Getting Fish into Your Daily Routine

Dr. Geoffrey Harris, MD

Getting fresh fish in your diet can sometimes be difficult. It requires frequent trips to the grocery store to make sure the fish is really fresh and hasn’t been sitting in the refrigerator too long. While getting rid of that fishy smell may be easy, the goal here is making sure you’re eating the freshest, most flavorful and healthful seafood possible.

However, when fresh fish is just not convenient, there are other great options. Canned or vacuum-packed fish, including water-packed chunk light tuna and wild salmon (which keep for months on your pantry shelf), can easily be crumbled over a green salad or omelette, or turned into a cold salad of its own. Canned anchovies and sardines are another great pantry item that will add great flavor (and an omega-3 kick) to salads, pizza, or whole wheat pasta.

On a busy day, bake a frozen or delivery pizza and add your own spinach, anchovies and sundried tomatoes—upping your SuperFoods score without slaving away in the kitchen. Frozen filets are another huge timesaver: They can be pan-fried with a small amount of extra-virgin olive oil in a non-stick pan, baked in foil or parchment with mustard or herbs, or broiled. Because they’re flash-frozen, these filets are the next best thing to fresh fish, but offer a little more latitude in when you will prepare them.

And, in case you were wondering, frozen, breaded fish isn’t the solution. That’s because it tends to be high in saturated fat and trans-fats because of the batter used for the breading and the fact that they are deep-fried. These processed fish sources also tend to come from “scrod” which are young cod or haddock. These fish are not oily fish and therefore have a much lower concentration of beneficial omega-3.

Interestingly, scientific research reported from the University of Southern California found that pregnant women who ate oily fish (salmon, trout, tuna) had children with a lower risk of developing asthma. On the other hand, pregnant women who ate fish sticks had children with a higher risk of developing asthma, regardless of whether or not the mothers had asthma.

Because they are deep-fried, breaded fish sticks and fish patties are not a good way to get fish into your diet. Fortunately, the alternatives listed above make it easy to regularly get the fish you need.


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