Making the same chicken and beef dishes for dinner week in and week out can get dull after a while, and maybe your family feels the same way. If you’re looking to shake up your meal planning routine, adding seafood to your diet can provide health benefits in addition to introducing your family to new and exciting flavors. From heart-healthy baked dishes to delicious seasonal grilled fish, seafood has essential building blocks for good health. Learn how to make fish a part of your healthy lifestyle, as well as quick recipe ideas and the best place to shop for your seafood.
Make Meals More Exciting with Seafood
Why Eat More Seafood?
The FDA recommends that Americans consume 8 ounces of seafood per week; however, that may seem hard to do if seafood isn’t already a part of your family’s regular diet and you don’t live someplace where fish is easy to catch. There are some good reasons to prioritize getting more seafood onto your table, though. Seafood is known for being a source of lean protein, which can be an important factor when you’re considering cardiovascular health. It also has a variety of nutrients and is low in saturated fat, which may support vision, reduce inflammation, and lower cholesterol while reducing your stroke risk. For example, crab has vitamin B12, tuna has omega-3 fatty acids, and trout also adds potassium to this list of feel-good nutrients. Omega-3 fatty acids in particular have been shown to help keep your heart and your brain healthy. Even swapping out chicken or beef with seafood for one meal per week is a good start, although once you start preparing meals with it, you may be tempted to add seafood several times per week.
How Should I Cook Seafood?
One reason that many people shy away from seafood is that they think it’s hard to make, and they don’t know what to do with it. But making seafood is actually easy enough for busy weeknight dinners because it cooks so quickly. Pan-frying, sautéing, and grilling fish and shellfish are common preparation methods that don’t require much time because the heat is so direct. When baking your fish, aim for lower temperatures and longer cooking times to prevent it from drying out, unless you’re broiling your fish. Fish and shellfish are typically done cooking when they’re no longer opaque, and fish will flake easily with a fork. Seafood often needs little more than salt and pepper for seasoning to taste good, although lemon and butter are classic additions.
It’s easy to add seafood to any meal. Fish and shellfish cook quickly, making them ideal to prepare and toss into eggs for a quick and protein-filled breakfast omelette or frittata to give you all-day energy. Add shrimp to a lunchtime salad or mix seafood with leftover rice or pasta and vegetables. Dinner is a great time to bake or grill your fish to perfection. Serve it alongside traditional favorites like rice, baked potatoes or grilled vegetables. Or serve your seafood over a bed of fresh greens with roasted tomatoes and shaved Parmesan. Other creative pairings include white fish or shrimp with homemade macaroni and cheese, fish tacos, seafood risotto, and seafood stew. Fish filets in particular make great sheet pan dinners; arrange them on a baking sheet with quick-cook vegetables like asparagus or sliced zucchini, brush everything with olive oil, and bake.
Where Should I Buy Seafood?
Not everyone lives near the lakes, rivers or oceans where the freshest seafood is found. And that’s why having a trusted source for your family’s seafood is so important. While you can buy fish and shellfish from the grocery store or big box stores, you may wonder how long it’s been out of the water for. Instead, buying your seafood from a small business that’s as close to the source as you can get and having it shipped to you is ideal. Buying fresh shrimp and other fish and shellfish directly from the seafood markets ensures the freshest catch is packaged and shipped to you, safely and quickly. You don’t need to worry about choosing the wrong seafood or be concerned with not knowing how to fillet it for cooking; seafood professionals select and prepare the seafood you choose from that day’s catch. It’s a great way to support small businesses while providing your family with flavorful seafood.
Making seafood a more frequent addition to your menu planning opens up a world of culinary possibilities and added health benefits. It’s quick to prepare and versatile enough to go with your family’s favorite side dishes, as well as new creations like salads, soups, and stews. Buying seafood directly from the seafood markets close to the source makes it easy to ensure you’re getting high quality fish and shellfish that’s as fresh as if you caught it yourself.