A common query parents have surrounding fish and weaning is “can babies eat fish fingers?”. The answer is yes, feeding your baby fish fingers can not only help them to develop good eating habits, but it can also benefit their development. With this being said, it is worth noting that some shop-bought fish fingers can do more harm than good due to additional ingredients.
Some foods are safe for babies to consume as soon as they’re old enough to wean, whereas other foods need to be introduced a little later on. One of the major food groups that parents need to watch out for when introducing new foods to their babies is the fish group. Some species of fish contain high levels of mercury which makes them unsuitable for consumption by young children. Additionally, there are also other factors to be aware of when introducing fish to your baby’s diet, including allergies.
It is therefore advised that babies should only eat homemade fish fingers until they are above the age of 9 months.
The benefits of feeding your baby fish fingers.
Before asking “can babies eat fish fingers?”, you will want first to ensure that your baby has got to grips with baby led weaning and mastered eating textured foods, such as fruits and vegetables. Fish fingers make great snacks for babies who have discovered their ‘pincer grip’ movements and are able to competently eat foods with their hands unaided. There are numerous benefits to feeding your baby fish fingers, such as:
- Healthy brain and nerve development
- Reduced risk of heart disease and sudden cardiac death
- Strengthening of the immune system
- Supporting healthy teeth, bones, and muscles
Let’s take a look at each of these benefits in turn to better understand how eating fish fingers can benefit your baby.
Eating Fish Fingers Promotes Healthy Brain and Nerve Development
We all know that Omega-3 is an important part of a healthy diet, however, did you know that this type of essential fatty acid is mostly used in the brain? Scientists have directly linked Omega-3 with healthy brain development and pupil health. It’s also been shown that Omega-3 boosts neurological functions such as memory and reading, making it essential for developing babies and young children. When considering can babies eat fish fingers?, it’s a good idea to carefully look at the ingredients as some fish contain more essential fatty acids than others. Look out for oily fish, such as sardines or salmon, when purchasing or making your own fish fingers.
Reduced Risk Of Heart Disease and Sudden Cardiac Death
Instead of asking “can babies eat fish fingers?”, we should instead be asking how much fish should we be eating, and what types are most beneficial? This is because evidence has shown that the consumption of fish, especially oily fish, can drastically decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and sudden cardiac arrest. Studies have also shown that the ideal amount of fish to eat per week amounts to two portions, however, most people in the UK manage to consume less than one of their allotted portions of fish per week.
Strengthening Of The Immune System
Another amazing advantage to eating fish fingers is the presence of immune system boosting vitamins and minerals, especially when consuming home cooked fish fingers. Fish fingers contain selenium, which plays a key role in the continued function of the immune system. Additionally, fish fingers naturally contain immune system boosting vitamins that help to fight infection and protect cell membranes, such as vitamin A and vitamin E.
Supports Healthy Teeth, Bones, and Muscles
A common query that often accompanies parents asking “can babies eat fish fingers?” is “can eating fish fingers actually benefit my baby’s development?”. Of course, the answer is a resounding yes! As you may have gathered by now, fish is a brilliant food to introduce to your baby’s diet and is extremely beneficial in many ways. In addition to reducing risks of heart conditions, strengthening your baby’s immune system, and promoting healthy brain functions, eating fish fingers as part of a balanced diet can also support the development of healthy teeth, bones, and muscles. Fish fingers contain calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus, potassium, and selenium – all of which are vital for bone, teeth, and muscle health. Fish is also, of course, a great source of protein which is needed for developing and repairing muscles.
The difference between store bought fish fingers and homemade fish fingers.
For maximum health benefits, it is recommended that when asking yourself “can babies eat fish fingers”, you consider the quality of the ingredients beforehand. Many nutritionists will recommend ditching the store bought brands and instead opting for homemade fish fingers. This is primarily because store bought fish fingers contain less Omega-3 and other key elements when compared to freshly made fish fingers.
Moreover, store bought fish fingers are often extremely high in salt which can be harmful to babies. Guidelines state that babies under the age of one year should not have more than 1g of salt per day. To ensure you stick to the recommended allowance of salt and get the maxium benefits from Omega-3 consumption, making your own fish fingers is the best option.
Is it possible for my baby to be allergic to fish fingers?
Some people are allergic to all fish, others can be allergic to one type of fish but not the other varieties. Because of this, it’s always important to introduce different types of fish one at a time. It’s also advisable that you offer your baby a type of fish without any other food substances, this is to ensure that you can pinpoint the exact cause of any reaction.
Can Babies Eat Fish Fingers?
Babies most certainly can eat fish fingers, however, it is much better to offer homemade as opposed to shop bought. It is recommended that people should eat two portions of fish per week (one white fish and one oily fish), and it’s clear to see why. Not only does eating fish support brain function, strengthen the immune system, and reduce the risk of cardiac disease, but it is also a bountiful source of vitamins and minerals that babies and children need in order to thrive during the most important developmental stages of their lives.