by Lori Wuellner
I do pretty well on the healthy eating meter, including beans and legumes, a variety of fruits and veggies and low-fat dairy products.
But I miss the mark on including fish on a regular basis. I set lofty goals for myself and my family, we do fairly good for a short period of time and then I devolve back to the familiar protein sources.
My healthy eating goal for 2013, eat more fish, is clear, but the “how to’s” need to be given thought and attention in order to be successful. The first step is to remind myself of the nutritional benefits of eating fish on a regular basis.
- Omega 3 fatty acids - These good fats support health in many ways. They help reduce the risk of heart disease and lower blood pressure. They can also help prevent arthritis and promote brain function. Omega-3’s are found in every kind of fish, but fatty fish have the most. Good choices include trout, salmon, tuna (canned chunk-light packed in water), sardines, oysters, crab, and cod.
- Protein - Fish has high quality protein. Ounce for ounce, most kinds of fish have about the same amount of protein as lean red meats (beef and pork) and poultry. There are about 20 to 25 grams of protein in 3 ounces of cooked fish. Salmon and tuna are on the high end. They have closer to 25 grams.
- Vitamin D - Vitamin D is enjoying a moment in the sun. We used to think it was just important for the bones. But it seems to affect almost every cell in our bodies. The main source of vitamin D are fortified dairy foods, sun exposure and supplements. But vitamin D is also found in fatty fish. Salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel are good choices.
- Other vitamins - Fish can also be a great source of vitamin A. Salmon and tuna are especially good. One serving of tuna has 43 percent of the vitamin A you need each day. Vitamin E and the B vitamins are also found in fish.
- Many minerals - Eating fish can be a good way to get iodine, selenium, phosphorus and magnesium. Most fish contains a small amount of calcium, about 100 milligrams or less in 3 ounces. However if you eat the bones in canned fish the calcium content increases. Canned sardines and salmon have at least 250 mg of calcium per serving.
- A special note for pregnant women and young children: Do not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel or tilefish because they have high levels of mercury. Limit albacore (white) tuna to not more than 6 ounces per week. Canned chunk-light tuna is OK. Check advisories about fish caught by family and friends in local lakes, rivers and coastal areas.
Next, is to find a selection of family-friendly, easy recipes that I’d be willing to try. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute is one website that is worthy of checking out...hp2010.nhlbihin.net/healthyeating as well as the American Heart Association, http://www.heart.org. I'll include these recipes into weekly meal plans with a personal goal of eating a fish-dish once every 2 weeks. It's important to note though that the American Heart Association recommends eating fish twice a week but for me I know that is a “lofty” goal that I’m not likely to hit.
The last step is to commit. To get started off right I'll fix a dish that I've prepared in the past that my family liked (recipe follows). From there I'll be creative (within limits) using the resources mentioned earlier.
Make a healthy you in 2013 a priority. Maybe you too need to eat more fish or perhaps drink more water, eat more veggies, get better sleep, be more physically active. Whatever it is, set achievable goals and get after it. Happy New Year!
Lori Wuellner is a Wyandotte County Extension agent, Family and Consumer Sciences, K-State Research and Extension, 1216 N. 79th St., Kansas City, Kan. Telephone 913-299-9300, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pepper and Sesame Seed Crusted Salmon
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 (6 ounce) salmon fillets, skinned
1 teaspoon olive oil
2/3 cup apricot nectar
½ cup red bell pepper
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
Combine first 3 ingredients in a heavy duty zip-lock plastic bag. Seal, crush seeds with a meat mallet or rolling pin. Place seed mixture in a large shallow dish. Coat 1 side of each fillet with seed mixture.
Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add fillets, seed side down; saute 4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Remove fish from pan, keep warm.
Add apricot nectar and the remaining ingredients to pan, and bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook 1 minute. Reduce heat; return fish to pan. Baste with nectar mixture. Cover and simmer 1 minute. Serves 4.
Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories-332; Fat-16.4 grams; Protein-35.7 g Carbohydrates- 9.1 g; Cholesterol- 111 mg; Sodium- 223 mg
(Source: Cooking Light Magazine)