Take the Plunge and Add Fish to Your Diet
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 Nutrient-Packed
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.
Choose a Mild-Flavored Fish
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.
Choose Fish with a Firm Texture
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.
Try Cooking Frozen Fish
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.
Use Fish in Place of Other Proteins in Your Favorite Dishes
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.
Liven Up Fish Dishes with Seasoning
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.
My Simple and Delicious Recipe for Oven “Fried” Fish
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.
- 4 tilapia fillets, 6 ounces (175g) each
- 2/3 cup (85g) whole wheat flour
- 1 cup (100g) plain dry bread crumbs
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons low-fat milk
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400 F / 200 C / Gas Mark 6
- Lightly coat a baking sheet with a thin film of olive oil and set aside.
- Rinse tilapia fillets with cold water; pat dry with paper towels.
- Put flour in a shallow dish, such as a pie plate.
- In another shallow pie plate, combine bread crumbs, garlic powder, salt, cayenne pepper and thyme.
- In another shallow pie plate, whisk together egg, milk and mustard.
- Dip the fish fillets into the flour and shake off the excess. Then dip into the egg mixture and finally into the seasoned crumb mixture, coating evenly on both sides. Place the fillets on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle each fillet with a small amount of olive oil.
- Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork.