Sign Up for Updates
Trying to eat more fish? I’m sure you know fish is good for you, but so many people avoid fish without giving it the attention it deserves. Let me give you some ideas on how you can add fish to your diet and enjoy every meal.
Some people love fish, some people hate it. Then there’s everyone else—those who don’t mind eating fish, but they admit they don’t eat as much of it as they think they should. For some, it’s ‘a taste thing,’ for others it’s ‘a texture thing.’ Then there are those who think fish preparation requires advanced cooking skills. They’re perfectly happy to eat fish, as long as someone else prepares it.
Fish is a terrific protein source, packed with vitamins like A, D and B12, and minerals like phosphorus, magnesium and selenium. It’s also lower in fat than meat and most cuts of poultry. Plus, the omega-3 fats that fish contains offer up an array of health benefits.
Some people have only tried one variety or two. Based on that, they conclude that fish just isn’t for them. But with so many ‘fish in the sea’ and such a huge assortment of flavors and textures, there really is something for everyone. If you’re having trouble deciding to add fish into your diet, here are some tips that might help.
In general, white-fleshed fish is milder in flavor than fish with darker flesh. Start with mild tilapia, cod, sole, flounder, halibut or shrimp, rather than stronger-tasting fish like salmon or mackerel.
If you’re turned off by fish that has a soft texture, try firmer fish like tuna, wild salmon or scallops. Some fish can be delicate, so try not to overcook it. Otherwise you’ll end up with cardboard-like tuna or rubbery shrimp.
One way to get around the ‘odor thing’ is to cook frozen fish without defrosting it first. Frozen fish is often less expensive than fresh and it’s usually processed very soon after it’s caught, so it’s quite fresh and nutritious. To cook frozen fish, simply give it a quick rinse under cold water to remove any ice on the surface of the flesh, and then pat dry. Drizzle on a little olive oil and sear (skin side up) in a skillet over medium-high heat. Once it’s brown, flip it over, season with salt and pepper, cover tightly and turn the heat down to medium. Cook until the fish is opaque all the way through.
Fish is really versatile, and you can experiment with it in your everyday dishes instead of meat or poultry. Try soft tacos with grilled fish instead of chicken, or maybe add fish or shrimp to your pasta dishes or stir-fries. Firm fish is great on the grill, either as whole steaks or cut into chunks and arranged on skewers with veggies.
Before you bake, broil or sauté, try brushing with a little mustard or teriyaki sauce, or coat with a little olive oil and lemon. Or you can experiment with a simple spice rub before grilling. After cooking, top fish fillets with spicy salsa and avocado slices. Or stick with a classic taste: sometimes all a perfectly grilled piece of fish needs is a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
This is a tried-and-true recipe for delicious, moist fish. The breadcrumb coating bakes into a tasty, crispy crust that resembles fried fish but without so much oil. I’ve specified tilapia, but you can use any fish fillets. You might need to adjust baking time, depending on the thickness of your fillets.
Susan is the Sr. Director of Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training at Herbalife, where she is responsible for the development of nutrition education and training materials, and is one of the primary authors of the Herbalife-sponsored blog, www.discovergoodnutrition.com. She is a Registered Dietitian and holds two Board Certifications from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as a Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, and a Certified Specialist in Obesity and Weight Management. Susan is also a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Susan graduated with distinction in biology from the University of Colorado, and received her master’s degree in Food Science and Nutrition from Colorado State University. She then completed her dietetic internship at the University of Kansas. Susan has taught extensively and developed educational programs targeted to individuals, groups and industry in her areas of expertise, including health promotion, weight management and sports nutrition.
Prior to her role at Herbalife, she was the assistant director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition, and has held appointments as adjunct professor in nutrition at Pepperdine University and as lecturer in nutrition in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
Susan was a consultant to the (then) Los Angeles Raiders for six seasons, and was a contributing columnist for the Los Angeles Times Health Section for two years. She is a co-author of 23 research papers, 14 book chapters, and was a co-author of two books for the public: “What Color is Your Diet?” and “The L.A. Shape Diet” by Dr. David Heber, published by Harper Collins in 2001 and 2004, respectively.