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Diet Tips for Fish, Omega 3's

Written by Diet Bites

Are you getting enough fish in your daily diet plan?

How many times per week should you include fish and shellfish on your meal plate as the main protein? If you answered two times per week, good for you!

Some fish are fattier than others but that oil lodged inside provides healthy Omega 3 benefits, particularly to the heart. Studies indicate that individuals who consume about eight ounces of fish and shellfish each week are less likely to develop heart disease than those who don't.

Omega 3's also support the development of the nervous system in infants and children. Children should also have fish on their plate two times a week and the choices should be from the lower mercury species.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, get with your doctor to see which fish is recommended, as well as the amount.

Be very careful about some of the larger species of fish during this time as the mercury can impact the development of your baby.

As to serving sizes, a small can of drained tuna ranges from three to four ounces. A salmon steak ranges from four to six ounces. One small trout is about three ounces.

Mercury & Fish Concerns

You should eat a variety of fish and shellfish, including specimens that are more substantial in Omega 3's as well as lower in mercury content such as Atlantic mackerel, Pacific mackerel, herring, salmon, sardines and trout.

Canned white tuna is a rich source of Omega 3's but the darker tuna is lower in mercury content.

Shellfish which is rich in Omega 3's include: clams, mussels, calamari (squid), and oysters. Most of these specimens go exceptionally well with fresh whole grain pasta.

Locking In Flavor Without Adding Fat: Cooking Methods

The manner in which we prepare our foods, or how they arrive on the table whether dining at home or at a restaurant influence the vitamin and mineral content, as well as the flavors and textures of the food.

Because fish is a bit fatty from the get-go, cooking methods that work best are those which don't incorporate the use of additional fat - including grilling, broiling, roasting (pan roasting as well as oven roasting) and baking.

If you add breading and batters, then fry the fish in fat - this is just one example of the end result. Three ounces of pollock contain 78 calories in its raw state. A fast food entree of the same species of fish which has been dipped in batter and fried contains five times the calories at 400 calories versus 78.

If you wish to add flavor to your fish, add spices and herbs - whether fresh or dried. All of the following spices and herbs compliment fish quite well: dill, ground cumin, ground sage, bay leaf, paprika, lemon pepper and ground chili powder. Keep sodium (salt) within reason but be generous with the cracked pepper if you wish. Other great natural flavorings for fish include citrus juices, particularly those from the lemon and lime.

As to creamy sauces - you don't want to add those either. Allow the rich flavor of the fish to shine through your Meal Plate.

Cook shrimp, scallops and lobster to 145 degrees or until it flakes using a fork. They should be opaque in color when they are done - a milky white hue.

The next time that you visit your fish market, ask that your favorite shellfish be steamed; there are often many flavors that you can choose from that can transform the flavor of the shellfish.

Fantastic meal suggestions for fish include: Fish Tacos, Fish Wraps using a whole grain wrap as well as the great old-fashioned tuna sandwiches. The tuna tends to contain far less sodium content than deli meats. Opt for the varieties packed in spring water rather than those packed in oil.

Fresh Fish Versus Canned

When fresh fish isn't available or is too expensive, stroll down the canned food section at your market. Salmon, sardines, crab and tuna are there waiting for you. While they are generally in chunk or flake form you can add them to casseroles or create delicious fish patties.

When fresh shellfish is available - specifically clams, mussels and oysters, make sure that they don't clamp shut when they are tapped. If they do, you need to toss them because they may not be safe to eat. After the cooking process, also toss out any shells that did not open.

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