All About Fish

grilled white fish on a plate with vegetables

Are you interested in adding more fish to your diet? Fish is tasty, easy to prepare and nutritious! Read on to find out all you need to know about fish including tips on buying, storing and cooking it.

Nutrition in fish

Fish is a healthy choice.  It contains protein, vitamin D and iron. Certain fish also have omega-3 fats. For good health, we should eat least two Food Guide Servings of fish per week. One serving is 75 grams (2 ½ oz) or ½ cup. This looks like the size of a deck of cards when it’s cooked.

What fish are safe to eat?

There are many safe and healthy fish to eat. However, some fish have higher levels of mercury, a harmful toxin.  Pregnant and breastfeeding women, women who may become pregnant, infants and children need to be extra careful not to eat too much fish high in mercury. Read Get the real scoop on fish and mercury to find out which fish have higher levels of mercury.

Buying local trout 

Some farmers in Ontario raise trout. There may or may not be a Foodland Ontario logo next to the trout you buy at the store. You may have to ask for it at your local fishmonger or grocery store.  Watch this vide to see how to make Glazed Trout and Seafood Chowder.

Which fish are low in mercury? 

The fish listed below are safe and healthy for everyone to eat. They are low in mercury and higher in omega-3 fats. Try to eat a variety of these fish:

  • Anchovy
  • Atlantic mackerel
  • Bass
  • Canned tuna – choose ones with skipjack or tongo listed on the label  
  • Char
  • Cod
  • Haddock
  • Halibut
  • Herring
  • Lake whitefish
  • Perch
  • Pollock
  • Rainbow trout
  • Salmon
  • Smelt
  • Snapper
  • Sole
  • Tilapia

Fresh, frozen and canned fish are all good choices. For less sodium (salt), choose:

  • Plain fresh or frozen fish without breading or salty seasoning
  • No or low-sodium canned fish

If you buy breaded or seasoned fish, choose ones with less sodium (salt).

Tips for storing fish

  • Unopened canned salmon or tuna keeps for up to 5 years in a cool dry place, like a cupboard. Do not eat food from cans that are dented, bulging, rusting or leaking.
  • Opened canned salmon or tuna should be stored in a sealed glass or plastic container (not in the original can) and will keep for 4 days in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer.
  • Raw fresh fish keeps wrapped in the fridge for up to 2 days.
  • Raw fresh fish can be frozen. Salmon, lake or rainbow trout and mackerel will keep for up to 3 months. Sole, tilapia, cod and haddock will keep for up to 8 months.
  • Cooked fresh fish keeps for up to 4 days in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer.
  • Fish bought frozen can be kept in the freezer up to 9 months.

Tips for cooking fish

  • For less fat, bake, grill, broil, poach or microwave fish instead of frying or deep-frying it.
  • Fish can cook in as little as 10 minutes. It may be a good idea to make your side dishes first then start cooking the fish.
  • Flavor your fish with little or no salt. Herbs, spices, lemon or orange juices, wine, broth, chutneys, fruit or tomato salsa, ginger and garlic are tasty ways to flavor fish.  

Five things to do with fish

1. Make-your-own, fun fish tacos. Use whole grain tortillas as the wraps and any fish you like for the filling. Here are some filling ideas:

  • Parmesan cheese, romaine lettuce and Caesar salad dressing
  • Shredded carrots/Chinese cabbage (Napa), bean sprouts and peanut sauce
  • Cheese and salsa
  • Mango, cilantro, red onion and bell peppers 

TIP: You can use lettuce leaves as wraps as well.

2. “Delish” fish mac and cheese. Add a can of tuna (labelled skip jack or tongo) or low-sodium salmon to your next homemade macaroni and cheese.

3. Easy clean-up fish foil packets.  Wrap single pieces of fish in foil with:

  • Thinly sliced vegetables such as peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, red or green cabbage
  • A dash of wine or orange juice or no-salt broth
  • Herbs or spices or lower sodium sauces, salsa or chutney
  • Cook on the grill or in the oven

4. Quick and easy sardines on toast. Add a squeeze of lemon juice.

5. Homemade fish sticks. Beat an egg in a bowl. Dip pieces of fish into it. Then dip the fish into a bowl of panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs) mixed with seasoning such as dill or a no-added salt seasoning blend.  Before baking in the oven, spray the pieces of fish with cooking oil spray for added crispiness without the frying.

Other recipes to try

Glazed Trout with Roasted Vegetables
Seafood Chowder
Tandoori Haddock
Tea poached salmon with fruit salsa
Tuna Mini Sandwiches

You may also be interested in 

Omega-3 fats deliver Oh Mega benefits
Making Informed Choices about Fish, by Health Canada

Last Update – February 27, 2019

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