Tips for Adding Omega-3s
To convince picky eaters to try seafood, start with mild-tasting white fish, marinating it in a flavor they enjoy, like honey mustard or barbecue sauce. You can also make fish nuggets -- cut the filet into strips, coat with bread crumbs, and bake in the oven. Serve with your child's favorite dip. Make tuna sandwiches more fun by using cookie cutters to shape them like flowers, hearts, or stars.
Get an oil change. Canola contains an ideal ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s, while olive oil offers mostly monounsaturated fat, which may help calm airways, too, says Dr. Broughton. Use either oil when sautéing. To add more flavor to a dish, stick with olive oil. Canola oil works best for stir-frying or baking; swap it for vegetable oil (substitute an equal amount) or margarine (use one-third less canola oil).
Wow them with walnuts. They're the only nut rich in omega-3s. For kids 4 and over, sprinkle walnuts on cereal, stir them in yogurt, or bake them in banana bread.
Go easy on margarine. Most brands are at least 65% vegetable oil. If your child eats margarine only once in a while, don't sweat it. But if she regularly spreads it on her bread and eats foods that are made with margarine, try alternative toppings such as fruit butters and low-fat cream cheese. Or buy a brand of margarine with a lower amount of vegetable oil, such as Smart Balance, which contains just 37%.
Trans-Fat-Free Food Calms Airways
In the ingredients of many processed foods, you'll see "partially hydrogenated oil" -- it means the product likely contains trans fat. This fat starts out as a polyunsaturated oil rich in omega-6 and then is chemically altered when hydrogen is forced into it under pressure. Research suggests that trans fats are more antagonizing to asthma than the unbalanced ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s described in the previous section. Digesting and metabolizing trans fats, studies show, can create prostaglandins and leukotrienes, which are inflammatory chemicals.