The Dietitian Challenge: Week Four

January 22, 2014

The Dietitian Challenge – Week Four: Fish

I hope you are having success in meeting our challenges so far (we’d love to hear how you are doing!).  This week will be the most challenging yet for most people:  Eat two 4- to 6-ounce servings of fish this week. 

Fish has a number of health benefits:

  • Fish is low in saturated fat; diets high in saturated fat can raise blood cholesterol

    Jonnell, Registered Dietitian

    Jonnell, Registered Dietitian

  • Fatty fish such as salmon, lake trout, and albacore tuna contain a good amount of the Omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, which are beneficial for both heart and brain health
  • Fish contains selenium, a mineral that is an antioxidant, is important for the immune system and aids in thyroid function

In addition to the health benefits of fish, fish is a convenient option as it cooks very quickly and can be cooked in a number of ways including simple seared or grilled fish fillets, baked fish packets*, fish tacos, cioppino (fish stew) and tuna salad sandwiches. 

Tips for choosing fish

  • Choose fatty fish most often such as salmon, albacore tuna, sardines and lake trout
  • Choose a variety of fish
  • Avoid fish highest in mercury (king mackerel, swordfish, tilefish, shark, orange roughy, ahi tuna and marlin); choose fish lower in mercury most often (e.g. salmon, tilapia, cod, sardines, canned light tuna)
  • For pregnant women and children, avoid fish highest in mercury and choose up to 12 ounces per week of fish lower in mercury (e.g. salmon, freshwater trout, tilapia, canned light tuna, sardines)

*baked fish packets are generally fish with vegetables, herbs and a small amount of liquid wrapped in either parchment paper or foil and baked.  These are really great as this is an easy way to cook fish with a minimum of clean up.  Chef Evan’s Salmon en Papillote is an example of this.