New 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines Reveal Americans of All Ages Need to Eat More Seafood
Experts urge caregivers to introduce foods rich in omega-3s, like seafood, to babies beginning around age 6 months
Washington, DC – December 29, 2020 – The United States Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) highlight the benefits of eating seafood beginning at around age 6 months and continuing through all stages of life. The latest DGA recommend Americans of all ages—particularly kids and pregnant women—eat seafood at least twice weekly, a goal that 94% of children and 80% of adults currently do not meet.
Versatile and convenient, seafood provides numerous health benefits throughout the entire life span. The DGA encourage that adults and children eat seafood 2-3 times each week for the following benefits:
• Seafood consumed regularly during pregnancy can help with brain development in babies.
• Seafood starting at around age 6 months provides critical nutrients like iron, omega-3s and choline that support brain development and immunity for babies and toddlers. Additionally, starting seafood early can also help shape lifelong taste preferences, as well as healthful food choices.
• For adults, seafood provides protein, calcium and vitamin D, which help strengthen bones and maintain muscle mass.
“The biggest takeaway for me from the updated Guidelines is to start serving seafood early,” said Rima Kleiner, MS, RD, registered dietitian with the National Fisheries Institute. “Learning to love seafood as a child is the gift that keeps on giving because of its lifetime of health benefits. Now, we need to get to work inspiring people with delicious ideas for how to eat more fish.”
USDA recommends families start simple when working toward meeting the new Dietary Guidelines by merely keeping seafood on hand. “Seafood, such as canned salmon, tuna or crab and frozen fish, is quick and easy to prepare,” USDA advises, a point particularly relevant during the pandemic when grocery runs may be fewer and farther between.
Another resource for family-friendly seafood meal ideas is NFI’s award-winning Dish on Fish blog and the newly-launched free e-cookbook, “Everyday Seafood,” which contains 53 original, kid-approved and easy-to-cook seafood recipes. “Because of the pandemic, more Americans are eating at home and trying recipes and dishes they may not have made in the past, including fish,” said Kleiner. “We hope to build on this momentum by offering tips, tricks and recipes designed for all levels of home cooks, types of cooking appliances and taste preferences. There are so many paths by which people can meet the DGA recommendation of 2-3 seafood meals per week.”