Let’s Learn Our Vitamin ABCs + D

From Hy-Vee’s partner, Dish On Fish:

Hi Seafoodies –

Part of our mission is to be a reliable source on the role of nutrition in seafood. With school on everyone’s mind we think an educational blog on vitamins ABC & D in seafood is appropriate! Each of these crucial nutrients are important for optimal heart, brain, skin, eye and immune health, along with other health benefits. And now more than ever doctors and nutritionists stress the importance of overall health.

Seafood is recognized as an important source of protein, omega-3s DHA and EPA. And while we’re focusing on vitamins A, B, C and D today, seafood provides an array of other beneficial nutrients, like vitamin E in salmon and other fish, vitamin K in oil-packed canned tuna and sardines and minerals like iron, magnesium and the antioxidant selenium. Eating 2-3 servings of a variety of seafood each week, as recommended by the current dietary guidelines [insert link], will help ensure you are getting a variety of important nutrients.”

Lucky for all of us that seafood is so nutritious – and can be on the table in under 30 minutes.  Ready to learn those ABC and D’s? Let’s dive in!

Vitamin A

A fat-soluble vitamin that acts as an antioxidant, vitamin A is important for proper eye, skin, reproductive and immune system health. Vitamin A is found in plant foods (think colorful veggies and fruits, like sweet potatoes and pumpkin) as beta-carotene and in animal foods—like seafood—as preformed vitamin A. Both forms are converted into retinal and retinoic acid in the body to support vitamin A’s many roles in the body. Favorites like tuna, salmon, trout and herring receive an A for providing this important vitamin.

Vitamin B

Vitamin B actually refers to 8 different vitamins, all of which contribute to energy metabolism in various ways. Seafood provides multiple B vitamins, particularly vitamins B-12 (cobalamin), B-2 (riboflavin), B-3 (niacin) and B-6 (pyridoxine). Adequate vitamin B-12 helps prevent anemia, vitamin B-2 helps metabolize fats and medications, vitamin B-6 helps with the production of red blood cells and immune health and vitamin B-3 helps promote skin, nerve and GI health and healthy cholesterol levels. Eat more seafood—like salmon, trout, oysters, clams and mussels—to get a healthy dose of various B vitamins.

Vitamin C

If your parents gave you orange juice or vitamin C chewables as a kid to support your immune system, they were on to something. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that boosts immunity by fighting against harmful molecules called free radicals, helps promote a healthy heart and brain, boosts iron absorption and promotes collagen production for healthy skin and blood vessels. While we get most of our vitamin C from fruits, vegetables and fortified foods, there is vitamin C in oysters and smaller amounts in other seafood. Another important note about vitamin C—it’s an essential nutrient, meaning our bodies don’t make it so we must get it through our diet. So, pair your seafood with fruit and vegetables to maximize vitamin C and iron absorption.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D plays several roles in the body, but two of its most important functions includes bone and immune health. It is crucial for healthy bones and teeth by boosting calcium and phosphorous absorption and for supporting a healthy immune system. Known as the “sunshine vitamin,” our bodies make vitamin D when ultraviolet (UV) rays hit our skin. But depending on sunscreen use, time spent outdoors, the season and where you live, our bodies may not make adequate amounts of vitamin D. And that’s where seafood comes in. Fatty fish is one of the few foods that naturally contains vitamin D. So, this fall and winter—when you’re likely spending more time indoors—be sure your plate includes vitamin D-rich fatty fish, like salmon tuna and mackerel.

September: Family Meals Month

Researchers, health experts, popular media, and communities across America are joining the movement to commit to one more meal at home per week every September for #FamilyMealsMovement! Most compellingly, families like yours are joining in and seeing the benefits.  In fact, more than 8 in 10 of those seeing the National Family Meals Month™ campaign say that it is important and, better yet, are taking action to making family meals happen!

The data on why family meals matter is positively overwhelming.

Studies show again and again the significant, measurable scientific proof about the positive, lifelong benefits of family meals.  Family meals nourish the spirit, brain and health of all family members.

  • Regular family meals are linked to higher grades and self-esteem and delayed sexual activity.
  • Children who grow up sharing family meals are more likely to exhibit prosocial behavior as adults, such as sharing, fairness and respect.
  • With each additional family meal shared each week, adolescents are less likely to show symptoms of violence, depression and suicide, less likely to use or abuse drugs or run away, and less likely to engage in risky behavior or delinquent acts.
  • Adults and children who eat at home more regularly are less likely to suffer from obesity.
  • Increased family meals are associated with greater intake of fruits and vegetables.

