New Delhi: Your toddler needs lot of fish for brain and nerve development.
"First, babies need a lot of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish for brain, nerve, and eye development, and when they switch from breast milk or formula to solid food," said dietician Susan Brewer.
"Second, children`s food preferences are largely developed by the time they`re five, so I urge parents to help their kids develop a taste for seafood early," said Brewer from the University of Illinois College of Agricultural Sciences.
Fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, have huge health benefits and help to prevent coronary artery disease, but most adults don`t eat fish twice weekly as experts recommend, reports the Journal of Food Science .
"Fish-based baby foods, common in Asian markets, have been marketed successfully in the United Kingdom and Italy," Brewer said, according to a University of Illinois statement.
Brewer collaborated with former University of Illinois professor Peter Bechtel, now of Alaska`s Agricultural Research Service, in the effort to create a viable product, using salmon.
She has experimented with both pink and red salmon, finding that red salmon survives the baby food production process better.
And, to boost nutrition, in separate experiments she has added bone meal and pureed salmon roe (eggs) to her entrees.
The first ingredient (made by grinding the bones in the salmon into a powder) provides calcium in a form that is readily available for bone building in children.
The second provides high-quality protein and contains significant quantities of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, particularly docohexaenoic acid (DHA). "A newborn infant`s brain is 50 per cent DHA," she noted.
"However, babies and toddlers have immature livers and can`t synthesise enough DHA to ensure an adequate supply to their developing nerve tissues. If small children are going to get DHA, they must ingest it in their food."