If you aren’t big into fish, it may be a struggle to get it into your diet. Personally, it has only been in the last ten years or so that I would even entertain ordering cod, sea bass or salmon. Even as a child, tuna sandwiches would turn my stomach and have me running to the bathroom with every mouthful in the hopes I could “feed the toilet.” My mom was too wise for my shenanigans, however, she wasn’t a huge fish fan either (so clearly she should have understood!).
Seafood (both fish and shellfish) is an excellent source of protein and is low in saturated fat. Fish in particular is high in omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) – a healthy fat that benefits the heart – and research shows omega-3s helpful in reducing the risk of heart disease by lowering triglyceride levels, cholesterol and blood pressure. Eating seafood may also help to reduce risk for cancer.
Seafood is rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals – all important to a healthy diet. And it is much lower in calories than meat, pork or poultry, so it helps to keep your caloric intake at a lower level, facilitating weight loss and weight management.
So if you shy away from our aquatic friends, what can you do to get a little more interested? Try a few of these small changes:
- Start with What You DO Like: Some fish is better than no fish. If you like shellfish, capitalize on that. Shellfish is also lowest in contaminant, so are a bit safer than big fish, such as shark, swordfish, bluefin tuna. (Check out this guide)
- Keep it Light: If you don’t eat much today, you might be better off choosing lighter varieties to start. Lighter fish, such as Tilapia and Sole are mild and light. A tasty, and easy way to prepare fresh fish is to put it into a baking dish. Then squeeze fresh lemon over it, and season with fresh dill, salt and pepper. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook for 10 minutes per inch of thickness of fish.
- Keep it Simple: Use canned salmon and canned light tuna. Add a little olive oil, lemon, capers and mustard to make a tasty and healthy salmon or tuna salad. Mix canned fish with raw egg and whole-wheat breadcrumbs, and bake to create fish burgers and fish melts.
- Try Something New Once a Month: Do some research on the various types that exist and try a new one once a month or so to expand your tastes.
- Add to an Already Favorite Dish Toppers: Add shrimp or salmon to a big salad in lieu of the conventional chicken breast or steak. Try linguini with clam sauce. Enjoy a traditional Spanish Paella. Most of these dishes have enough other stuff going on, you won’t feel overwhelmed by the fish components.
Do you like seafood? What kinds do you like the most? Share your tips on easy ways to get more of it into your diet!
Adapted from 52 Small Changes: One Year to a Happier, Healthier You. Make real, lasting change with this easy to follow, week-by-week guide to healthy change. Get it now at Amazon.com.