We believe that seafood can be an excellent choice for you family meal. Here are a few of the benefits:

new faves and better grades from seafood for kids

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seafood gets straight As. Research shows that seafood nutrition benefits students of all ages. That’s why the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and American Academy of Pediatrics both say kids should eat fish at least twice a week.

 

A+ FOR NEEDED NUTRIENTS

Seafood is rich in nutrients needed for growth and development, including vitamins A and D, necessary for eye and bone development, and omega-3 fats (EPA and DHA), essential for growth and brain development. Many species contain high levels of vitamin D and calcium, and most shellfish pumps the iron.

A+ FOR KIDS IN THE CLASSROOM

Did you know kids who eat fish at least once per week may do better in school? Research shows an association between fish intake and better grades!

The benefits of seafood go beyond just grades.

  • Feed your brain: studies show fish eaters have bigger memory and learning centers.
  • Better your sight: along with supporting healthy eye development, omega-3s support our ability to detect light.
  • Have D for your bones: just one serving of salmon can provide 100% of the daily recommended value for vitamin D.

A+ FOR VERSATILITY

Contrary to popular opinion, many seafood varieties have mild flavor that suits a variety of your children’s favorite dishes. Shrimp and white fish such as cod, tilapia or Alaska pollock are great in tacos, quesadillas, pasta dishes and more.

There are so many types of seafood to choose from. Frozen and canned varieties are easy to prepare and serve.

And that’s just some of the reasons kids should eat fish! 

Stay Strong With Seafood And Family Meals

Magic happens during family mealtime when children and parents gather around the table and engage each other in conversation. Regular family meals are linked to the kinds of outcomes we all want for our children: higher grades and self-esteem, healthier eating habits and weight, and less risky behavior.

Making and eating dinner at home is one way families can stay connected and share their daily experiences while enjoying a nutritious meal. Getting kids involved in cooking makes them feel proud of helping and more likely to eat wholesome foods.

Fish and shellfish are good options for busy nights. Most seafood can be cooked in 15 minutes or less. Additionally, fish and shellfish are sources of lean protein, low in saturated fat and rich in vitamins and minerals, most notably the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans and American Academy of Pediatrics both recommend at least two servings of seafood per week to support heart and brain health.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easy Seafood Cooking Tips for Busy Families

• Cook it from frozen: the
Alaska Seafood Marketing
Institute offers whole series
of tasty recipes called Cook It
Frozen!®. Most frozen seafood
can be prepared in as little as
15 minutes. You can also stock
up on frozen seafood when
it’s on sale.

• Stock up on canned seafood:
When you’re at the grocery
store, grab canned, tin or
pouch seafood (especially
when on sale). Canned seafood
often offers a more reasonably
priced alternative and can be
tossed into salads or pastas for
an easy meal.

• Cook it once, eat it twice: Try
doubling recipes to get ahead
on cooking and have a dinner
or lunch ready for later in the
week. Recipes that freeze well,
such as stews and casseroles,
are great to double. Also,
consider cooking an extra
piece of fish to use on a salad
or in a sandwich the next day.

• Grab-and-go options: the
easiest cooking tip of all is to
grab pre-prepped seafood
from your local grocery store
to just bring home and heat!

Eat Seafood, America!

EAT SEAFOOD, AMERICA, TO HELP SAVE AN INDUSTRY THAT EMPLOYS 2 MILLION AMERICANS.

The coronavirus poses a significant threat to the U.S. seafood economy. Support our fishing communities by eating delicious seafood.

 

EAT SEAFOOD, AMERICA, TO HELP YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM AND STAY HEALTHY.

Seafood’s omega-3s reduce inflammation, support your immune health and can even help reduce stress and anxiety — all things we need right now during these times.

 

EAT SEAFOOD, AMERICA, TO SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESSES THROUGH THESE UNPRECEDENTED TIMES.

Purchase seafood from Hy-Vee to cook at home, or order from your favorite restaurants for delivery or pick-up.

Many fishermen and distributors have shifted to online deliveries to help get healthy seafood to Americans. Help support these local businesses.

