Two nutrients that are vital for the healthy growth of children are Omega 3 and protein. We think salmon is an amazing food for our children because it’s packed with both. Omega 3 is pure goodness. It’s essential for children’s brain, nerve and eye growth (it’s with good reason salmon is called the ‘brain food’ of the sea). Plus, Omega 3 is anti-inflammatory and supports our immune system. So making sure kids eat enough Omega 3 can lower the risk of them developing allergies, asthma, eczema and infections.
We parents all know how astonishingly fast children grow. And how much they grow. Yet it’s easy to forget the connection between growth and protein. You may remember from biology lessons that protein is made up of masses of tiny amino acids. These miniscule structures are tied in long lines and jumble together to make bigger and bigger structures such as cells, bone, hair, teeth, nails, skin, hormones and neurotransmitters (we could go on, but we think you get the idea). Amino acids truly are the original building blocks. We get these amino acids from our diet by eating protein. Ideally children need protein with every meal and snack to make sure they’re getting enough to grow properly.
Salmon is mostly grilled, poached, baked or pan fried. It isn’t often made into kebabs. But it’s firm enough and we think it’s a fabulous way of cooking it. More importantly, it’s a fun and enticing way of getting reluctant children to eat it. Together with sweet potato wedges, and perhaps some edamame beans, these kebabs make a great picnic or packed lunch. For a lunch or dinner, serve with brown rice and vegetables. They’re particularly delicious with avocado.
Nutritionally speaking, we prefer wild salmon because they’re richer in Omega 3 and protein than farmed. They also contain fewer metals and pesticides, which we all need to avoid, especially growing children.
Serves 4 children, generously
What you need
4-5 bamboo skewers
500g salmon (about 3 large fillets), without skin
1 large clove garlic
A small piece of fresh ginger, about 1 inch
3 tablespoons tamari, or low-salt soy sauce
A drizzle of brown rice vinegar
Firstly, soak the bamboo skewers in water to prevent them from getting charred as they cook.
Cut the salmon into 2cm chunks and put them in a bowl. Crush the garlic, grate the ginger and add them to the bowl too along with the tamari or soy sauce and vinegar. If there’s time, leave this mixture for 10 minutes or more to marinate.
Set the grill to high (about 200°C) and thread 5-6 chunks of salmon on to each skewer and place on a baking sheet. Grill for 5 minutes, turn the skewers over and grill for a further 5. All grills are different so if the kebabs need a little more cooking, check after only a couple of minutes – fish cooks quickly.
Serve with the delicious cooking juices.
Harriet Bindloss has always loved cooking and feeding family and friends. She trained at Leith’s School of Food and Wine, worked as a private cook, then went on to produce the food pages at House & Garden magazine for five years. Now she uses her experiences and passion for nutrition to feed her most difficult critics, her two young children.