According to the American Heart Association, eating fish twice a week will lower your risk of heart failure, heart attack, and stroke. The best fish for heart health are oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines, or albacore tuna. These fish are all high in omega-3 fatty acids.
So many people have heard about the benefits of omega-3s that fish oil is the most popular nutrition supplement in the United States. However, the latest research shows fish oil isn’t as beneficial as actually eating fish. Whole fish offers a wealth of nutrients besides omega-3 oil, such as protein and selenium. For reasons scientists do not yet fully understand, nutrients often provide the most benefit when they are combined with other nutrients—in the form of food!
Eating fish is both healthy and delicious! Here are a few tips for including fish in your meal plan:
- Keep seafood on hand. Seafood doesn’t need to be fresh to give you health benefits. Canned and frozen seafood varieties are just as healthy.
- Be creative. Try different ways to enjoy seafood like seafood salads, tacos, stir-fry, or with pasta.
- Cook it safely. Make sure you follow safe food handling practices and cook seafood to an internal temperature of 145oF.
ChooseMyPlate.gov offers tips on how to get more heart-healthy seafood on your plate.
Sources: American Heart Association and Harvard Health
The FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) and the EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) have issued new recommendations about eating seafood. The advice is specific for pregnant and breastfeeding women and caregivers of young children to help them make informed choices about fish and seafood.
Fish is a high-quality protein source and is rich in omega-3 fats. Americans, including pregnant women, are encouraged to eat 8–12 ounces of fish per week. The new guidelines categorize fish for safety and mercury content into three categories:
Best Choices—Eat 2–3 servings a week
Example: canned light tuna, salmon, cod, tilapia, shrimp
Good Choices—Eat 1 serving a week
Examples: halibut, snapper, grouper, tuna (yellowfin), albacore/white tuna, canned and fresh/frozen
Choices to Avoid—Highest mercury levels
Examples: King mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, shark, swordfish, tilefish (Gulf of Mexico), and tuna (bigeye)
To learn more about the recommendations, read Eating Fish: What Pregnant Women and Parents Should Know, www.fda.gov/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/Metals/ucm393070.htm.
Serving Size: 2 tacos
- 1/2 cup light ranch dressing
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 jalapeño pepper (seeded and chopped finely; optional)
- 4 cups coleslaw mix or broccoli slaw
- 10 (6 inch) corn tortillas
- 3 tablespoons oil (canola or vegetable)
- 2 tablespoons cornmeal
- 1 pound firm white fish (tilapia, mahi-mahi, or halibut), cut in 1 inch pieces or in 10 strips
- 1 tomato, chopped
- Stir together the dressing, lime juice, chili powder, ground black pepper, and jalapeño pepper (if desired). Pour over coleslaw mix and stir to mix well. Cover and place in refrigerator until serving time.
- Warm the corn tortillas according to package directions.
- Heat the oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot, but not smoking. Spread the cornmeal on a plate while the oil heats. Pat the fish pieces in the cornmeal to coat on all sides. Fry the fish in hot oil until the cornmeal is lightly browned, 1–2 minutes per side. Remove and drain on paper towels.
- Top each tortilla with some of the fish and some of the coleslaw mix. Fold in half and serve with the chopped tomato.
Nutrition information per serving: 370 calories, 16g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 55mg cholesterol, 430mg sodium, 38g total carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 4g sugar, 23g protein
This recipe is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website. For more information, recipes, and videos, visit spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu
Serving Size: 1 tablespoon | Serves: 4
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1/4 cup cornmeal
- 4 (3-ounce) frozen white filets (e.g., tilapia), thawed
- 4 hamburger buns
- Optional sandwich toppings: sliced onions and tomatoes, leaf lettuce, tartar sauce, etc.
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat until hot. Spread the cornmeal on a plate and press the fish into the cornmeal to coat all sides.
- Fry the fish in the hot oil until the cornmeal is lightly browned. This will take about 2–3 minutes on each side. Fish is done when the internal temperature reaches 145°F or it flakes easily with a fork.
- Move the fish from the frying pan to a plate lined with paper towels. Pat the fish dry with more paper towels.
- Assemble sandwiches with your favorite toppings.
Nutrition information per serving: 300 calories, 10g total fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 45mg cholesterol, 250mg sodium, 29g total carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 3g sugar, 22g protein
This recipe is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website. For more recipes, information, and videos, visit www.extension.iastate.edu/foodsavings/.
Serving Size: 1 fillet of fish (about 3 ounces)
- 4 small frozen tilapia fillets (about 1 pound total)
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1–2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried marjoram or Italian seasoning
- 1 orange
- Defrost and pat tilapia dry with paper towel.
- Put flour, garlic powder, pepper, and salt in a plastic bag. Add fillets one at a time and shake to coat.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until hot.
- Add fillets to skillet and fry until golden brown on one side (about 2 minutes). Turn fish over, sprinkle with marjoram or Italian seasoning, and finish browning (heat fish to at
- Heat orange for 10 seconds in microwave. Cut in half. Squeeze half the juice and pulp from the orange on the fish. Use the other half for garnish.
- Place fish on a platter. Scrape the pan juices on top of the fish to serve.
Nutrition information per serving:
160 calories, 5g fat, 1g saturated fat, 45mg cholesterol, 190mg sodium, 10g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, 4g sugar, 18g protein. Daily Values: 35% Vitamin C, 6% Iron, 4% Calcium.
This recipe is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart Eat Smart website, http://www.extension.iastate.edu/foodsavings.