Fish makes up a big part of my protein intake. Most often, I consume fish for lunch. I am not much of a poultry person – e.g. there’s no way I could eat chicken 4 times a week. No matter how well the chicken is spiced up, the inherent and interesting flavour of fish is a lot more appealing to my taste buds. In this post, I want to share my 3 most favourite fish – based on their taste and nutritional profile:
Living in a tuna-centric Western food culture, wonderful mackerel rarely ever makes it on the menu. Too bad – not only is mackerel chock full of omega 3’s, but also from a sustainable fishing perspective, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) has mackerel on its „fish to eat“ list.
For me as a student, I love mackerel for its cheap price. For 2 Euros I get 200 g of smoked mackerel in German supermarkets. Given its excellent nutrient profile, this is great value for money. If you can get your hands on fresh mackerel, grilling is my most favourite way to prepare it.
I occassionally make it to the fish market where getting the freshest and sexiest looking sardines is one of my priorities. Usually, I like to deep-fry them in coconut oil or just oven roast them with olive oil and S&P.
In an ideal world, I would always get my sardines fresh from the market. In my less than ideal world – this is not happening. This is why most of the time I will opt for canned sardines as my go-to alternative. Not only do I love them for the fact that they are incredibly nutrient-dense, they also make for the perfect lunch meal. One of my favourite lunches is to mix a can of sardines with an avocado, sprinkle sea salt on top and squeeze some lemon juice over it- et voila! One thing I will often do in the canteen is to load up my plate with all kinds of salads and veggies and just mix it all together with the can of sardines I brought along. HERE is my recipe where I grilled fresh sardines and accompanied them with sweet potatoes and spinach.
Because you eat the entire sardine (this includes the skin and soft bones), you get to provide your body with all the gelatin and calcium goodness that make up bones and connective tissue. If you don’t like sipping on bone broth, eating whole sardines is an equivalent option.
Canned sardines would be almost perfect if it wasn’t for one thing – the vegetable oil they come in. Most often, you will find sardines swimming in sunflower or safflower oil. These oils are CRAP because they are full of Omega-6’s, will thereby increase your inflammation and negate any positive effects you get from the Omega-3’s found in the sardines. Better to look for olive oil or ideally sardines in water.
Salmon has previously made onto my list of 5 Most Frequent Foods in my Diet. I still eat a lot of salmon these days because it’s the most optimal fish out there in my opinion. Ever since living in Vancouver last year, I can’t stop thinking about the awesomeness of wild-caught Sockeye salmon. Unlike aqua-cultured farmed salmon, Sockeye is very lean and has this bright deep red hue to it. In case you are wondering, 100g of the stuff will give you 22g of high quality protein and 1,1g of Omega 3’s.
Now, I realise that wild-caught salmon is expensive. I also can’t afford to buy 500g each week. As with sardines, one option is to revert to canned salmon. Surprisingly, canned Sockeye is often sold at supermarkets (at least in Canada and parts of the US). Living in Germany, I get smoked Sockeye from the supermarket for a pretty good deal.
If you are absolutely unwilling to pay extra for wild-caught salmon, eating farmed salmon is still better than eating no salmon at all. It’s not ideal but then again it’s cheaper. In the end, you choose how much financial resources you are willing to allocate to the foods you put in your body.