Vitamin D Deficiency is now recognized as a pandemic. The major cause of Vitamin D deficiency is the lack of sun exposure in moderation which is the major source of vitamin D for most humans. Very few foods naturally contain vitamin D, and foods that are fortified with vitamin D are often inadequate to satisfy either a child’s or an adult’s vitamin D requirement. Vitamin D deficiency causes rickets in children and will precipitate and exacerbate osteopenia, osteoporosis, and fractures in adults.

Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with increased risk of common cancers, autoimmune diseases, hypertension, and infectious diseases. Because vitamin D is vital to good health, many foods have been enriched with the vitamin. However, it is naturally present in very few foods, and vitamin D supplements may be necessary to ensure adequate intake. But an excellent natural source of vitamin D does exist: FISH.

Fish doesn’t go down very easy with all children. Here are some easy recipes to include in your diet to ensure correct levels of Vitamin D.

6 simple, tasty and healthy fish recipes that your child will never say no to!!

I.) Crispy Basa Nuggets with Sweet Potato Wedges

Did You Know: Basa is a protein rich fish and is a healthy addition to regular meals. This fish is moderately high in fat and is rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids. These are very low in sodium and hence is a healthy choice to include into your child’s  diet.

Your children will love these homemade fish nuggets and using sweet potato instead of normal chips is a much healthier option.

Procedure

1. Take 4 pieces of basa fillets and cut into small chunks. Keep 2 tablespoon of plain flour in a flat plate. Beat 1 large egg and keep aside. Keep 100 grams of breadcrumbs ready on another plate. Coat each piece of basa in plain flour then dip in beaten egg and coat in breadcrumbs. Cover and chill in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.

3. Clean and peel 2 sweet potatoes. Cut into wedges. Heat 2 tablespoon olive oil in a roasting tin for 3-4 minutes then add the sweet potato. Roast for a further 20 minutes, turning once. Brush with 1 tablespoon honey and return to the oven for 10 minutes until tender and golden.

4. Arrange the fish nuggets on a greased baking tray. Drizzle with a little olive oil on each piece of fish and bake at 190 Degree Celsius for 6 to 8 minutes on either side or till the fish is cooked through and turns a lovely golden brown. (oven times may vary) Halfway through the cooking, drizzle a little more oil on the pieces of fish. This keeps the nuggets moist.

5. Take a bowl and add hung curd to it. Add chopped chives and season with salt and pepper. Serve fish nuggets with sweet potato wedges, curd dip and lemon.

II.) Salmon Fish Cakes

Did You Know: Salmon is a great source of lean protein and is packed to the gills with B Vitamins. A rich source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, this is very beneficial for our brain and hearts.

A great dinner-time treat for the kids, the Oats and cheesy crumb gives the fishcake a delicious crunch

Procedure

For the Fish Cakes

1. In a large bowl, mix together the 1/4 cup oats, spring onions, 2 boiled and mashed potatoes, 250 grams salmon fillets (skinned and chopped into very small pieces), 2 tablespoon light mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon tomato ketchup, 1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill and season well with salt and pepper. [you can also add 2 tablespoons of finely grated cheese (parmesan or any cheese) to this mixture. But that’s optional]

2. Divide the mixture into balls, chill for 3 to 4 hours in the refrigerator to firm up.

For the Crumb Coating

1. Take a bowl and add 1 cup oats. Mix in grated parmesan cheese and enough cracked pepper. Transfer contents on to a flat plate. Beat 2 eggs and keep aside.

2. Dip the balls in the beaten egg, shaking off any excess, then coat in the cheesy oats mixture. Dip in the beaten egg a second time then into the cheesy oats mixture again to thoroughly coat the balls. Put each ball onto a chopping board or tray and pat into a desired shape, press on extra cheesy oats coating if any bald patches appear. Heat a little oil in a pan. Shallow fry the fish cakes for 2 to 3 minutes on both sides until golden brown and the salmon is cooked through.

3. Alternately, you can also bake these fish cakes in the oven (make sure you drizzle each fish cake with oil before placing in the oven) at 180 degree Celsius until they turn golden brown. (will only take a few minutes)

4. Serve hot/warm with cooked peas, broccoli and carrots and lemon squeezed on top.

III.) Plokkfiskur

This dish is a traditional dish of Icelandic origin. It is an excellent way of serving fish to your kids in an interesting way.

