While I’m visiting here in Luanco, Spain we have the advantage of access to fresh fish every day. Local fishermen go out in their little boats to bring us everything from the sea. The fish market is full of shiny “pescados” to the delight of all of us. Monday is the only day of the week when we don’t have the catch of the day, simply because they don’t go out on Sunday.

Hake is a white fish that is rarely found in the United States but very common in Spain. It resembles cod and it belongs to the same cod family. With about 200 calories per serving and incredible amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids, who needs fish oil supplements when you can have the real thing with an extraordinary taste?

Children, and adults, with a tendency to obesity can count on fish to improve cardiovascular health and brain function.

Preparing a fillet of fish is easy and fast:

hake fishPlace the fillets of hake (or any other white fish) in an oven dish. In a saucepan heat up 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Add ½ onion, cut in small pieces, 2 garlic cloves (minced) and some parsley. Cook for a couple of minutes, until the onion becomes transparent. Add 1 tsp of flour and ¼ cup of water and allow cooking for another 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the fish; pour ¼ cup of white cooking wine over it and place in the oven for 20-30 minutes.

This recipe for vegetable soup is a variant of my own recipe. My mother prepares it without cheese, but my children like it with some Philadelphia cream cheese added.

vegetable soupThe ingredients are very simple: 3 zucchini, 2 potatoes, 1 onion, 2 carrots, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper. Preparing it is even easier: cut up all the vegetables and boil them in a small amount of water. Add the olive oil. It takes about 30 minutes and it is done. Use a hand mixer to blend all together, add salt and pepper and the soup is ready

Zucchini is rich in vitamins and minerals. It contains calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin C, thiamine, niacin, carotenes, lutein, vitamin A and iron.

Potatoes provide even more vitamin C, niacin, magnesium and fiber.

The vegetable soup in this menu provides a meal, as itself, for a toddler. In order to increase the amount of protein and make it more nutritious, add some white Philadelphia cream cheese after cooking the vegetables and before blending.

One of the questions parents ask more frequently during the well-check visit of toddlers is about the need to give vitamin supplements to children. Why add pharmaceutical preparations when we can have the same results with food?

How to deal with the picky eater who refuses to try new food? Don’t give choices and offer food only at mealtime, when the child is hungry.

About the Author

Dr. Katalenas

Dr. Katalenas is a pediatrician and owner of The Pediatric Center of Round Rock and the author of the book "The Step Up Diet: From Scratch… The Quality, Quantity, and Timing Solution to Childhood Obesity", a guide to healthy cooking and eating for busy families.