Reel in the Benefits of Seafood

Sara Dow is a ACE Certified Weight Management and Fitness Nutrition Specialist. She is also a ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Small Group Trainer at the Y. Twice a month, her blog posts will feature nutrition education, a healthy recipe she has tried and loves, and tips to help you achieve your health goals, as well as answers centered around a nutrition question from a Y member.

Seafood provides benefits at every stage of life, yet only 1 in 5 Americans consume the recommended 6-8oz per week.  The main barrier is intimidation, as many people don’t know how to prepare seafood.  Incorporating more seafood into the diet doesn’t have to be complicated!  Here are some simple tips to get you started.

  • Designate one day a week when seafood is on the menu. Maybe it’s “Fish Friday” or “Seafood Sunday.”   Having a set time on the schedule helps build the habit. 
  • Plan ahead so seafood is a convenient option. I like to cook salmon and whole grains such as brown rice or quinoa on weekends and freeze them in individual portions.  I pair it with a side salad and fresh fruit on a busy weeknight for a quick and balanced dinner. 
  • Purchase pre-seasoned salmon to take the guesswork out of preparation. This can be a great place to start and build confidence until you’re ready to experiment with your favorite herbs and spices. My favorite is ALDI’s Mediterranean Herb salmon in the fresh seafood section.

Seafood isn’t just for adults! Seafood is shown to improve focus and behavior in school-aged children. It provides omega-3 fatty acids for strong bones, brain development, and a healthy immune system.  You can make simple homemade fish sticks by coating a mild fish such as cod or haddock in panko breadcrumbs or crushed cornflakes.

Do you have a family history of macular degeneration?  Seafood is good for the eyes! Frozen seafood is just as nutritious as fresh seafood and can be stored in the freezer for a year or more! Canned tuna is an economical seafood option and can be stored in the pantry for up to five years. Add a can of tuna to low-sodium tomato sauce and serve over whole-grain pasta for a fiber and protein-rich meal.

Does heart disease run in your family?   The American Heart Association weekly to reduce the risk of congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, ischemic stroke, and sudden cardiac death. If you love burgers, try swapping out beef for salmon.  If you’re a taco fan, mahi-mahi, cod, and haddock are heart-healthy choices. 

A Healthy Recipe…

Salmon Salad by Sara Dow

This salad is packed with protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.  


  • 2 cups mixed salad greens
  • 4 oz cooked salmon (delicious pre-seasoned options are available in most grocery stores, or experiment with using your favorite herb and spice blends)
  • 1 Tbsp walnuts or pecans
  • 1 Tbsp pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

Additional toppings: Diced tomatoes, cucumbers, and avocado slices with shredded cheddar cheese (pair nicely with Little Salad Bar Avocado Ranch from ALDI) or crumbled feta cheese (pairs well with balsamic vinegar dressing)

Nutrition information:

Walnuts and salmon are high in heart-healthy essential omega-3 fatty acids.  Salmon is also an excellent source of protein and vitamin B12, low in saturated fat, and rich in potassium, iron, and vitamin D.  Salad greens are high in phytochemicals which research suggests may aid immune function, reduce inflammation, and help regulate hormones. Even a tiny portion of pepitas offers a substantial quantity of zinc and magnesium.  Serve with fresh fruit and a whole grain roll for a delicious, nutritious meal!

Check out this Resource is a non-profit that provides a wealth of resources, including kid-friendly recipes, simple seafood meals you can prepare in 15 minutes or less, and guidance on steps consumers can take to support sustainable seafood.  Refer to their Twice a Week Game Plan for more tips on how you can reel in the benefits of seafood.

About Sara Dow

Hi, I’m Sara and I am passionate about helping people improve their quality of life through the knowledge and practice of good nutrition.  

In 2018, I was inspired by the YMCA community to go back to school and pursue my dream of becoming a registered dietitian. I am now in my senior year, double majoring in Nutrition and Dietetics at Kansas State University.  I am excited to share with you what I am learning. 


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