March is National Nutrition Month and a great time to shed our comfy sweaters and couch potato lifestyle and get back into a healthy routine. Let’s face it, heavy coats and sweaters can hide a lot, and the start of spring is the perfect time to get back into the swing of things.
What better way to get back on track then by eating more seafood. Why seafood? In addition to being an excellent source of lean protein that is low in saturated fat, it is full of heart-healthy omega-3’s*, and a great source of Vitamin D and B vitamins. Research has also shown that in countries where people eat more seafood they have lower rates of heart disease, high blood pressure and other chronic diseases.
While many parts of the world eat hundreds of pounds of seafood per person in a year, in the US we average only 16 pounds per person. We have a long way to go to catch up, but it doesn’t have to be difficult! Try a few of these ideas and see if you can’t get one more serving of seafood a week.
- Explore the seafood counter at your local grocery store. Many have pre-marinated and prepared seafood entrees that are ready to go. You just need to heat them up when you get home. The stores often have the cooking instructions included so you have a quick, easy meal.
- Prepare ahead. Salmon cakes, tuna cakes and casseroles can all be assembled the night before and then cooked when you get home from work. You can also freeze them uncooked, take them out in the morning and cook when you get home. Perfect make ahead meals!
- Pack a pouch and a salad and your lunch is good to go. Mason jars seem to be all the rage right now. Maybe it’s time to jump on that bandwagon! The jars keep a salad amazingly fresh for up to 5 days. Pack a weeks’ worth on Sunday night, grab a jar and a pouch of tuna and you have lunch in no time!
- Fish and fruit are a natural combination. Take it beyond lemons and try other citrus fruits, mangos, melons or grapes. Grill fruit like pineapple alongside your fish; make a fruit salsa to top a fillet, or simply add a squirt of orange or grapefruit juice on top of the fish as soon as you plate it for a flavorful burst of freshness.
- Keep the kitchen mess to a minimum. Place your fish fillet on a piece of foil or parchment paper, add some chopped veggies and spices with a little olive or canola oil and place on the grill or in the oven. Place the packet on your plate and open it at the table – all the flavors blend together beautifully and you don’t have an extra pan to clean up!
For more ways to “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle,” visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics – www.eatright.org.