Friday, March 15, 2013

Awesome Ikura: A Shockingly Perfect Toddler Treat

I've talked a lot about how selective Aias is with eating and how stressful that is for everyone, himself included.  Trying to get protein or actual nutrients into him is a constant uphill battle. However, every once in a while the universe throws us a bone.  This time, it's in form of a very unusual "safe food" that Aias has been willing to eat for quite some time now.

The food is: IKURA!  Ikura is a form of nigiri sushi that is made up of rice wrapped in seaweed and then topped with salmon roe (eggs).  Not exactly a crunchy beige food, right?

We think the reason Aias likes Ikura is that the little balls are bright orange and round which make them basically look like a gummy candy, but they are salty in taste like the savoury foods he likes.  They are on top of rice which is a safe food at times, and wrapped in seaweed which is another strange food Aias seems to accept from time to time.

Aias had his first Ikura a little over a year ago but we never really persisted with it.  About 3 months ago we started to introduce it again, and he's accepted it almost 90% of the time, I'd say.  Sometimes he only has a few bites of one, but now more and more often he's willing to eat 1-5 of them in a sitting.  This is basically amazing, because even if he eats nothing else all day, at least we know he has the nutrients from the rice and the protein and omega-3 from the eggs themselves.

A few weeks ago I casually Googled the benefits of salmon roe, and I was really excited to come across this article which says that Salmon Roe is "unsurpassed for nourishing the brain" and goes on to say:

"Salmon roe has the highest level of omega 3 of any other food.  The omega 3 fats (EPA and DHA) in one ounce of salmon roe equate to 1800 mg.  This is 3.5 times the amount in salmon (from the highest omega 3 species).
In addition to being rich in brain fats, salmon roe is rich in antioxidants and fat-soluble vitamins including high levels of vitamins C, D and E, thiamine, folate, vitamin B12 and selenium.  Fish eggs are also high in protein, with one ounce of salmon roe containing 6 grams of protein.  It is also a good source of cholesterol for those children who are allergic to chicken eggs."
I had no idea it was this awesome, I was just impressed he was eating anything that contained any amount of protein!

We've been getting Aias ikura every day for about 10 days now.  He will sometimes eat only one, and one day he actually ate seven of them!  To make them even healthier we often order them with brown rice.  We're lucky enough to live within walking distance of dozens of really fairly priced sushi restaurants.  The price of a single ikura ranges from $1.25 a piece to up to $3.50 a piece.  Buying the eggs at a Japanese food store is another option, but we don't bother since the trouble of getting there and then keeping the eggs fresh just isn't worth it when you can buy them pre-made so cheaply.

If you have a picky eater, give these a try.  You may be surprised!

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