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Food and Nutrition Topics..

You are here : home > Food and Nutrition > Eat Healthy Eat Right > Quick Guide to DHA Rich Foods for Children

Quick Guide to DHA Rich Foods for Children

Including DHA rich foods in the diet of children can help to boost their brain development. Here are some tips on including DHA rich foods in the diet of children.

DHA or Docosahexaenoic acid is basically polyunsaturated omega 3 fatty acid. It plays a major role in the development of the structural fat in brain as the omega 3 fats account for 97% of the brain fats. DHA is also important for the retina of the eye as 93% of omega 3 fats are required for its development. Besides, omega 3 fats are highly beneficial for the well-being of the heart and cognitive enhancement. DHA is particularly important for children so as to effectively meet their regular developmental requirements. It is called essential fatty acids as they are indispensable for the body and they cannot be manufactured within the system and thus needs to be acquired from dietary sources.

There are several studies that show that adequate DHA in diets result in the child’s rapid and effective brain development along with an enhanced visual acuity. These children are also found to have lesser chances of contracting degenerative diseases of the central nervous system like, multiple sclerosis. Likewise if the DHA supply is inadequate, the kid’s performance in school can bear the direct brunt.

Dietary Sources of DHA that Should be a Part of the Kid’s Regular Diet

  • Fatty fishes – Salmon, tuna, herring, mackerel, anchovy, halibut, sardines
  • Fish oil
  • Organ meat – liver
  • Poultry products – especially egg yolks
  • Algae – they are one of the most natural sources
  • Berries – raspberries, strawberries and several varieties cereals too
  • Dairy products – milk, yoghurt

DHA Rich Breakfast for Children

Breakfast is known as the brain food as it provides the boost to the entire day’s activities. So it is advisable to start the day with a DHA-rich breakfast for your child. Kids are generally fussy eaters but they are always game for visually appealing and tasty food. Here are some interesting options:

Scrambled Eggs - Make a toast with scrambles eggs and pair it with a bowl of yoghurt and a bran muffin.

Pancakes - Make pancakes or waffles with whole grain flour and top them with some raspberries. You can complement this with a glass of milk or a bowl of yoghurt.

Fruits - Melt some low-fat cheese and spread it on a toast along with peanut butter and serve with slices of apples or bananas or both. An orange smoothie will complete the meal.

DHA Rich Lunch for Children

Bring in the salmon, tuna and the halibut for lunch. Canned salmon and tuna can be prepared in a similar manner. You can either poach or grill the fish with some olive oil and seasonal herbs and serve them with a bowl of fresh garden salad or a helping of flavoured brown rice.

Cold salmon and halibut taste great when cooked as a filling to an omelette or added to a bowl of green leafy salad.

Slightly roasted or poached mackerel and tiny chunks of red herring or anchovies can be served along with crackers and mustard sauce.

DHA Rich Snacks for Children

The after-play or the evening snack for your little one can be made DHA-rich as well. Take a bowl of hot or cold cereal and sprinkle a handful of ground flaxseeds. Add to this a generous helping of yoghurt or garnish the bowl with some grated cottage cheese.

Edamame soybeans are also an excellent source of DHA. They can be served by themselves or complemented with large glass of banana or apple smoothie with a generous sprinkle of cinnamon powder.

A bowl of veggie and tofu mix salad can be with some walnuts added to it. A handful of strawberries will add to the colour and flavour.

Alternately, it can also be a legumes bowl with kidney, pinto or soybeans. Boil the legumes until soft and dress them according to your choice using say a mix of virgin olive oil, salt, honey with an assortment of garden fresh herbs and some whipped yoghurt or low-fat cream.   

DHA Rich Dinner for Children

Dinner can comprise of some salmon, tuna or halibut salami soaked in malt vinegar or fresh lemon juice along with slices of low-fat cheese, tomatoes and lettuce, served between whole wheat brown bread or chapattis or pita pockets made from whole wheat flour.

A bowl of poached or stir-fried broccoli and cauliflower, sprinkled with some golden sweet corns can be complemented with chunks of tuna in mustard and tamarind sauce.

A wholesome dish can be prepared with poached lake trout pieces, navy beans, winter or summer squash and collard greens. The beans need to be soaked and boiled and the rest of the ingredients just mildly blanched. Add the zing to the dish by adding some spices of your choice like nutmeg, dried ginger and roasted garlic or garnish it with some tangy tomato and cheese dressing.

DHA rich foods are must have in children’s diet but they should also get other essential vitamins and nutrients that are necessary for their growth and development. Therefore, it is necessary to provide a balanced diet to children to help them grow into healthy and strong individuals. 

What are the health benefits of DHA rich foods for children? How to include DHA rich foods in the diet of children? What are the effects of lack of DHA in the diet of children? Discuss here. 

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Barkha.11 months ago
Very nice article, thanks for sharing this useful information on the importance of DHA for children.
Malti.11 months ago
Most of the brain development takes place during he early years. Therefore, DHA rich foods must be included in the diet of children during the first five years.
Hemali.11 months ago
Thanks for highlighting the the importance of DHA in the diet of children.
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