Pledge to Eat #Seafood2xWk in 2018

January often brings drastic lifestyle changes, such as fad diets and intense exercise routines; but 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail by February. While most people hope to start the New Year on the right foot – or gill, as we like to say – making small changes to your diet with attainable goals and milestones is often the best way to see an impact.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans and leading health organizations suggest eating two servings of seafood per week for optimal health. While only 1 in 10 people are following this recommendation, it’s not hard to make quick and simple changes for a healthier and better you in 2018.

Seafood sits among the highest quality proteins and offers many additional health benefits. It is beneficial in brain development and heart health, improves how women feel during pregnancy, and aids in brain and eye development for children.[1],[2],[3]

Nutritious food and brain health are closely connected. Omega-3 DHA, found in seafood, is abundant in your brain and helps neurons trigger and cells regenerate. It is such an important building block that people with low levels of it have measurably smaller brains!3

Eating seafood twice a week can also reduce risk of heart disease and give more energy throughout the day.1 Eyes depend on omega-3s for optimal function as nearly half of eyes’ light-detecting cell structure is made of omega-3s.

Additional research has shown that when pregnant or nursing moms eat at least two servings of a variety of seafood per week, there are positive benefits for both mom and the baby. Babies have improved brain development[4],[5] and experience higher IQs.[6]

This Italian Tuna Salad is the perfect place to start. It’s easy to make for a lunch or two during the week and packed with veggies and omega-3s.

Italian Tuna Salad

All you need:

  • 1 medium russet potato, cubed
  • 2 5-oz cans of tuna, packed in olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp oregano, dried
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 5-oz bag salad greens, mixed
  • 1 14.5-oz can green beans, low sodium
  • ¼ cup black olives, pitted
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • ¼ cup cherry tomatoes

All you do:

  1. Boil potato for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, drain oil from tuna into a bowl. Set tuna aside.
  3. Into the oil from tuna, add balsamic vinegar and oregano. Salt and pepper to taste. Mix dressing well.
  4. Mix greens with potatoes and green beans.
  5. Add olives, cucumber, tomatoes, tuna and dressing.

Serving suggestion: Serve tuna salad with whole-grain bread.

Take the Pledge to Eat #Seafood2xWk

Eating seafood regularly can save lives and significantly improve overall health. Consuming two servings each week is an easy way to make a positive commitment to your health and the health of those around you. Learn more at seafoodnutrition.org.

[1] Mozaffarian D, Rimm EB. Fish intake, contaminants, and human health: evaluating the risks and the benefits. JAMA. 2006; 296:1885- 99.
[2] Hibbeln JR, Davis JM, Steer C, Emmett P, Rogers I, Williams C, Golding J. Maternal seafood consumption in pregnancy and neurodevelopmental outcomes in childhood (ALSPAC study): an observational cohort study. Lancet. 2007;369(9561):578-85.
[3]  Tan MD, MPH, Z.S. Red blood cell omega-3 fatty acid levels and markers of accelerated brain aging. Neurology. 2012 Feb 28;78(9):658-664.
[4] New Advice: Pregnant Women and Young Children Should Eat More Fish. February 2015. Available at www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm397443.htm.
[5] U.S. Department of Agriculture. Eat Seafood Twice a Week. September 2015. Available at www.choosemyplate.gov/ten-tips-eat-seafood
[6] FDA, Quantitative Assessment of the Net Effects on Fetal Neurodevelopment from Eating Commercial Fish (As Measured by IQ and also by Early Age Verbal Development in Children). June 2014. Available at www.fda.gov/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/Metals/ucm393211.htm.

Author: Kathleen Mullen-Ley

My name is Kathleen Mullen-Ley, and I am a project manager for FishWise. FishWise, a nonprofit sustainable seafood consultancy, has been working with Hy-Vee to research and recommend seafood product sourcing, develop and implement Hy-Vee's Responsible Choice Seafood materials and staff training, and analyze data to measure progress towards Hy-Vee's 2015 Commitment. I hold a master’s degree in marine biodiversity and conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography and a Bachelor of Arts in environmental studies from the University of California Santa Cruz. My graduate research project was an analysis of the World Trade Organization ruling on the U.S. dolphin-safe tuna label and its implications for future market-based marine conservation efforts. My experience analyzing fishery management issues and communicating marine science to diverse audiences combined with my respect for ocean life has made me well-prepared to take on the challenges of sustainable seafood.