Fish oil is an excellent source of essential Omega-3 fatty acids, which optimize overall health, immune system and brain function, but is often lacking in many people's diets. However, it doesn’t taste very good, especially to kids. There are liquid gel capsules available that completely hide the taste, but some children are too young to take them without choking, or have difficulty swallowing them. Fortunately, it is possible to disguise the taste of the oil so your child will take it in liquid form.
Start with a fruit-flavored fish oil if you think your child will like it. It is now available in flavors, such as orange, lemon or strawberry, which are supposed to make them more palatable for children, but some parents say their kids still don’t like it. If you’d rather bypass the additives, choose a plain fish oil.
Keep the bottle in the refrigerator, as the taste isn’t as strong when it is cold.
Put the oil inside a peanut butter sandwich. Either add a few drops directly to the bread before adding the filling, or mix the oil into a small amount of butter, peanut butter or jam before spreading it on the bread. Be sure that your child eats the whole sandwich in order to get the full dose. If you’re not sure that he is hungry enough, only put the oil on half a sandwich and feed him that half first. Since peanut butter has a strong taste of its own, and mixes well with oil, chances are he’ll never even notice that the fish oil is there.
Mix the oil into your child’s favorite food that she eats with a spoon. You can do this on days when you are not serving peanut butter sandwiches, or if your child doesn’t like to eat them. Good choices for this approach are applesauce, yogurt, cottage cheese, ice cream, pudding or mashed potatoes. Mix the oil well into the food so that it can’t be tasted, and use enough food that the flavor of the oil is hidden. However, don’t give her so much that she can’t finish the serving, or she won’t be getting her full dose.
Stir the oil into your child’s fruit juice if he doesn’t eat foods that are good for disguising it. Apple, orange or grape juice work well. If it’s a fruit-flavored oil, choose a complementary fruit-flavored juice so they are not overpowering each other. Put the juice and fish oil into a glass, and mix it well with a spoon, or use a beverage shaker if you prefer. Only serve a small amount of juice so the whole dose gets consumed.
Make a fruit smoothie for variety, or if none of the simpler options work. Put your child’s favorite fruit--such as fresh or frozen bananas, berries or a mixture--along with yogurt or milk and some ice in a blender. Add the dose of fish oil, and blend. Be sure the smoothie is not too big, as you want your child to drink all of it.