Take Charge of Your Health, Don’t Leave it to Salmon Else!

Looking for a healthier alternative to burgers and brats at your next summer barbecue? Bring a seasoned salmon filet or a salmon burger to throw on the grill and tell all your friends about the health benefits of seafood!

Salmon is one of the most praised fish of the sea because of its amazing nutritional content. A salmon filet is lower in calories, higher in protein and omega 3s, and lower in mercury compared to other fish of similar composition. (1)

The American Heart Association recommends consuming at least two 3.5-ounce servings of fatty fish per week because of the health benefits to the heart. These benefits include decreased risk of arrhythmia (which can lead to sudden death), decreased triglyceride levels and perhaps a slightly lower blood pressure.  This remarkable fish promotes good heart health by decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease. (2)

Salmon is so versatile that anyone from beginner cooks to experienced chefs can learn to prepare it. Just starting out? Try picking up a frozen, seasoned salmon filet and just follow the directions on the package to throw it in the oven or on the grill and you’re done! Want something a little more decadent? Use smoked salmon to create a savory cream cheese and salmon pizza!

Your local Hy-Vee is here for any of your salmon recipe ingredient needs! We offer a wide selection of salmon, including fresh filets, breaded and seasoned filets, smoked salmon, salmon patties and frozen filets.

  1. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. Basic Report: 15076, fish, salmon, Atlantic, wild, raw. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release. https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/4558?manu=&fgcd. Updated May 2016.
  2. American Heart Association. Fish and omega-3 fatty acids. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/HealthyDietGoals/Fish-and-Omega-3-Fatty-Acids_UCM_303248_Article.jsp#.V73B3ybQCUl. Updated June 15, 2015

 

New Year, New You, New Plate

“Get healthy” is the top-searched New Year’s resolution on Google, according to a recent article from NBC News. It was searched for nearly 63 million times.

Ideally, a new year presents a perfect time to make a resolution to get fit or lose weight. But are you ready for a lifestyle change? Individuals who break down their resolutions into smaller, more manageable steps have a higher rate of accomplishing those resolutions. If you are searching for a healthier lifestyle, I suggest you start with the Healthy Heart Pledge.

The Healthy Heart Pledge is a commitment to yourself that includes the following components:

  • I pledge to eat two servings of seafood each week.
  • I recognize seafood is a healthy choice for me and my family. It is one of the leanest proteins with a variety of nutrients beneficial to heart and brain health.
  • I know I will help myself and my family improve our health by committing to eat at least two servings of seafood each week as recommended by the USDA HHS Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and supplement with omega-3s.

The Seafood Nutrition Partnership aims to reduce the risks of heart disease, improve baby brain wellness and increase memory for seniors by educating Americans about the health benefits of sustainable seafood and building awareness of seafood’s essential nutritional value.

See more at this link: http://www.seafoodnutrition.org/healthy-heart-pledge.html

Seafood is such a great source of lean protein—that’s just one reason why I suggest you start here for your “get healthy” resolutions. The American Heart Association also recommends eating fatty fish at least twice each week because of the health benefits to the heart including decreased risk of arrhythmias (which can lead to sudden death), decreased triglyceride levels and perhaps a slightly lower blood pressure. There are also many studies looking at the benefits of omega-3 fats for brain and joint health.

With all these health benefits it is imperative to figure out how to fit this selection into your weekly meal plan. Fatty fish incudes fish such as salmon, tuna, herring, mackerel and trout.

Get creative with the ways you incorporate seafood into your diet so it doesn’t get cumbersome. Let’s start with my favorite fatty fish—salmon! Salmon is very versatile. If you’re tired of eating a simple salmon filet over and over again, this fish is one that can be switched up! Try salmon the following ways:

  • Salmon pizza. It may sound odd to some, but it tastes delicious! For a healthy swap use a whole-wheat pizza crust and, instead of alfredo sauce, use fat-free cream cheese. Try the recipe here.
  • Salmon Cakes
  • Salmon club with avocado: 2 slices of whole-wheat toast with grilled salmon and smashed avocado.
  • Pistachio encrusted salmon—see the recipe below.

Pistachio Crusted Salmon

Serves 4

All you need:

  • ½ cup pistachios
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 4 (5 oz.) Responsible Choice salmon

All you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Crush pistachios. Combine pistachios, garlic, salt and pepper.
  3. Dredge salmon in pistachio mixture, pressing gently to coat.
  4. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until flaky.

“I’m On a Seafood Diet. I See Food, and I Eat It”

Deciding to lose weight over the holidays sometimes seems like a losing game, so it’s important when entertaining guests to offer options to help keep your family and friends’ health goals afloat. Whether it’s you or your guests choosing a healthy lifestyle, you can offer options supporting healthy food choices, even through the holidays. Every decision – from creating a menu to choosing a location for socializing – can have an impact on the success of you and your loved ones. Here are some helpful dietitian hints to assist you through the holiday season without adding inches to your guests’ waistline:

