If you made a checklist of the most valuable attributes for healthy foods to eat when you’re trying to lose weight, fish would hit on nearly every one. Seafood is nutrient-dense, so it delivers a high concentration of vitamins and minerals with few calories. Fish is also packed with protein, fueling your body for active days, but it is light on saturated fats, which is good for your heart. Seafood is also one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which may help lower cholesterol levels and support heart health. For all of these reasons, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends you have two to three servings of fish, or eight ounces of cooked seafood each week. Best of all, fish comes in many varieties and can be prepared in simple ways, so you’ll never get bored. Any seafood you like will offer you these benefits, but the following are exceptionally nutritious and truly delicious:
Salmon is a rich source of selenium, a mineral essential to healthy functioning of your thyroid gland, which helps regulate your weight by controlling the release of hormones that determine how and when your body uses protein, carbohydrates and fats.
One of the most popular type of fish among Americans, canned tuna is one of the leanest varieties of seafood. A half cup gives you about 20 grams of protein, has just 90 calories, and contains less than two grams of fat. Fresh tuna, whether raw in sushi, broiled or grilled, has all the same qualities. Look for canned tuna packed in water rather than in oil, which adds unnecessary calories.
The little fish in a can, sardines are one of the best sources of calcium, a nutrient that your body relies on to regulate your metabolism, and vitamin D, which is essential to absorbing calcium. Sardines are a naturally oily fish, but the fats are mostly unsaturated. A three-ounce serving gives you 23 grams of protein and just 190 calories. When buying canned sardines, choose those packed in water or tomato sauce rather than oil.
Among shellfish, scallops are the highest in protein. They are about 80 percent protein with just one gram of fat in a three-ounce portion. The primary difference between sea scallops and bay scallops is size, though the former tend to have a higher concentration of omega-3s. All types of scallops have a delicate flavor and texture that holds up well to fast-cooking without added calories. Try broiling or pan-searing scallops seasoned with fresh herbs such as thyme and garlic and a splash of white wine.
While we tend to think of oysters as luxury food, a half-dozen has just 43 calories. Oysters are rich in iron and one of the best sources of zinc, a mineral that’s essential to managing the hormone leptin, a key regulator of your appetite. Fresh oysters are more widely available year-round in many areas of North America than ever before. You can enjoy them raw or broiled, but stay away from fried oysters, which are weighed down by excess calories from the cooking oil.
Not only is fish full of healthy minerals and nutrients, it’s also quick and easy to prepare and you can get dinner on the table in about 30 minutes! Don’t forget to add this to your grocery shopping list and until next time, stay happy, healthy and beautiful!