asking your kids to help with weekly meal plans. Let them help you choose groceries when you’re shopping. Then, invite them into the kitchen, where the magic happens! Studies show that children are more likely to try new foods when they’re involved in their preparation, and the more chill, less-schedule-packed summer is the ideal time to develop your kids’ palates.

If you’ve got a picky eater, try some of our tips:

  • Start small. Babies and toddlers who are just starting on solids can eat bite-sized pieces of canned tuna or salmon. When you’re first introducing seafood to older kids, start with small pieces of a mild fish like cod, light tuna and tilapia and gradually work your way to seafood with chewier textures and more assertive flavors.
  • Make it familiar. Start with a favorite food—think mac-and-cheese—and add in a little seafood. You also can offer a honey-mustard or barbecue dip for their fish sticks and salmon nuggets. Using a familiar “bridge” food or flavor is a great way to expand your kids’ diets, and it teaches them how to incorporate seafood into virtually any meal.
  • Make it interactive. When you’re shopping, ask kids to pick out a fish or shellfish to cook that week. And enlist their help in the kitchen! Young Seafoodies can help with measuring; older kids can make marinades and assist with serving; and teenagers can make their own recipes.
  • Make it fun! Let kids customize meals to their personal taste. Serve grilled shrimp or salmon as the protein and set up a station for make-your-own tacos, pasta or salad.
  • Be patient. Introduce kids to a variety of seafood species to see what flavors they prefer. Remember, their taste buds are fickle: What they hate today, they may love tomorrow!

Try these kid-friendly seafood recipes, and we bet you’ll enjoy them as much as the little ones do. They’re designed for the young, as well as the young at heart!

Air Fryer Mac-and-Cheese Tuna Bites 

Bet they can’t eat just one! These ooey-gooey mac-and-cheese bites follow one of our key kids’ eats recommendations: pairing seafood with a familiar food.

Guiltless Tempura Shrimp 

Let’s do the math. Mild shrimp + a crispy Parmesan coating = a dish the kids will go wild for! Add some fun dipping sauce, and you’ve got an anytime snack that’s off-the-charts-good.

New England-Style Clam Chowder 

Chock-full of clams, potatoes and celery, this nourishing soup gives little Seafoodies plenty to chew on. Make it extra-fun by adding some sourdough croutons or oyster crackers.

Crunchy Air Fryer Fish Sticks 

Fish sticks are a long-time staple of kids’ menus, and we’ve made some healthy tweaks to the traditional recipe so you can serve them whenever the mood strikes!

Instant Pot Crab Mac-and-Cheese 

Crab is an excellent “starter fish.” What better way to introduce it to kids than stirring it into some decadent mac-and-cheese?

Linguine with Shrimp and Spinach 

Enlist the help of your little Seafoodies when you’re measuring out the ingredients for this simple dish. They’ll be excited to get the first taste!

Sheet Pan Fish and Chips 

Your kiddos will be clamoring for this oven-baked treat! The panko coating makes the fish extra crisp on the outside and moist on the inside.

Crispy Baked Salmon Nuggets 

If your kids are salmon-shy, entice them with a spicy, crunchy coating and their choice of dipping sauce.

Choo Choo Pasta 

All aboard! Wagon wheel pasta makes this “train” tuna dish so fun, the kids will never suspect it’s good for them, too!

Baked Cod with Ritz Cracker Topping 

When the kiddos are ready for fish fillets, it’s time to put on the Ritz! These versatile crackers make a buttery—and familiar—topping for delicate cod.

Gluten-Free Crab Cakes 

When in doubt, make a cake. Make that several cakes—your kiddos will devour these golden-brown patties straight from the pan!

Breakfast Pizza with Smoked Salmon 

Introduce your little Seafoodies to smoked salmon via a familiar format: pizza! You can let them help prepare the toppings and assemble the pies.

Tuna Casserole 

This isn’t your Mom’s tuna casserole, but the kids will love it anyway! And you will, too, because this lightened-up recipe swaps in 1% milk and fresh mushrooms for the higher-fat condensed soup of yesteryear.

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