  1. It seems like everyone has the munchies during the holidays. To lighten up your appetizer menu, try offering raw veggies and Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice shrimp cocktail instead of hot (often fried or cream cheese-filled) hors d’oeuvres. Veggie platters are always a big hit. To keep them low-fat, make a dip with fat-free sour cream or plain Greek yogurt instead of using mayonnaise and cream cheese. Include a bean dip with a whole-wheat cracker and fruit kabobs to incorporate some fiber-rich foods.
  2. Incorporating a salad to start your meal is a great way to let your guests fill up on some nutrient-dense foods that will help them with portion control later in the meal. Serve a large green leafy lettuce salad topped with fresh cranberries, orange wedges and raw walnuts to add some flair to your old-school boring salad. Serve your dressing options on the side so your guests can decide how much they would like to have.
  3. ‘Tis the season for seafood when it comes to your main course! The USDA’s MyPlate nutrition guidelines educate consumers to incorporate seafood as a protein a few times a week. Anything from Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice options – salmon, lobster and our famous Alaskan crab legs – can be a great way to impress your guests with a healthy alternative and a twist on the traditional holiday dinner.
  4. Cut your dessert options into half-size or even bite-size portions. This allows your company to feel like they can indulge in a dessert option but not in a large piece. Offer healthier dessert options like baked apples or poached pears. Both are a delicious choice without all the added sugar.
  5. Instead of having only high-calorie beverage options such as wine, eggnog, sodas and juices, include options such as sugar-free hot apple cider, hot herbal tea and fruit-infused waters. These contain fewer calories and sugar and are still refreshing.
  6. Allow your guests to serve themselves. This puts them in control of their portions and allows them to make decisions about what and how much they will eat.
  7. Don’t force your guests to socialize around the food the whole time. Instead offer small appetizer plates near the food and bring the fun to another room in your home. Put some distance between the food and your company to help decrease the temptation to overeat.

It’s human nature that the more choices we offer, the more our company will eat, so instead of overdoing it at your holiday party, plan your menu accordingly. By simply making a few substitutions and lightening up your favorite dishes, you can allow your loved ones to indulge in all of their favorite scrumptious goodies without sabotaging their waist line.

Keep Calm and Eat Fish Tacos

There’s something wonderful about traveling and experiencing different foods and flavors. Two weeks ago, my family and I spent time in Florida, and one item that I noticed as a staple on every menu is fish tacos.

Mahi Mahi Tacos seem to be one of the most popular fish tacos in Florida. Not only are they delicious, but very nutritious. Mahi mahi is a complete protein, which means it contains all the essential amino acids your body needs for survival; it is also a source of heme iron, which is a type of iron that is more readily available for absorption in the body.

When making fish tacos at home, you can choose from a variety of fresh and Responsible Choice fish from your local Hy-Vee seafood counter. Some of my favorites are halibut, tilapia, shrimp and, of course, mahi mahi!

Blackened seasoning adds a lot of flavor to fish tacos. For a basic blackened seasoning, try mixing 1 teaspoon each of:

  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • chili powder
  • cayenne pepper
  • paprika
  • white pepper

Just stir the spices together and store in an air-tight container until ready to use. Pat or sprinkle the seasoning on the fresh fish of your choice, prior to baking, pan-frying or grilling.

One way to add delicious nutrition to your tacos is to add a fresh topping. Two of my favorites include mango salsa and avocado cream sauce.

Just one cup of mangoes provides you with 12 percent of your daily fiber needs which helps you feel full faster and may help support weight management. Mangoes also contain more than 20 different vitamins and minerals.

Avocados are an excellent source of potassium, vitamins C and A, and folic acid.

I’ve included my favorite fresh fish taco topping recipes below. Perhaps you and your family and friends can try a new spin on tacos.


Mango Salsa

Serves 8.

All you need:

  • 2 firm but ripe mangos, peeled, pitted and diced
  • 2 firm but ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
  • 2 tbsp seeded and minced Serrano pepper
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

All you do:

  1. Combine mangos, avocados, Serrano pepper, red onion, red bell pepper and cilantro. Whisk together lime zest and juice, chili powder and olive oil. Stir into mango mixture.
  2. Allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving to allow flavors to blend.

Avocado Cream Sauce

All you need:

  • ½ cup 0% plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt

All you do:

  1. Pulse yogurt, avocado, lemon juice, garlic powder and salt in a food processor fitted with a metal blade until smooth.

Don’t Be A Chicken About Seafood!

There’s no need to be afraid when it comes to cooking and eating seafood. If you select the right seafood, and choose simple cooking methods, you can rest assured your dish will not only please your family’s taste buds, but also put them on the path to a healthy future.

Why is seafood the superhero of the kitchen? Eating seafood two to three times per week may reduce your risk of heart disease and can help maintain brain health. Seafood contains several healthy nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, iron, and vitamins like A, E, D and C, and it doesn’t have all the saturated fat as the same serving of other protein choices.

Here’s even more good news— anyone can cook seafood! The key to whipping up a spectacular fish-based dish that satisfies the entire family is to make the right selections: the right type of fish, the right cooking methods and the right recipes.

If you think you don’t like fish, remember that the flavor of these foods is considered to be the most variable among our basic foods. Different types of fish have completely different flavors and textures —“fishy” does not describe the majority of fish. Explore the sea and you’ll soon see the deliciousness it has to offer.

Fish cook differently than meat; they are more delicate and cook at a faster rate. The best tool that any chef or home cook has in cooking fish is an instant-read thermometer, because fish can quickly go from being undone to overdone in a matter of minutes. Periodically check the temperature with a thermometer so you know when the final cooking point is nearing. Fish should be cooked to 145 degrees Fahrenheit, or until flesh is opaque and flakes with a fork.

If you are dealing with picky eaters, try incorporating fish into recipes that are familiar—such as tacos or burgers. The familiarity of those foods may make it easier for fish “newbies” to try (and hopefully enjoy) eating fish. Also, be sure to choose fresh, Responsible Choice fish from your Hy-Vee Seafood department. Fresh fish should never smell “fishy;” instead they should smell like saltwater and the sea coast or have a very faint (not strong) fish odor.

Your local Hy-Vee seafood department is here for all your seafood needs. Our commitment to protect the ocean resources through our Responsible Choice program is an integral part of our sustainability mission to do business in a manner that promotes the well-being of our customers, employees, communities and the global environment. It’s just one reason why I’m so proud to be a part of the Hy-Vee team! Look for Responsible Choice seafood at your Hy-Vee today.