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Getting more omega-3s into your child’s diet

Author Alex Bellamy
Submitted 21-07-2010

Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids are essential for kids’ brain development. In addition, allergies, eczema, constipation, attention deficit disorder (ADD) and other learning disabilities have all been linked to a deficiency of omega-3 fats.

Still, doctors say that many children are chronically deficient in this "good" fat.

There are several parenting advice tips to help get more omega-3s into your child’s diet.

The best sources for omega-3 fatty acids are oily fish (like salmon), walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, canola oil and soy. But many parents say they have a hard time getting their children to eat these foods, or are wary of feeding their kids too much fish for fears of other environmental contaminants.

Fathers can "hide" some of these omega-3 sources in their children’s food. Flax can easily be added to baked goods or sprinkled into other foods like cereals, yogurts or casseroles. Canola oil has a mild taste and can be used in salad dressings or for cooking.

Omega-3 eggs are also available in grocery stores and grass-fed beef is often higher in omega-3s than regular beef as well.

Fish oil supplements can be a good option, but many children have a hard time swallowing large capsules. Fathers can break the capsules open and drizzle the contents into oatmeal, juice, yogurt and smoothies.

Experts recommend talking with your pediatrician about brands and dosages before giving your child a supplement. Parents are also encouraged to read all labels carefully and make sure any fish oil supplements are "purified," or "pharmaceutical grade."