 

EAT SEAFOOD, AMERICA, TO TAKE YOUR TASTEBUDS ON VACATION.

Need an escape from your house?  Seafood can transport you to your favorite vacation memories!  Step 1: Make a festive meal, like fish tacos or crab cakes.   Step 2: Set the scene on the big screen – YouTube tranquil beach.  Step 3:  Pull up the coffee table and dig in!

 

Join the #EatSeafoodAmerica Movement.

Seafood Swap

Have you considered a Seafood Swap on some of your favorite foods? Summer is a great time to use seafood swaps in burgers, tacos, pizzas, pastas, skewers, salads and more! Bonus: It’s good for our health and the planet’s health.

The Seafood Nutrition Partnership staff have always liked to experiment in the kitchen and try out new recipes, and we’re here to share some of our learnings. This is a great time to learn how to swap different ingredients into favorite dishes or even try a new recipe. Below, we’ll talk about ideas for swapping seafood into your family’s favorite foods, talk about how different species of seafood can be swapped into dishes, and also share some tips on how we are creatively using items from our pantry to make recipes work when we don’t have all the correct ingredients on hand.

Also, check out our blog post about using canned or frozen seafood and another about our favorite comfort foods with seafood.

Seafood Swaps

Seafood works for all of your family’s favorite foods – even comfort foods! Think fish and shellfish when making burgers, tacos, pizza, salad, sandwiches, and more!

Tacos: This is arguably the easiest place to add seafood. Any fish as well as shrimp, lobster and scallops are all perfect vehicles for taco seasoning. Here are a couple of our favorite recipes (and we have dozens of variations):

 

Burgers: There are several types of seafood-based burgers available at grocery stores across the country, including salmon, Alaska pollock, shrimp and mahi mahi. But, you can also make them at home! Any “cake” recipe – think crab cakes – can be sized up for a full-size burger or just make mini sliders!

 

 

Pizza: Though we’re a nutrition organization, we strongly believe there is a place in everyone’s diet for pizza! Seafood makes for a great pizza topper. Try some of our favorite combos:

 

What Seafood Should I Buy?

In our Ultimate Guide to Buying Seafood and Ultimate Guide to Cooking Seafood, we share a lot of information about utilizing different species of seafood, as well as offer tips to make the most of what you can find at the grocery store. This includes lists of fish that have similar qualities such as taste profiles and cooking techniques.

If you’re looking for:

  • A light, delicate fish. Choose a lean fish, such as barramundi, sea bass, cod, flounder, grouper, haddock, halibut, mahi mahi, perch, pollock, red snapper, rockfish, sole or yellowfin tuna. For shellfish, shrimp, crab and lobster are light and lean.
  • For a richer taste. Choose a fattier fish usually with darker flesh, such as herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines, swordfish, trout or albacore tuna. Several shellfish varieties fit in this rich category and offer delicious briny flavor, such as clams, mussels and oysters.

In terms of cooking style, if you want to:

  • Grill: Many fish stand up to the heat, and it can bring out a delicious smoky flavor. Pick a variety that is firmer in texture, such as catfish, mahi mahi, salmon, scallops, shrimp, snapper, swordfish or tuna. Many fish also are great on grilled skewers!
  • Steam or poach: Try lean fish – mild-flavored with tender, white or pale flesh – such as sea bass, cod, flounder, grouper, haddock, halibut or pollock.
  • Broil or bake: Try a medium-fat fish, such as bluefish, catfish, salmon or swordfish.
  • Eat it without having to cook it: Choose a precooked fish that’s frozen (so you just have to warm it up), or opt for canned tuna, salmon, sardines or crab.

White fish is generally the best example of these “species swaps.” White fish is simply a mild-flavored, often slightly-sweet fish, which can be interchangeable in recipes. These include wild Alaska pollock, bass, cod, grouper, haddock and halibut. There are also some thinner fillets of white fish, which can be used in these recipes but keep in mind they cook much faster, including flounder, perch and sole. Learn all about these white fish options in this blog post.

To sum it up: Let availability and freshness be your guides. It’s easy to substitute one fish for another in a recipe. Also, keep in mind the frozen and canned sections offer the same health benefits and often a wider variety to choose from.

