Fish is one of the most important foods for good heart health – and nearly everyone should eat it more often.
The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two 3.5 oz. servings of fish per week, (for reference, a deck of cards is about 3 ounces.)
Oily fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines are especially rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which may help protect your heart and reduce your risk for stroke and could have other health benefits. Fish is also packed with protein and is often lower in calories and saturated fat compared to other animal protein foods like meat.
But if you are like most Americans, you probably aren’t eating fish twice a week. Here are some tips to help you enjoy it more often, even if you aren’t a big fish fan:
Best Bargains – Eating good fish doesn’t have to be expensive! If you live near a fish market, look for the daily special on sale. At the grocery store, visit the freezer section for frozen fillets. Most fish is flash frozen on the boat, minutes after being caught, which helps keep in stay fresh. Canned fish like tuna, salmon and sardines are also budget friendly choices; choose no added salt or low sodium options.
Start Mild – Choose mild white fish like flounder, tilapia or cod. Chop up fresh herbs and garlic; sprinkle on fish with olive oil and pan fry or bake until it flakes easily with a fork.
Have Your Cake – Instead of a crab cake, form a patty with chunks of cooked salmon or cod, cooked grated potatoes, chopped onions and fresh dill for a delicious change from a hamburger. Canned tuna or salmon work well in this type of recipe, too.
Bread and Bake – If you don’t like the texture of fish, try different coatings like crushed corn flakes, breadcrumbs or crushed unsalted nuts. First, dip strips or cubes of fish in whole-wheat flour, then egg whites and lastly, in your favorite breading. Place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray and bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.
Go Ethnic – Think about your favorite cuisines for ideas on how to flavor fish. Try Italian ingredients like no added salt chunky tomato sauce or go Mexican and make fish tacos with spicy salsa. Try a low sodium teriyaki or soy sauce for a Japanese twist.
Article copyright © 2012 American Heart Association. This article is brought to you by the American Heart Association’s Simple Cooking with Heart Program. For more articles and simple, quick and affordable recipes, visit heart.org/simplecooking.