Fish is versatile, tasty, and has many health benefits. If you’re trying to lose weight, we have seven healthy fish to add to your dinner!
How much fish do you eat every week? If you are like half of all Americans, you are likely missing out on expert recommendations. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Heart Association (AHA) recommend two servings of fish per week for better health. According to the AHA, fish is a low-calorie source of high-quality protein that is the perfect addition to a dieter’s menu. Fewer calories mean bigger servings! Some fish are also unique in that they contain important omega-3 fatty acids that are believed to help prevent heart disease and improve memory.
The Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics states that the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is necessary for a healthy brain and that a deficiency is linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Consistent use of DHA has been shown to reduce the risk of cognitive decline while improving memory and learning ability.
While they protect your brain, they also protect your heart. According to the Mayo Clinic, omega-3s have been shown to reduce inflammation, cholesterol, blood pressure, and the risk of stroke and heart failure. In fact, a Harvard review of more than 20 studies of the effects of eating one or two servings of three ounces of fatty fish per week on the heart found that it reduced the risk of dying from heart disease by 36 percent.
According to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, other conditions that omega-3s may have some benefit in include macular degeneration (an eye disease that can lead to blindness) and rheumatoid arthritis.
With so many benefits, why are so many people avoiding fish? Often this is due to the perception that it has a “fishy” taste. However, there are many options, such as trout or halibut, which taste very mild! Fresh fish can also be expensive, but frozen fish is usually just as good and less expensive. Many people also worry about seafood contaminants such as mercury. According to the FDA, you can put your mind at ease. For most adults, the benefits of eating fish outweigh the potential risks from contamination. The AHA says eating a wide variety of fish can also help minimize potential pollution problems. You can also check local advice on the safety of fish caught in local lakes, rivers, and coastal areas.
Please note: Children and pregnant women need to be more careful and should avoid consuming fish with the highest levels of mercury (e.g. shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tile fish).
If you want to add fish to your weekly menu but aren’t sure where to start, don’t worry! We have many healthy seafood recipes on The Leaf that are perfect for you Nutrisystem program.
Here are seven healthy fish to add to your weight loss menu ASAP:
1.Salmon (wild and farmed)
If you want to add more omega-3 fatty acids to your diet, salmon is your fish. Wild salmon has a whopping 1,774 mg per six-ounce serving. Farmed salmon has even more of these healthy fats at 4,504 milligrams. With its rich taste, it is high in protein and relatively low in calories. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), three ounces of salmon contain about 145 calories. Reduce this to about two ounces to count as a PowerFuel in the Nutrisystem program.
Enjoy this Salmon Tahini Power Bowl! >
2. Tuna (Albacore and Light)
Another fish that is rich in omega-3s is albacore tuna. It contains 733 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids per 3 ounce serving and comes in behind salmon and swordfish. Swordfish is one of the highest in mercury and other pollutants. It’s also overfished, so tuna is a much better choice. Light tuna contains only 228 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids, but it contains less mercury than albacore. If you are a tuna lover, you may want to switch between the two to reduce your intake of this toxin. According to the USDA, albacore contains 108 calories per 3 ounce serving, while light tuna has only 89 calories. Both would be a perfect PowerFuel for your Nutrisystem plan!
Do you love Nutrisystem’s Tuna salad Lunch starter? Try this recipe for open tuna melt!>
Heart-healthy halibut is another great healthy fish! It provides 740 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids in every 5.6-ounce serving. A three ounce fillet has only 77 calories and 15 grams of protein, says the USDA. Try adding it to tacos or serve with brown rice and fresh vegetables for a tasty flex meal.
Their tacos have never been this healthy. This flaky, white-fleshed fish is perfect for this flavorful, hearty one Nutrisystem fish taco recipe! > You’ll love our recipe for too Grilled rosemary and halibut fillet. >
4. Mackerel (Atlantic and Spanish)
Mackerel has been described by SeafoodSource as “a beautiful and underrated fish”. The USDA reports that a three-ounce serving of Atlantic mackerel contains around 174 calories per three-ounce serving, while Spanish mackerel is slightly lower at just 118 calories per serving. According to the Cleveland Clinic, three ounces of mackerel contain around 2,500 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids. No wonder it’s often used in fish oil supplements!
An 8-ounce fillet of this mildly flavored, white, flaky fish has only 189 calories, according to the USDA! Atlantic cod has been overexploited so look for Pacific cod that was caught in Alaska, the West Coast or British Columbia, Canada as recommended by SeafoodWatch.org. Cod contains 284 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids in each 6.3 ounce serving.
Dinner is made easy with this recipe for One-Pan Blackened Cod and Vegetables! >
Trout come in many different varieties, including freshwater, saltwater, wild-caught, and farmed. They’re a great “starter” option if you think you don’t like fish because they have a very mild and nutty taste, says FishChoice. A 2.2-ounce serving of trout provides 581 mg of omega-3 fatty acids and only about 117 calories, according to the USDA.
7. Work work
If you like healthy fish, you will love mahi mahi. In contrast to the other fish presented here, it is not found in cold water. It is found in tropical waters, such as Hawaii, according to SeafoodSource. The term mahi mahi is Hawaiian for what has long been known as the dolphin fish. It was renamed because too many people mistook dolphin fish for the beloved marine mammal, the dolphin. Its texture, mild taste, and “grillability” are similar to swordfish, but are a better choice because of the high mercury content in swordfish, as warned by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The USDA states that a four-ounce serving contains only 99 calories. While not a cold-water fish, it still contains 221 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids in each 5.6-ounce serving.
Discover the taste of the tropical origins of Mahi Mahi. Check out this Mahi Mahi with Pineapple Mango Salsa! >
* All omega-3 numbers quoted are from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.