Recipe Ingredients on Hand

If you’re not be able to find all the ingredients to try out a specific recipe and we’re here to offer some easy swaps for some popular ingredients. Some general tips:

  • Fruits and vegetables can swap in recipes. For example, if you want to make this Smoked Salmon and Kale Frittata recipe that calls for kale, try spinach or even frozen spinach, just make sure you wring out excess liquid. Keep in mind for baking, the liquid in a recipe can throw off the end texture or the baking time.
  • Acidic liquid ingredients such as lemon juice and vinegar can be swapped, just keep in mind the end flavor profile. It’s a great time to use those random bottles of vinegar at the back of your pantry!
  • We always recommend using a lot of herbs and spices for flavoring, and only add salt if needed. Experiment with different flavor combos using those dried herbs you bought for a specific recipe months ago. We’ve been playing around with different spices in our tuna and salmon salads and found curry is amazing paired in this staple! (Try this recipe.)

Here are some tips to use ingredients you have on hand for cooking fish dishes:

Recipe calls for: Try swapping:
Buttermilk Yogurt, or milk with a small amount of lemon juice or vinegar added
Bread crumbs Rolled oats, crushed cereal, or crushed crackers
Cream (half and half) For one cup, 7/8 cup milk plus 1 Tbsp. butter
Cream (heavy) For one cup, 3/4 cup milk plus 1/3 cup butter
Cream cheese pureed cottage cheese
Garlic (clove) One clove of garlic = 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
Herbs (fresh) 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh = 1 tsp. dried herbs
Lemon zest Approximately double the quantity of lemon juice
Mayonnaise Avocado, plain Greek yogurt, sour cream
Sour cream plain Greek yogurt
Wine Broth, fruit juice mixed with a splash of vinegar

Tips For Grilling Seafood

The month of June heralds the full return of my favorite culinary tool: the outdoor grill. The smoky charm of being cooked over a live fires flatters skin-on trout fillets; super fresh sides of bluefish; and whole, oily, omega-3 rich mackerel alike.

But the fragile texture of fish fillets and the misconception that fish skin sticks to the grates, make the prospect of grilling fish intimidating. But I’ve got an easy answer to both concerns:  use the indirect grilling method for cooking all types of seafood. This technique employs two different cooking areas on the grill; one directly above the high heat of hot coals and the other sitting opposite the coals, where indirect heat gently cooks the fish to completion.

To set up a charcoal grill for indirect grilling, use a coal chimney to light the charcoal and when hot coals are ready, place all of them on one side of the kettle. Arrange well-seasoned fish fillets, skin-side down on the grill directly over these hot coals so they lay, head-to-tail, parallel to the grates.

Sear the fillets over the high heat for two minutes. Then rotate the grill grate 180 degrees, so the fish sits on the side of the grill away from the hot coals. Cover the grill, and finish cooking the fillets via indirect heat, which will take another 8-10 minutes (the general rule being 10 minutes total cooking time per inch of thickness.)

For gas grills, simply preheat both sides of the grill on high. Lay the fish on the grates on one side of the grill and cook for two minutes. Turn off the burner under the fish, but keep the burners opposite the fish fired up, cover the grill, and finish cooking.

This method also works well for smaller, whole fish. You do need to flip the fish over before rotating the grill grate away from the hots coals and cover the grill to cook it completely.

This technique helps cooks get more healthy seafood on the table more often. Please take the Seafood Nutrition Partnership’s Pledge to Eat #Seafood2xWk as a positive commitment to eat the USDA’s recommendation of eating two servings of seafood per week. To take the pledge, go to www.seafoodnutrition.org/pledge.

Grilled Skin-on Fish Fillets with Marinated Citrus Salad
This recipe works well with all types of fish fillets including Alaskan pollock, barramundi, John Dory, red snapper, salmon and trout.

