Tilapia is Fish Kids Eat

Microwave Tilapia

  • 4 5-7 oz. fresh Tilapia fillets
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 Tbls. butter
  • 2 Tbls. lemon juice
  • ½ cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/8 tsp paprika

Melt butter in microwave and add lemon juice. Place fish in a pyrex and brush butter/lemon juice mixture over fish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, bread crumbs, and paprika. Cover with a paper towel and microwave for 4-5 minutes, until fish flakes with a fork.

We know we're supposed to eat more fish, but how do you get kids to eat fish? The answer is to feed them fish that doesn't taste fishy! Tilapia is cheap, easy to cook, and best of all mild. I swore to my children I would never make them eat fish sticks. There are just too many bad memories of mushy fishy patties. But we've got to have fish in our diets. Bless the day I found my first inexpensive box - yes box! - of Tilapia.

What is Tilapia?

Most tilapia you get at the grocery store is farm-raised fish. It is fairly bland tasting so you can dress it up however you like. The texture is soft, almost like sole, but stays together enough to be fried. It is a lean fish, but moist and delicate. (Weight Watchers point counters will love that a fillet is only two points!)

Best of all it's inexpensive. You can find frozen, farm-raised Tilapia anywhere from $3 to $8 dollars per pound, depending on quantity. I buy a box at Wal-Mart for $9 with about 15 - 20 fillets inside. They come individually vacuum packed so you can pull out just what you need. They thaw quickly on the counter too.

If your kids still resist, Tilapia has another parental benefit. It's so subtle, you could flake it and sneak it into something else!

Fried Tilapia

My kids call this one 'Best Fish'.

  • 4 5-7 oz. fresh Tilapia fillets
  • salt & pepper
  • olive oil spray
  • olive oil for frying - as much or little as you like
  • ½ cup seasoned bread crumbs

Spray fish with olive oil spray, coat with bread crumbs. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and fry for 2 minutes per side. That's it!

Tilapia with Tomatoes, Olives, & Garlic

  • 4 5-7 oz. fresh Tilapia fillets
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup olives - any kind you like - greek, black, green, etc.
  • ¼ cup capers
  • 2-3 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 Tbls. olive oil

Cut the tomatoes and olives in half and cook with garlic, capers and olive for 5 minutes on medium heat - until tomatoes start to soften. Add fish and cover, cooking for 5 more minutes until fish flakes with a fork. This dish is great with couscous or rice to sop up the sauce.

How to Cook Tilapia

Tilapia can be cooked almost as many ways as chicken and it's even easier for kids to eat. You can't mess it up and it doesn't get fishy tasting even when overcooked. The quickest and easiest way to prepare it is to put some butter and lemon juice on top and pop it into the microwave for four or five minutes.

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6 comments

Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

I love these recipes. I really like tilapia. Bookmarking these! and I don't know what those comments are about tilapia being bad for the heart. Where did that come from??? Tilapia is great!


Chin chin profile image

Chin chin 7 years ago from Philippines

Those are very informative comments. It's nice to know I and my kids don't have to stop eating tilapia. We love it and we eat it in moderation. Thanks also Lela for sharing the ways of cooking tilapia.


Lela Davidson profile image

Lela Davidson 7 years ago from Bentonville, Arkansas Author

Well, thanks, Yummy Fish. I believe just about everything is good in moderation. Tilapia is no different. I just really like this fish because it's got a very mild taste that kids don't seem to mind.


Yummy fish 7 years ago

So you dont have to stop unless...

New research suggests the combination could be particularly bad for patients with heart disease, arthritis, asthma and other diseases involving overactive inflammatory responses.

Geez Catherine you could have said it nicer...here she is a mother just trying to feed her kids what she thought was good for them.

Miss Know it all comes along with a smug comment. She is only doing what she thought was best.

And according to the new studies it is only for people with problems as stated above.


Yummy fish 7 years ago

Font Size A A A Popular Tilapia Might Not Help Heart Heart Disease (Coronary Artery Disease) Slideshow

By Amanda GardnerHealthDay Reporter

Latest Heart News Gender May Influence Heart Failure TreatmentSalt May Restrict Blood Flow to HeartKidney, Heart Problems May Be LinkedAngioplasty Via Wrist May Be SaferMRI Scans Reveal Post-Heart Attack BleedingWant More News? Sign Up for MedicineNet Newsletters!

FRIDAY, July 11 (HealthDay News) — The wildly popular farm-raised fish known as tilapia may actually harm your heart, thanks to low levels of healthy omega-3 fatty acids and high levels of unhealthy omega-6 fatty acids.

New research suggests the combination could be particularly bad for patients with heart disease, arthritis, asthma and other diseases involving overactive inflammatory responses.

"If you're in a vulnerable population such as a heart disease patient, you need to be very careful with what you're eating, and that includes everything," said senior study author Dr. Floyd H. Chilton, director of Wake Forest Center for Botanical Lipids, in Winston-Salem, N.C. "But when it comes to fish, there's not a more important thing you can do for heart disease than eat the right type of fish or take dietary fish oil. There is evidence that you may harm yourself by eating the wrong kind of fish, and [farmed] tilapia and catfish are the two that fall into that category."

"I don't think that this is an issue for everyone, any more than eating a hamburger is an issue for everyone," Chilton added.

The study was published in the July issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

As for suppliers, "the industry needs to improve ways of farming fish," said Katherine Tallmadge, a national spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. "The whole idea of farming is a great one, but they're feeding the fish food that's inexpensive, so they can keep the price down, and it's having an adverse effect on the nutritional quality of the fish."

Several health groups, including the American Heart Association, recommend eating two servings of fish a week, preferably fatty fish such as salmon. The reason: primarily to increase omega-3 fatty acids.

But no one has really looked at the nutritional effect of an explosion in farmed fish (increasing at an annual rate of 9.2 percent, compared with 1.4 percent for wild fish). In particular, inexpensive tilapia is exploding in popularity.

This study used gas chromatography to analyze the fatty acid composition of 30 widely consumed farmed and wild fish.

Farmed trout and Atlantic salmon had relatively good concentrations of "good" omega-3 fatty acids compared with "bad" omega-6 fatty acids.

Farm-raised tilapia and catfish, on the other hand, had troubling ratios.

Tallmadge recommends looking for wild fish. Wild salmon, even canned wild salmon, has high levels of omega-3s and is an excellent source of protein. "It can be fairly economical," she said. "I buy frozen salmon at Trader Joe's for about $7 a pound, that's $2 a serving."

Concentrate on cold-water fish such as salmon, rainbow trout, sardines, tuna and anchovies, all of which have healthy fats, added Marianne Grant, a health educator with Texas A&M Health Science Centers Coastal Bend Health Education Center, in Corpus Christi.

"In the 1970s, we lost the ability to feed the planet with fish we catch," Chilton said. "Farm-raised fish has to be part of our future, but we must do it correctly. We must feed animals the correct foods. Animals become what we feed them, and we become what we eat as well. The food chain is fairly consistent."

SOURCES: Floyd H. Chilton, Ph.D., professor, physiology and pharmacology, and director, Wake Forest Center for Botanical Lipids, Winston-Salem, N.C.; Katherine Tallmadge, R.D., national spokeswoman, American Dietetic Association, Washington, D.C.; Marianne Grant, R.D., L.D., health educator, Texas A&M Health Science Center Coastal Bend Health Education Center, Corpus Christi; July 2008, Journal of the American Dietetic Association


cathrine 8 years ago

Yeah, well, Tilapia and catfish (farmed) are two fish you need to AVOID. Tilapia causes heart problems and you better stop feeding you and your kids this heart problem fish!

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