Loved children’s classic: how (unhealthy) are fish fingers?

Updated on 29/04/2022 10:42

  • A rule of thumb is that children should eat fish once a week.
  • Fishing fingers are a popular choice among parents.
  • It shows what’s inside and how well cheap variants perform a study of “Öko-Test”.

You can find more nutrition topics here

A delicate fish filling encased in a golden crunchy coating: What tastes delicious and feels good in the mouth is popular with children. No adult needs to worry that there may be fish waste in it: classic fish fingers are made up of 65 percent pure saithe or Alaska saithe, according to a study by “Öko-Test” in late 2020.

Fish fingers: The problem lies in the breading

The answer to the question of whether fish fingers are healthy is: “yes”. For the disadvantage lies primarily in the breading, which absorbs fat during frying in the pan. It turns the chopsticks into a calorie bomb: according to “Öko-Test”, five pieces already contain 17 grams of fat, which is equivalent to a third of the recommended daily amount for children.

Also read: Cooking healthy – these tools are especially easy

Cooking in the oven, on the other hand, is lower in fat because it saves on the extra frying fat. Parents can also adjust the vitamin and calorie content of the meal with the accompaniment: Potatoes and fresh vegetables or raw vegetables are a better choice than frozen fries or mashed potatoes from the bag.

Fish should be on the table once a week

The fish in the sticks are generally healthy for children. This should be on your menu once a week. It is the main supplier of iodine that the consumer advice emphasizes in its guide “Bear-strong baby food”.

Fish also contains important proteins and omega-3 fatty acids. They protect the cardiovascular system. They also support the growth and development of the brain. Omega-3 fatty acids also form proteins in the body that affect muscle function as well as inflammatory and immune reactions.

The long-chain omega-3 fatty acids are particularly beneficial to the organism. However, they are found especially in fatty fish, which do not include the toughness used in fish fingers. Fatty fish are salmon, mackerel or herring. At that point, Captain Iglo’s salmon fishing rods may be a healthier alternative. They scored “very well” in the Öko-Test, but contain only 50 percent salmon.

Also cheap fishing rods “very good”

So what are the best fishing fingers for parents to buy? In their study, the consumer lawyers from “Öko-Test” 2020 have tested the fish fingers of 19 manufacturers in relation to, among other things, harmful substances, taste and sensory properties as well as sustainability. Many products from discount stores like Lidl and Penny, including cheap ones, scored “very well”. But according to “Öko-Test”, others were noticed by an increased level of fat contaminant 3-MCPD, including the fish fingers of Captain Iglo and Eismann.

The problem: In animal experiments, 3-MCPD and its esters (a product of an acid and an alcohol, editor’s note) caused damage to the kidneys in particular. The European Food Safety Authority has therefore set a maximum daily intake. Therefore, children weighing 30 kilos would eat more if they ate five of the fish fingers from Iglo or Eismann, according to the experts at “Öko-Test”.

Make clean fish tasty for children

The healthiest option, however, is to serve the offspring’s fish without a crispy coating. It is important to present the food in an appealing way to the little ones, for example by putting a face of peppers or berries on the fish. A delicious dip can also increase enjoyment. In addition, the consumer advice in its guide emphasizes that an attractive table atmosphere and beautiful decoration can affect children’s eating habits. That way, quarrels and unpleasant topics should be avoided during the meal.

Parental role model function is also important. They need to show that they take the time to eat and stay seated at the table. Looking at the cell phone or the newspaper while eating is taboo. If you enjoy your healthy food visibly and in peace, the little ones may do the same.

It can also have a positive effect if the children are involved in the preparation of the meal and thus can develop a relationship with food. It can be useful to discuss the meal plan with boys and girls, accept wishes and together develop healthy options.

Sources used:

  • “Eco-Test”: Fishing rod test: Many are contaminated with fat contaminants
  • Consumer Advice Center: Bear-strong baby food
  • German Society for Nutrition: Fish on the table regularly!

In the restaurant, guests will often find the addition “Müllerin Art” or “blue” on the menu for fish dishes. This indicates the different ways to prepare. In the video, we explain what fish lovers can expect from these two dishes.

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