Make Your Own Lighter and Yummier Fish Sticks

May 29, 2013   12 Comments

Snack Girl happens to love fish, but her son is a bit of a non-believer.

DIY Fish Sticks Recipe

He is the one who starts to complain when you serve food with any color to it. “Mom, what IS this?”, he says. “That’s zucchini, honey.” “YUCK!!!”

Here I am, a healthy eating guru, and my own child gives me grief. Ahhh well.

I decided to make fish sticks because I thought he would eat them without complaint. I didn’t want to buy them because they are typically loaded with sodium and I don’t like the way they taste. (he is not the only picky one in the family)

How did it go? “You are the best mom in the world! I love these. I love macaroni and cheese more so these are my second favorite food.” Hurray! I know it is hard to believe, but he really did say that.

I haven’t featured fish very often because it is expensive. There are all sorts of issues when it comes to sustainability so I chose one that I knew was on the “good” list. Tilapia, farmed in Ecuador and the United States, is approved by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch List which I believe is a reliable source for recommendations.

I bought it at my Stop and Shop for $6 per pound. It is a white fish, very bland, and firm - absolutely perfect for fish sticks! Also, you can’t go wrong with fish - you get your Omega-3 fatty acids - fish is high in protein and low in calories.

You can use this breading below for chicken strips as well for the picky eaters in your life. If you can’t find panko bread crumbs, use the regular ones. I used parchment paper so I wouldn’t have to oil the pan and it is much easier to clean up.

How do you deal with the picky eaters in your family?

Fish Sticks Recipe

1.6 from 21 reviews

Makes 6 servings (about 6 fish sticks each)

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1 ½ pounds tilapia
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
4 egg whites
½ cup grated Parmesan
¾ cup Panko bread crumbs


Preheat oven to 450 F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Dry tilapia with paper towels and slice into 4 inch by ½ inch strips. Put flour in a small bowl. In another small bowl, whip egg whites until frothy with a fork. In a third bowl, mix together panko and Parmesan. Dip strips of fish into flour followed by egg white and finally the panko mixture. Place strip on baking sheet about ½ inch from the next slice of fish.

Bake for 15 minutes. Serve with ketchup or tartar sauce.

These can be made ahead and then reheated in a toaster oven.

Nutrition Facts

243 calories, 5.9 g fat, 3.3 g saturated fat, 15.9 g carbohydrates, 1.0 g sugar, 32.1 g protein, 0.8 g fiber, 351 mg sodium, 6 Points+

Points values are calculated by Snack Girl and are provided for information only. See all Snack Girl Recipes

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Little skeptical of the words fish sticks and yummy in the same sentence but ill store this recipe for once my daughter figures out fish isn't chicken :-)

Oh boy! This sounds pretty good, health- and flavor-wise. We stopped eating fish sticks years ago because there always seemed to be a "sour" taste to them, and having grown up on fresh fish, that was a major turnoff. I can't wait to try this recipe!

Why would you use farmed fish of any kind??

Two questions...Could you do this in a toaster oven, and could you freeze them for later? Glad your son liked them, sometimes feeding children can be a pain. But what is not to love about that recipe? Oops, that's three questions.

Companies try to trick people by slapping a "Responsibly Farmed" sticker on their fish, but that is not the case. Farmed fish is factory farmed, just like CAFO cows, pigs, and chickens. Lots of fish are crammed into a tiny space, they are fed terrible foods like GMO corn and soybean that are obviously not natural to a fish's diet, and they are often fed hormones and antibiotics to make them huge, fast. In the case of "farmed" salmon, they are fed red dye to make them bright pink (as their current conditions give them a sickly, pale color). And like CAFO meat, farmed fish has lower levels of vitamins and minerals, including much level lowers of Omega-3s than wild-caught fishes.

Best to stick to sustainable breeds of wild-caught fish.

I am going to try this soon. I am the picky one about fish, but I do have two picky eaters, and they aren't picky about the same things. I give them several options at dinner, but they have to at least try one bite of what they think is going to be yucky. They are 5 and 6, so it is still hit or miss. My significant other and I have also had conversations with them about how there are kids in our country and around the world that won't have enough to eat for dinner. THey surprisingly understand and at least try to eat most of what is on their plates.

I've made a parmesan tilapia before and loved it, but never thought to turn it into fish sticks. Brilliant!

Currently Black Sea Bass and later summer flounder are readily caught in Cape Cod waters, both are perfect for this recipe.

I tried similar (a slimmed down) technique of Rachel Ray"s with chicken breasts. Slice breast in half lengthwise so it's thinner and cooks faster (hint: This is easier to do with partially frozen meat- as your meat is thawing). Spread alittle mustard on top of each breast. Saute garlic in alittle olive oil- add panko and parm cheese.Season crumbs with salt and pepper, Dip both sides of chicken into mixture . press firmly so crumbs stick.

(i am looking for whole wheat panko to make it even healthier for next time) bake (on silpat if you have one) 350 for 14 mins. Best "healthy dinner" I've made in my life!!

Question: Do you really need the flour and egg whites in this recipe? With the chicken, I just smush on the panko mixture and it sticks.

Feel free to share this recipe- I'm a kindred spirit ;)

I enjoy tilapia but it is not the fish I would pick for Omega 3s. Farm raised tilapia has even less omega 3s than wild since it does not eat plankton and algae but rather soy and corn. Salmon has 10x the amount of Omega 3s.

I am surprised no one has mentioned the omega 6 problem...what a poor choice of fish and your not even paying a good price for yours and that is why most folks have started to buy's usually cheap. Read this...…

I tried this recipe last night and to my complete surprise, my entire family loved it! They are all picky about fish in their own way and I really thought dinner was going to be a disaster. Thanks for the recipe! It's a keeper!

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