EAT 3 FISH IN 1 WEEK!
It is no secret that most Americans don’t eat enough fish. Most other nations are more comfortable with seafood and eat a much wider range of ocean animals. The USDA recommends 2-3 servings of fish per week. Despite indisputable evidence that seafood is a great low-fat source of protein and many other vital nutrients, we make a lot of excuses to not eat it. Mine used to be fear. I did not know how to cook it and I was not confident enough to experiment. I was not sure what types of fish I would like and I didn’t know where to start. Now, the fear is gone and my new excuse is laziness. I want super fresh fish, but I also want to shop for the whole week in one shot. I can front load a day or two of seafood, but to fit in 3 fish dinners in a week, I will have to make another trip to the store or go to my freezer. If you can stock some good fish in your freezer, this is easier. There are definitely some good choices out there. You can also explore some services that deliver fish to your door. I’ll be out with a blog on both of these topics in a few weeks. For this challenge though, suck it up and take the extra trip to the store.
The other excuse that I hear is cost. It is true, good seafood can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. If you look for species of fish that are less popular, they are often substantially cheaper, but that doesn’t mean they are not as good. For example, you can buy cardinal snapper for half the price of red snapper. If you weren’t told, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference at the dinner table. The difference is name recognition. There are many underrated fish out there to choose from. Also, there are often good deals on the popular guys. Salmon can be quite cost effective especially at places like Costco. There are also some great deals on frozen product, which can be pretty good and is improving with advances in technology. Another thing that helps with cost is to supplement your seafood meals with plenty of vegetables. We are all guilty of eating excessive portion sizes. Seafood is nutritionally dense and your portion should be smaller than what you would eat if you were making chicken. So, keep in mind that you can buy less than you think. That helps control the cost and makes you eat more veggies, which most of us should do anyway.
When I say eat three fish in a week, I hope to challenge you to eat three different fish. Don’t buy one big slab of salmon and eat it three times. Go for variety. While fish is extremely healthy, there may be concerns of toxins like mercury if you eat a ton the wrong fish. That concern is definitely reduced if you eat fish that are generally low in mercury. Fish that are small and short lived are better than fish that are huge and long lived. Herbivorous fish are better that piscivorous fish (those that eat other fish). Eating fish from different points on the food chain and different bodies of water will help reduce the risk of overexposure to all toxins. So, for example, choose a saltwater fish, a freshwater fish, and a shellfish. Or try a big fish like a salmon, coupled with a small fish like a sea bream, and then fill out your trifecta with a crab. There are a million combinations. Shellfish count, cephalopods count. I challenge you to do this once, but I hope that you will make it an ongoing habit. It’s good for you. It’s interesting. It’s delicious.