Procedure

1. Cook 250 grams of basa fillets or any firm white fish. Shred and keep aside. Boil and mash 2 medium size potatoes and keep aside. Steam broccoli or cauliflower florets and keep aside.

2. Heat a little olive oil or butter in a stew pot and sauté 1 finely chopped onion. (you can also add 1 clove of crushed garlic) Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of curry powder (mildly spicy) and sauté. Into this add the cooked fish, boiled potatoes, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Throw in freshly chopped chives or scallion (spring onion) and combine well. The mixture will be thick, so add a little cream or milk to make it creamy. Adjust seasoning.

3. Pour into a greased baking dish and top with grated cheese. Bake at 180 degree Celsius till bubbly and lightly browned on top. Serve warm with toasted bread.

IV.) Tandoori Fish Wraps

These fish wraps are much healthier than your average burger. Replacing the buns with wheat wraps (or regular rotis) instead cuts down on carbs but not on flavour. Each piece of fish is marinated with herbs and spices and is packed with a lot of flavor.

Procedure

1. Marinate 250 grams of cod/salmon/ or any firm flesh fish with a little Tandoori masala powder/paste (as per spice tolerance), cracked pepper, a pinch of turmeric powder, juice of half a lime, 1/2 teaspoon ginger and garlic paste and 1/2 cup plain yoghurt. Keep aside for 10 minutes.

2. Make a quick pickle by soaking 1/2 cucumber (sliced) in 1/4 cup vinegar and salt for 15 minutes. Squeeze and keep aside. (you can also add sliced carrots/radish etc into this)

3. Heat olive oil (you can use any oil of your choice) in a pan. Shallow fry the marinated fish till lightly browned on either side and the fish is cooked through.

4. Make a hung curd spread with a few tablespoons of hung curd, lime juice, salt, chopped coriander leaves, and mint leaves. (you can also use mayonnaise as an alternative to hung curd)

5. Heat two rotis/chapathis on a pan. Spread 1 or 2 teaspoons of hung curd on each. Pull apart some fresh lettuce and place it on each roti. Slice (if necessary)the pickles and add on top of the lettuce. Top it with fish. Squeeze a little lemon juice on top (if needed) Bring in the sides, then fold up the bottom of the roti. Serve in napkins.

V.) Minced Sardine Dosas

Did You Know: Sardines contain lots of calcium and vitamin D, which work together to fend off bone loss and osteoporosis. Sardines also boost energy by providing plenty of protein, iron, and vitamin B12 per serving, but with less saturated fat than other animal food sources. And in the place of that bad fat, you get good fat – in the form of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 supports heart health by helping to lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

Procedure

1. Cook 6 to 8 cleaned sardines in a pressure cooker with pepper, salt, 1 or 2 teaspoons of Kashmiri chili powder, 4 to 5 cloves of crushed garlic, 1/2 inch piece of ginger, 1 tablespoon lime juice and a little water. Cook till sardines can be broken down to a mince using a fork.

2. Heat oil and sauté 1 finely chopped onion till light brown. Add the cooked fish into it and sauté on a low flame. Allow all the liquid to evaporate. Into this add, 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of tomato ketchup and finely chopped coriander leaves. Adjust seasoning. Make sure this whole mixture is moist. (no residual liquid should be present)

3. Make dosas and place on a serving plate. Add the sardine mixture on to it. Grate fresh carrots and top it with some freshly chopped coriander leaves. Fold the dosa and serve warm.

VI.) Spiced Tuna on Toast with Beetroot Salsa

Did You Know: Tuna is one of the healthiest foods that a growing child can eat. Tuna is an excellent source of protein and is easily digestible by young children. Low in fat and calories it contains essential vitamins and minerals and is rich in omega-3 fatty acids – which are especially important during early childhood for eye and brain development.

Procedure

1. Dice 2 medium size beetroot. Mix together beetroot, thinly sliced wedges of 1 eating red apple (royal gala etc.), 1 small finely sliced red onion, juice of 1/2 a lemon, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, small bunch of coarsely chopped coriander leaves and enough salt. Keep aside.

2. Marinate 4 tuna fillets with 1 teaspoon curry powder, salt, pepper and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Shallow fry on a griddle pan with very less oil, turning sides till fish is cooked through.

3. Toast any bread of your liking. Drizzle a little olive oil on it. Top with the salsa and tuna. Pour oven any pan juices and eat straight away.

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