You’re seriously missing the boat, if you’re one of the 9 out of 10 people who aren’t eating enough fish. Studies show pulling your protein from the water comes with big benefits: Seafood is low in saturated fat and rich in many nutrients, including omega-3’s, vitamin D, iron, and zinc. Omega-3’s are found in every fish, but in particular, fatty ones like salmon, trout, and mackerel have far-swimming benefits—boosting your heart health, improving IQ, mood, and brain function, reducing inflammation, and lowering your risk for many diseases, from diabetes to dementia.
The dietary guidelines and the American Heart Association recommend eating at least 8 ounces of seafood a week. But even eating some fish is better than none. So at least twice a week, push the red and processed meat aside, and make room on your menu for more seafood, to start reeling in the benefits.
Many Fish in the Sea
If you’re fussy about the flavor or texture of seafood, experiment with different types to find the ones you like. White fish tends to be milder in flavor, and may be a good place to start. Raw fish is another good option, and isn’t as scary as it might sound! Even budget-friendly canned options, like tuna, salmon, and sardines, are perfect for quick and easy meals. The superfood heroes are salmon, mackerel, and sardines, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying a variety of fish to get all they have to offer. Shellfish, including shrimp, crab, and mussels, are packed with protein and minerals and also happen to be really low in calories. White fish, like sole and cod, are much lower in total fat, which is great if you’re watching your waistline. And let’s not forget frozen fish, an affordable option that won’t go stinky in the fridge after a few days, and keeps a dose of omega-3’s close at hand.
Concerned about mercury? You can relax. Experts agree, for most seafood, the health benefits outweigh the risks, even for expecting moms and little kids. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, check the FDA’s quick and easy guide, which recommends eating fish low in mercury, like salmon and tilapia, two to three times a week, or tinned tuna once a week, and avoiding fish high in mercury, like shark, swordfish, and a few others.
Worried about the world? Do the right thing and opt for sustainable sources. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch has a comprehensive interactive guide and app to help you find the best choices in your area.
9 Fresh Ways to Eat More Fish
Any fish can be delish, but the way it’s prepared matters. To enhance the delicious texture and maintain health benefits, stick to low-fat cooking methods, like broiling, baking, grilling, and stir-frying, and pass on the battered or crumbed, deep-fried, and processed options. Here are nine swimming ways to get more fish on your dish.
Teriyaki salmon: Even your kids will love this sticky-sweet salmon. Marinate salmon fillets in teriyaki sauce for at least an hour, then sear, broil, or grill on a cedar plank.
Fish cakes: Who says cakes are only for crabs? It’s easy to cook and flake any fish (mahi-mahi is a nice choice) or save some cash and use canned—even your pantry-staple tuna tastes delish in a cake! Combine with mashed sweet potato, a squeeze of lemon, and hint of lemon zest. Shape into patties, coat in beaten egg and whole-wheat breadcrumbs, and lightly pan-fry or bake in the oven.
Sushi rolls or bowls: Impress your friends with homemade sushi. All you need is a sushi rolling mat and a visit to the international section of your supermarket for seaweed and sushi rice. No time or desire to roll? Simply pile all the ingredients into a sushi or poke bowl.
Smoked salmon or sardines on toast: Spread toast with cottage cheese, add slices of smoked salmon, a squeeze of lemon, and a big handful of alfalfa sprouts. Looking to really dive in? Don’t turn your nose up at sardines! These budget-friendly fish are loaded with omega-3’s, and they’re delicious mashed on toast, with a squirt of hot sauce or sriracha.
Salad or sandwich filler: There’s nothing easier than grabbing a can of tuna or salmon and mashing it up with a dollop of low-fat Greek yogurt and chopped pickles. Use a big scoop for a salad topper or as a sandwich filling.
Shrimp noodles or zoodles: Toss zucchini noodles, whole-wheat pasta, or a combo with pesto, and top with grilled shrimp, to make an incredibly quick-and-easy dinner.
Fish tacos: Freshen up Taco Tuesdays by switching out chicken for fish. From salmon to tilapia to shrimp, any fish will work. Fold with veggies and salsa and a big squeeze of lime.
Seafood stew or curry: One-pot meals are the ultimate time savers, and Thai curry paste is a quick trick. Simmer curry paste, veggie stock, and a splash of coconut milk. Then throw in veggies, like pumpkin and sweet pepper, and chunks of fish, like cod or tilapia. Finish with a handful of fragrant basil.
Oven-fried fish and sweet potato chips: Take a firm white fish, like cod, haddock, or pollock, coat in beaten egg and panko breadcrumbs, and bake in the oven until golden brown and crunchy. Serve with baked sweet potato fries and a pile of greens.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.