Ingredients

  • 2 oranges, peeled and segmented
  • 1 lemon, peeled and segmented
  • 1 serrano chile, very thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, very thinly sliced
  • Salt
  • 4 skin-on fish fillets
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons good red wine vinegar

Directions

  • Combine orange and lemon segments, chile, shallot, and salt to taste in a colander. Let mixture sit while you cook the fish.
  • Prepare a charcoal grill, concentrating the hot coals onto one side of the kettle. Season fillets with salt. Place the fish, skin-side down, over the hottest part of the fire, leaving them there until the edges begin to crisp, about 2 minutes. To finish cooking, rotate the grill grate so the fish sits opposite the hot coals. Cover the grill and continue to cook for another 8-10 minutes, until fish is cooked through.
  • Transfer the draining citrus mixture into a bowl and gently stir in vinegar and olive oil.
  • Use a fish spatula to remove the fish from the grill and place them on a warm plate. Serve the fillets immediately with the marinated citrus salad

Tips For Little Seafoodies (And Their Caregivers)

HEALTH GOODIES FOR LITTLE SEAFOODIES

When kids eat at least two servings of seafood each week, the benefits are big. Fish and shellfish supply the nutrients, vitamins and omega-3s essential for strong bones, brain development, and a healthy heart and immune system.

  • Big Yums + Big Brains
    Fish makes your brain bigger, literallyYour brain is nearly 60% fat, and omega-3 fatty acids found in seafood are among the most crucial molecules that determine your brain’s ability to perform.
  • New Faves + Better Grades
    Kids who eat fish at least once per week may do better in school. Seafood’s omega-3s help kids’ brains develop, leading to higher IQs and improved reading and spelling skills. Plus, children who consume more seafood have less anxiety and better focus.
  • Clean Plates + Healthy Eyes
    Nearly half of our eyes’ light-detecting cell structure is made up of omega-3s.
fish

SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD IS A WIN-WIN:
HEALTHY FOR YOUR KIDS, HEALTHY FOR THE PLANET.

You have two basic choices for sustainable seafood: wild-caught from well-managed fisheries or raised from farms that adhere to responsible practices. Today, it’s easier than ever to find either option.

  • Buy certified.
    Several certification programs work with fisheries, farms and companies to ensure sustainability.
    Look for logos such as these:
  • Shop at a reputable store.
    100 percent of Hy-Vee’s fresh and frozen seafood comes from responsible sources.
  • Ask questions.
    Your store can tell you where it gets its seafood and if it was responsibly raised or caught. Just ask your Hy-Vee seafood department for more information.
  • Use the web.
    Consult sites like SeafoodWatch.org and FishWatch.gov to find great sustainable seafood choices.
  • Choose American.
    The U.S. is the global leader in sustainable seafood.

Little Seafoodies

The benefits of seafood for kids are big! Fish and shellfish supply the nutrients, vitamins and omega-3s essential for strong bones, brain development, and healthy heart and immune system. So how do moms get their kids to eat more of this delicious, nutritious food?

Seafood Nutrition Partnership talked to hundreds of moms and asked top nutrition experts and chefs for their input — all parents with tested-true tips.

Live Smarter And Heathier With Seafood

Fish provides essential health for everyone in the family.

Here are some excellent reasons to celebrate National Seafood Month:

  1. LIVE (HEALTHIER) LONGER: Fish literally saves lives. Eating seafood two to three times per week reduces the risk of death from any health-related cause by 17 percent. Seven out of 10 deaths in the U.S. are preventable through nutrition and lifestyle changes, like adding omega-3s to your diet. Low seafood intake contributes to 55,000 deaths each year, making seafood deficiency a leading dietary contributor to preventable death in the U.S. Older adults with highest fish consumption lived an average of 2.2 years longer.
  2. SEAFOOD IS A “PROTEIN WITH BENEFITS:” Seafood sits among the highest-quality proteins (like eggs, meats, poultry and dairy) and offers additional health benefits. It can reduce your risk of heart disease, improve how you feel during pregnancy and help your child develop a healthy brain and eyes, and improve memory and sharpness. As a “protein with benefits,” leading health organizations recommend Americans eat seafood at least twice a week.
  1. SEAFOOD IS BRAIN FOOD: “As calcium is to the bones, DHA is to the brain,” says Dr. Tom Brenna, member of the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. Seafood provides docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a type of omega-3 essential for brain development and function, helping neurons trigger and cells regenerate. It is such an important building block that people with low levels of it have measurably smaller brains! The FDA and EPA agree seafood consumption is especially important for pregnant or nursing women because eating fish regularly helps with the growth and development of children’s brains and even helps boost IQ. Babies from moms who ate seafood twice a week had a higher IQ averaging 5.8 points. People who regularly eat fish are 20% less likely than their peers to have depression.7 In fact, the American Psychiatric Association has endorsed the fatty acids in fish as an effective part of depression treatment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources cited at seafoodnutrition.org