My last post was titled “Cave Babies Learn to Fish,” so it’s only appropriate that my long desired post on sardines follows close behind! Yes, I’ve been wanting to discuss these tiny fish for quite some time because I think they deserve more attention – nutritionally that is. And funny that the longer I’ve procrastinated on this short post, the more stories I have to share from my itty bitty sardine connoisseurs.
I certainly don’t remember eating sardines as a little girl, but I have learned to like them in my 30s. They are power-packed with healthy fats, and vitamins and minerals that can be hard to get outside of supplementation. As is often proclaimed in the paleo-sphere: if you want healthy bones, eat bones (tiny they must be, or simmered in broth). If you want healthy skin, eat the components of skin (or the skin or sardines). And if you want to save pennies, eat real food and skip the supplements.
My boys must have a natural inclination. They must intuitively know that great things will come from eating these canned creatures. Because this is one food I didn’t push on them.
One of my favorite moments was a few months ago – coming home to a frustrated husband who was cleaning up sardine remnants splattered across the kitchen counter and floor. “The boys decided to help themselves to some sardines and now look at this mess, he said.” Mess?? What mess? Instead of Cheetos and soda (not that we have these items) they voluntarily ate sardines and you are worried about the mess?
A mess is one thing, but the smell can be another. My six year old participated in an early summer ice hockey camp this year where the kids were encouraged to bring a small healthy snack with them. “Mom, I want to bring a can of sardines.” Are you sure? Where do you eat snack? Inside or outside? “Inside.” Well, sardines can be a little messy (and stinky I was thinking). Maybe we could have them after camp. “No, Mom, I really want to bring sardines.” Ok. So, off he went with the tin in his bag. When I picked him up after camp I asked how his snack was. “Good. But, I don’t think my friends liked it. They were mad that it smelled like sardines.”
My last primal kid sardine story took place a couple months ago. My husband and I were having a meeting with a few friends who’s kids were also over playing. It was getting close to lunch time and the Littles were getting hungry. “I got it, Mom. I’ll get some food for everyone.” Out of the pantry came canned tuna, sardines, kale chips and dried apples!!! What?! I wonder what his little friends were thinking. Proud mommy at least. Here’s the aftermath.
I’m not expecting those of you with kids to start sending them to school with sardines, but if you are open to the idea of adding them into your diet, I think you will benefit. I like to buy mine in water, making sure they are wild caught. I usually eat them right out of the can as a snack or top them on a big salad for lunch.
Along with the motivation of not forgetting the stories of my itty bitty’s, came a great blog post and short video from one of my favorite paleo enthusiasts, Liz Wolfe (author of Eat the Yolks and blogger at Real Food Liz) on this very topic. Check it out HERE! for some additional tips.
Those of you who already eat sardines, what’s your favorite way to prepare them?