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August 10, 2014 • Kids Health

Getting Optimal Omega-3 Fats in Your Kids

Omega 3 fats, specifically DHA and EPA, are essential nutrients that must be obtained via the diet. They play a fundamental role in brain, cardiovascular, and immune health, and most kid’s diets are woefully deficient in these vital fats. Follow these guidelines to be sure your child receives optimal amounts:

  • Seafood, particularly oily fish (salmon, tuna, lake trout, sardines, and herring) are the richest food sources of the essential omega 3 fats, DHA and EPA. Strive to include at least two servings of seafood, preferably oily fish, in your child’s diet weekly. Salmon- fresh, canned or frozen is one of the very best sources. Canned salmon is versatile and super convenient and can be used to make salmon croquettes. (I grew up eating salmon croquettes weekly – thank you Mom!) and salmon salad. Choose chunk lite tuna vs. albacore tuna, as albacore tuna may be high in methyl mercury.
  • Serve your child walnuts as a snack or include them in their salads and morning cereal.
  • Include small, dark leafy greens like baby lettuces (arugula, water cress, mesclun, etc.) and spinach in your child’s diet regularly.
  • Sprinkle hemp, chia, or ground flax seeds into your child’s morning cereal, yogurt, oatmeal, or smoothies. Include them in your baked goods.
  • Always choose omega-3 fortified eggs (now available at all grocery outlets) vs. standard eggs. Look for DHA or omega 3 on the label.
  • Although it is always best to obtain omega 3 fats from real foods, if your child will not or cannot eat them as recommended above, consider a high quality omega 3 supplement. I recommend the Nordic Naturals brand, available at healthy grocery stores and from the web. (Please note, I have no financial or business relationship with the Nordic Naturals Company.) That is the brand that I personally provide to my family members.


Remember, these fats are essential for brain health, which is fundamental to optimal learning, behavior, and mood.


How to Do Your Fats Right

Getting Your Kids to Eat More Veggies