When you hear the word omega 3, your mind probably goes right to your childhood where your mom was force feeding you cod liver oil.
But what omega 3’s actually?
Omega 3’s are essential healthy fats contained in animal and plant based sources. The three omega 3’s are known as EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid ) (both animal based) and ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) (plant based).
They are considered essential because your body cannot produce them on its own, which means you need to get them in your diet on a weekly basis.
ALA must be converted to EPA and DHA in the body so the intake requirements are higher when compared to EPA and DHA.
Luckily, there are many ways to get your kids their daily dose of omega 3’s which are simple, creative and most importantly, delicious!
According the the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics (AND), the current Recommended Adequate Intakes of omega-3s for kids are:
- 0 to 12 months: 500 milligrams/day
- 1 to 3 years: 700 milligrams/day
- 4 to 8 years: 900 milligrams/day
- 9 to 13 years (boys): 1200 milligrams/day
- 9 to 13 years (girls): 1000 milligrams/day
- 14 to 18 years (boys): 1600 milligrams/day
- 14 to 18 years (girls): 1100 milligrams/day
To meet the daily needs of omega-3 fats for kids, look for these food sources:
- Canned light tuna (avoid albacore varieties as it is high in mercury)
- Whole eggs
- Chia seed
- Hemp seeds
- Brussel sprouts
- Algal Oil
3 Simple Tips to Incorporate Omega 3’s Daily
- Make salmon for dinner at least 2x a week
- You could even pair with Brussel sprouts for more omega 3’s
- Add chia, ground flax and/or hemp seeds to a smoothie
- Smoothies are great as a breakfast and/or snack option
- Here’s a quick recipe!
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 Tbsp. hemp seeds
- 1 Tbsp. sunflower butter (can sub for peanut or almond butter)
- 1 banana (try freezing some bananas for a creamier texture)
- 1 handful of blueberries
- Pack walnuts as an afternoon snack while at school
- Or toss a handful in some Greek yogurt for added protein
Health Benefits of Omega 3’s
- Brain Health
- Supports memory, learning, attention and focus
- Strengthening the Immune System
- Helping the body identify and eliminate pathogens for effectively
- Improve muscle growth in athletes
- Due to enhanced protein metabolism
- Prevent muscle loss while injured