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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Fishing for Omega 3's During Lent

Salmon fillet

This blog post is written by Illinois State University graduate student and dietetic intern, Alyssa Laing.

Whether you’re celebrating this season of Lent for religious purposes, or you just simply enjoy “Fish Friday’s”, incorporating weekly seafood into your diet is a great habit. Not only is seafood, which includes fish and shellfish, an excellent source of protein, it also contributes healthy fats, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, iron, selenium, and iodine to the diet while providing very little to no saturated fat.1 The 2015-2020 dietary guidelines recommend eating 2 servings (or 8 oz.) of seafood per week.2 Despite the recommendation, only about 1/3 of Americans eat seafood once a week, and 50% of Americans report eating fish occasionally, or not at all.

Did you know that the preparation of fish could possibly affect its nutrition content, including the presence of omega 3 fatty acids? These cardio-protective fats have been studied for their ability to lower cardiovascular disease risk. Studies show that omega 3’s could protect from disturbances in cardiac rhythm, lower blood pressure, and lower heart rate.2 Although more research needs to be conducted, some evidence has shown that the way you cook your fish could decrease the amount of natural heart-healthy fats found in fish. High heat methods of cooking, like deep frying, not only add to the unhealthy fat content, but may result in the destruction of healthy fats, like omega 3’s.3 Although restaurants and fish fry’s provide easy options to help you stick to your meatless Friday’s, try cooking fish at home a couple of times throughout this season of Lent! Cooking techniques such as broiling, steaming, poaching, baking, stir-frying, and sautéing are recommended to limit adding additional fat to foods and possibly better preserve omega 3 fatty acids.3 To avoid food borne illness when cooking fish, insert a thermometer in the thickest part of the fillet to ensure the internal temperature has reached 145°F.


Pan Roasted Sweet Glazed Salmon with Green Beans (Printable PDF)

4 salmon fillets

1 Tablespoon of margarine

2 Tablespoons of honey

2 Tablespoons of reduced-sodium soy sauce

2 Tablespoons of Dijon mustard

1 Tablespoon of olive oil

½ teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon of salt

1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed

Preheat oven to 425°F. Wash hands with soap and water. Place fillets in baking pan coated with cooking spray. Wash hands with soap and water. In a microwavable safe bowl, melt margarine; stir in honey, soy sauce, mustard, oil, pepper, and salt. Brush half of the mixture over the salmon. Place green beans in a large bowl. Drizzle with remaining sauce mixture and toss to coat. Arrange green beans around fillets. Roast until thermometer of salmon reads at least 145°F and green beans are crisp and tender (14-16 minutes).

Yield: 4 servings


Nutrition Facts (per serving): 200 calories, 10 grams fat, 470 milligrams sodium, 18 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 11 grams protein