Thanks to the increasing popularity of the Atkins and Paleo Diet, a lot of people are eating more red meat and poultry. However, we would like to bring your attention to the humble fish. Fish acts as a healthier alternative to both red and white meat but it is also contains a lot of different nutrients that chicken doesn’t provide.
Among these benefits is the fact that a lot of fish (particularly the oilier ones, even if they make a mess of things) have a lot of polyunsaturated Omega-3 fatty acids, the kind that helps with improving cholesterol and triglycerides level in the body. It also offers lean protein as well as vitamins A, B and D all in one package. Not just that but since it’s also lighter than other types of meat, you get all those benefits while also eating less calories per weight when compared to red meat.
Of course, not all fish have the same effects; different types of seafood can offer different benefits. Some seafood help pregnant women and is good for the foetus, while others can help reduce chances of obesity and other dietary benefits. Shellfish for example, is high in selenium while salt water fish helps increase levels of iodine. But the biggest benefit that all types of seafood have is that they increase the level of heme iron, which is a type of iron that’s easier for the body to absorb than other types of iron.
Of course, while seafood offers a lot of benefits, to some, it doesn’t taste nearly as good as red meat (am I right?). So if you want to give eating more fish a try, here are a couple of recipes to get you started to put fish into your diet.
Tuna salad is, thankfully, a very simple recipe to replicate. Tuna is one of the fish that tastes good with just a little bit of seasoning (or even with no seasoning at all) and it contains Omega-3 fatty acids. For this recipe, all you need is a can of tuna (preferably the type that comes with water instead of oil), some vegetables that you can chop up (potatoes and carrots are recommended but you can go with whatever tickles your fancy) and, if you really want to add an extra kick to it, a little mayonnaise or mustard to make it a tasty tuna sauce. After that, you can mix in the chopped vegetables and voila – a simple tuna salad for you to enjoy. Great for packed lunches, picnics or even as a sandwich filling!
Steamed Fish with Lime and Garlic
This staple of Thai food has a lot to offer, combining a variety of tastes all into one dish while also keeping them balanced enough to make sure to make you shiver with excitement. For this dish you can any fish of your choosing but the most common one for this dish is the Barramundi, also known as Sea Bass, and the recipe is for a whole fish. You will also need five stalks of lemon grass (though only the bottom half).
For the sauce, you will need:
- 1 cup of stock of your choice
- 2 tablespoons of chopped palm sugar
- 8 tablespoons of lime juice
- 6 tablespoons of fish sauce
- 2 chopped garlic cloves
- 1 or 2 finely chopped chillies (depends on how spicy you want it to be)
- 20 to 25 sprigs of chopped cilantro
- 1 or 2 stalks of chopped Chinese celery
Before trying to do anything with the Barramundi, score the fish with three diagonal incisions and stuff the chopped lemongrass into the cleaned out section of fish.
Heat the stock in a saucepan until it starts boiling and then reduce the heat to put in the sugar. Once that boils over, you should let it sit for a bit while you mince the garlic, chillies and cilantro before mixing them in with the stock, once the stock cools down a little, along with the fish sauce and lime juice. The rest of this is tasting the sauce to make sure it’s to your liking. If it is not salty enough, add in soy sauce instead of salt to give it more dimension.
Pour the sauce over the fish and then steam the fish for about 15 to 20 minutes (though this can vary depending on the size of the fish).
Finally, garnish your fish with the chopped Chinese celery before putting it on a platter and then…well, get to eating it of course! Make sure to serve it with some piping hot rice!
Broiled Cod with Lemon and Thyme
This recipe is a little bit simpler and easier to prepare. Cod in itself is a fish that is easy to cook, you can buy the fillets or steaks, which makes eating and cleaning up a lot easier.
Using mayonnaise as a base (you don’t need much), add in a squeeze of lemon juice and a teaspoon of dried thyme. If you have the fresh herb, even better! Take two tablespoons of the fresh thyme, chop it finely before adding into the mayonnaise.
Then you spread this sauce into the cod filet right before you broil it in the oven. If you don’t have a broiler, baking this in a toaster oven for 10 to 15 minutes will give it the same effect. The flavour of the sauce will be absorbed by the fish and give it a mouthwatering slightly golden crust on top of it, giving you a different texture from the soft flaky fish.
While these are only three out of a lot (really, a lot) of recipes, do remember that you can quickly look up any fish recipes that you might want to try. What matters is that you try to add fish into your diet as often as you can as the benefits it brings for your body as well as your mind are extensive and, just like vegetables, meat and dairy, it’s an important part of the food pyramid…plus a lot of fish are really delicious.
Remember, the key is balance and variety to ensure that we have all the nutrients that we need!
Photo credits: Bosch, Food Network, The New York Times/ Well, Serious Eats, The Huffington Post/US Edition .
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