As a busy family, trying to find that balance between taste, convenience and nutritional value is a challenge. Sure, we’d all like to eat home-cooked meals every night that are packed with everything – and more – of what we need each day, but that’s not always practical when you have young kid(s) and are dealing with life.
As I’ve written about before, on the whole I like to think that we eat well as a family. There are the odd takeaways and can’t be arsed meals, but we do alright generally. Most of what we eat is freshly prepared at home with plenty of vegetables and we stay away from overly processed food.
I discovered last year that this isn’t always enough though – my Omega-3 levels were low. I had the fatty acid composition in my blood analysed to calculate my score on the Omega-3 Index – that’s the percentage of Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) in the body’s red blood cells. My score of 4.1 indicated that I was a “cause for concern”, so I took Seven Seas Omega-3 supplements for a three-month period. On having my blood analysed again, the supplements had increased my Omega-3 Index to a remarkable 7.3. (Read more about the experiment here and here).
What this showed was that I – and we as a family – wasn’t getting anywhere near enough Omega-3 in my diet. So, since the experiment, I’ve continued to take the Seven Seas Omega-3 supplements and we’ve started L on the preschooler equivalent. This has included Haliborange Omega-3 & Multivitamins Softies, and most recently, Haliborange Omega-3 Orange Syrup. The latter is an orange flavoured liquid food supplement with Omega-3 DHA and Vitamins A, C, D and E to support normal brain function, vision, the immune system and normal growth, among other things.
In addition, we’ve also attempted to get more oily fish into our diets – oily fish being a great source of DHA Omega-3 fats. This has meant swapping a meat like chicken for a fish like salmon, as well as substituting something like tinned tuna for tinned mackerel. Although I definitely prefer meat to fish, I’ve enjoyed the recent months where we’ve added more oily fish to our diet.
In reality, this hasn’t required much of a change when cooking food – we’ll often just make the same dish we would have done, but, for instance, use prawns rather than pork. We’ve just had to get into the habit of adding more fish to our weekly food shops – something we’ve done by buying frozen and tinned fish. Personally, I’ve found the food to be as nice, but there’s the added benefit of knowing you’re having Omega-3 rich food – something I knew I was lacking.
If, like us, you know you’re lacking oily fish in your diets, I’m sharing three recipes that have worked really well over the last few months. Not only are these tasty, but they’ve been a big hit with a sometimes fussy-eating L – the fact that she’s more than happy to eat these Omega-3 rich meals shows that they must be pretty good! Below, you’ll find recipes for Salmon Fish Cakes, Mackerel Tomato Pasta and a Mixed Fish Pie:
Salmon Fish Cakes
- 2 x salmon fillets (fresh or defrosted from frozen)
- 1 x tin of tuna (drained)
- 2 x spring onions (chopped)
- 2 x slices of bread (turned into breadcrumbs in food processor)
- 1 x tbsp sweet chilli sauce
- 2 x tbsp plain flour
1) Put the salmon, tuna, spring onions, breadcrumbs and sweet chilli sauce into a mixing bowl. Using hands, mix all of the ingredients together until everything is broken up and combined.
2) Shape the mixture into eight equal-sized fishcakes and place on a plate.
3) Dust the flour over both sides of the fishcakes.
4) Put the fishcakes into the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.
5) Heat some oil in a frying pan, put the fishcakes into the pan and cook on a low to medium heat for around five minutes on each side.
6) Serve (with chosen side dish, e.g. vegetables, beans, wedges etc) and enjoy!
Mackerel Tomato Pasta
- 2 x tins of boneless and skinless mackerel in tomato sauce
- 1 x pepper (chopped)
- 1 x onion (diced)
- 1 x tin chopped tomatoes
- 2 x cloves of garlic (crushed)
- 75g mixed vegetables (frozen)
- 2 x tbsp tomato puree
- 150g dried pasta
- 75g cheddar cheese (grated)
1) Heat some oil in a frying pan, then add the onion and pepper. Fry on a low to medium heat for 3 minutes.
2) Add the crushed garlic. Mix and fry for 1 minute.
3) Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, mackerel (with sauce) and the frozen vegetables. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Mix the ingredients and simmer for around 15 minutes.
4) Put the pasta into a pan, cover with water and cook for required time depending on the pasta.
5) Drain the pasta, add to the frying pan and stir to mix.
6) Serve, sprinkle with cheese, eat and enjoy!
Mixed Fish Pie
- 400g fish pie mix [e.g. cod, haddock, salmon] (defrosted from frozen)
- 250g large prawns (defrosted from frozen)
- 1/2 lemon (juice)
- 300ml crème fraîche
- 2 x spring onions (chopped)
- 2 x cloves of garlic (crushed)
- 2 tbsp cornflour or plain flour
- 500g potatoes (cut into cubes)
- 50g cheddar cheese
1) Put the potatoes into a pan, cover with water and boil for 15 minutes until soft.
2) Heat some oil in a frying pan, then add the fish and prawns. Cook on a low to medium heat for 2 minutes.
3) Add the garlic and spring onions, then cook for a further minute.
4) Add 3/4 of the crème fraîche and the juice from 1/2 a lemon. Simmer for three minutes, then add the flour to thicken the sauce.
5) Pour the fish pie filling into an oven proof dish and set aside.
6) Drain the potatoes and crush with a potato masher. Add the remaining crème fraîche and cheese, then mash further until smooth.
7) Layer the mash potato onto the pie filling and smooth with a fork.
8) Place the dish into the oven and cook at 180 degrees C for 20 minutes or until the potato on top begins to brown.
9) Serve and enjoy!
Disclosure: This is a commissioned post in collaboration with Haliborange.
*Vitamin A: helps support normal vision, Vitamin C: helps support the immune system, Vitamin D: essential for the normal growth and development of bones in children, Vitamin B12: contributes to normal energy release. Food supplements do not replace a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.