Unlocking the Benefits of Seafood

A DIVE INTO HEALTHIER LIVING

As we welcome the new year, consider resolving to include more seafood in your diet. Seafood offers benefits at every stage of life. Yet, only 1 in 5 Americans meets the American Heart Association’s recommendation of two weekly servings. The primary obstacle? Intimidation, as many need help with how to prepare seafood. But fear not! Adding more seafood to your diet doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are some straightforward tips to help you get started.

Tips for Easily Incorporating Seafood:

  1. Set a Seafood Schedule:  Choose a day each week dedicated to seafood—perhaps “Fish Friday” or “Seafood Sunday.” This simple step of setting a specific time on your schedule helps in building the habit.
  1. Plan for Convenience:  Make seafood a convenient option by planning. Cook salmon and whole grains on weekends, freeze individual portions, and pair them with a side salad and fresh fruit for a quick and balanced weeknight dinner.
  1. Start with Pre-Seasoned Salmon:  To alleviate the guesswork, start with pre-seasoned salmon. ALDI’s Mediterranean Herb salmon is an excellent beginner’s choice. Gain confidence before experimenting with your favorite herbs and spices.
  1. Embrace Frozen Seafood:  Frozen seafood is just as nutritious as fresh seafood and can be stored in the freezer for a year or more. Stock up during Lent when seafood goes on sale and enjoy year-round.
  1. Canned Tuna for Convenience:  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 protein and fiber-rich meal.

Health Benefits Tailored for You:

Do you have a family history of macular degeneration? The omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon and mackerel are renowned for their vision-boosting properties, contributing to the well-being of the retina and helping protect against age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Does heart disease run in your family? The American Heart Association recommends seafood twice a week to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Swap beef for salmon in burgers or choose heart-healthy options like mahi-mahi, cod, and haddock for tacos.

And let’s not forget the kids! 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. Make simple homemade fish sticks using mild fish like cod or haddock coated in panko breadcrumbs.

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A Healthy Recipe to Get You Started: Salmon Salad by Sara Dow

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

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups mixed salad greens
  • 4 oz cooked salmon (pre-seasoned options available in most grocery stores, or experiment with your favorite herb and spice blends)
  • 1 Tbsp walnuts or pecans
  • 1 Tbsp pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 oz feta or goat cheese crumbles
  • Additional toppings: Diced tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado slices, and olives

Directions:

  1. Start with a bed of mixed salad greens.
  2. Place the cooked salmon on top. If you’re using pre-seasoned salmon, great! If not, try seasoning with your favorite herbs and spices before cooking.
  3. Sprinkle on the walnuts or pecans for a crunchy touch.
  4. Add the pepitas (pumpkin seeds) for extra flavor and nutrition.
  5. Get creative with additional toppings—add diced tomatoes, cucumber or avocado slices, and olives—and sprinkle on some crumbled feta or goat cheese.
  6. Mix it all gently and top with balsamic vinegar dressing.
  7. Enjoy your delicious and nutritious salmon salad!

Check out this Resource to Explore More Seafood Benefits

SeaFoodNutrition.org is a non-profit with kid-friendly recipes, quick seafood meals, and guidance on supporting sustainable seafood. Dive into their “Twice a Week Game Plan” for more tips on reeling in the benefits of seafood.😊

About Sara Dow

Sara is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Nutrition Specialist for the YMCA. In 2018, Sara was inspired by the YMCA community to go back to school and pursue her dream of becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN).  Her monthly blog posts feature evidence-based nutrition information, healthy recipes, and member Q&As. 

Want to level up your nutrition?  Register for a One-On-One Performance Nutrition Workshop with Sara. In this 60-minute session, Sara will provide evidence-based guidelines for pre- and post-workout nutrition specific to your goals, healthy recipes, and practical tips for incorporating real foods into your diet to support optimal performance and recovery. Click here to register today! 

Have a question? Drop Sara a line at [email protected].

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