The holidays are upon us and there's no better way to celebrate family and friends than with delicious seafood. It's often a busy and hectic time, filled with lots of food, so it's important to keep up your omega-3 intake by incorporating more seafood into your celebrations. One way to do so: start with seafood!
We've rounded up some of our top seafood appetizer recipes to help you kick-start your holiday entertaining.
November is National Alzheimer’s Disease and Awareness Month, a time to educate and better understand the progressive disease that destroys memory and other important mental functions. During the month of November, the Alzheimer’s organizations across the US will be sharing new resources and ways to help raise awareness for Alzheimer’s, and honoring millions of caregivers.
Here at the Seafood Nutrition Partnership, we’re big on inspiring a healthier America and that includes brain health (in addition to the many other health benefits associated with eating a seafood-rich diet).
It’s not news that seafood is known as the ‘protein with benefits’ – not only is it a lean protein that tastes good, but it’s also packed with health benefits from essential omega-3s. Consuming omega-3s can improve brain health and may help reduce risk of dementia.
A study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine led by Dr. Cyrus Raji, a resident at UCLA, found that people who regularly eat fish have more voluminous brains than those who do not. This study found that eating fish—baked or broiled, never fried—is associated with larger gray matter volumes in brain areas responsible for memory and cognition in healthy elderly people.
"If you have a stronger hippocampus, your risk of Alzheimer's is going to go down," said Dr. Raji.
From pregnant mothers and babies to aging adults, omega-3s are important for brain health throughout the entire lifespan. They help with early cognitive development in the fetus and continue to improve learning and memory in adults.
Here are a couple of ways to increase your omega-3 and seafood intake for a healthier brain:
Hungry for more? Try one of these delicious, easy, and affordable recipes.
Diabetes is one of the leading causes of disability and death in the United States, and that is why November is dedicated to education and prevention. Nearly 30 million Americans have diabetes – that’s nearly 10% of the country – and rates are on the rise.
People who are at risk for and those who have Type 2 diabetes can significantly lower their risk and the side effects by making healthy changes. By trying to make small, incremental improvements to your eating habits, you can make a huge impact on your health outcomes. Remember, your health matters to you and to those who love you! The American Diabetic Association offers recommendations, tips and recipes for balanced meals, including the suggestion to eat (fatty) fish 2-3 times per week.
The type of fat in seafood, heart-healthy omega-3s, “helps prevent clogging of the arteries,” according to the American Diabetes Association, and has so many other benefits – including reducing inflammation, increasing insulin sensitivity, and even improving your mood (with the release of blissful serotonin) (sources below). Simply, omega-3s can improve effectiveness of insulin and reduce many of your diabetic side effects.
Additionally, this chronic disease, one of the leading causes of death in the US, actually has far more reaching side effects. People with type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to die from heart attack or stroke (sources below).
This Mustard Baked Mackerel is a great place to start – flavorful, affordable, and most importantly, good for you.
Mustard Baked Mackerel
From SNP Eating Heart Healthy Nutrition Program
Created By Chef Kelly Armetta, Hyatt Regency Boston
Cost Per Recipe: $9.87
Omega-3 Per Serving: 1,500 mg
1 lbs. - Mackerel Fillets
2 - Zucchinis, small, cut into rounds
2 Tbsp. - Mustard, Dijon
1 Tbsp. - Mayonnaise
1 tsp. - Rosemary, Dried
2 Tbsp. - Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper (S&P) to taste
You’ve gone to the store, planned your seafood and shellfish selections to enjoy at least two times this week, and ask yourself - now what? Below are the answers to three common “How Do I…” questions:
How Do I Know When My Shellfish Is Done?
How Do I Know When my Fish is Done?
Many types of fish are delicate and tender, so you want to avoid overcooking them. The best way to tell if your fish is done is by testing it with a fork at an angle, at the thickest point, and twist gently. The fish will flake easily when it's done and it will lose its translucent or raw appearance.
A good rule of thumb is to cook the fish to an internal temperature of 140-145 degrees. Try the 10-minute rule, which says you should measure the fish at its thickest point, and cook it for 10 minutes per inch, turning halfway through the cooking time.
How Do I Keep My Fish Fresh?
If you plan to eat your fish today or tomorrow, the world is your oyster! Seafood should be consumed within one to two days when it's fresh - just make sure it smells like the ocean. There should be no unpleasant "fishy" odor. All fresh seafood should be kept refrigerated or on ice.
If you plan to save your seafood for later, stick the fresh fish in the freezer or try frozen or canned options. Frozen fish can be saved for up to six months.
For more cooking tips for specific types of fish and shellfish, check out the ultimate guide to cooking seafood.
Can you tell us about Pasta Fits and what you’re doing to celebrate National Pasta Month this October?
Pasta Fits, an initiative of the National Pasta Association, offers nutrition information, weekly recipes, fun facts, entertaining ideas and other timely information about pasta and meal planning for consumers. We provide information and resources to help consumers understand how pasta fits into a healthy diet, a busy lifestyle, and a tight budget.
We’re so excited that it’s National Pasta Month again! We will be sharing brand new recipes and some new blog posts about how to celebrate this month. Keep an eye on our social channels @PastaFits for everything we’ll be doing all month long.
What are the health benefits of pasta?
Pasta is a complex carbohydrate and a great source of energy. It is digested slower than other starches and as a result, provides a slow release of energy to keep you going throughout the day. Pasta’s slow-release of energy also prevents blood sugar levels from bouncing up and down, helping to stave off hunger.
Enriched pastas provide folic acid, which is essential for women of child bearing age. Folic acid has been shown to prevent birth defects in the early stages of pregnancy. One serving of dry pasta (about ½ cup uncooked yields 1 cup cooked) supplies the equivalent of roughly 100 micrograms of folic acid, or 25% of the recommended daily intake. In addition to folic acid, enriched pasta contains several other important nutrients like iron and some B-vitamins. It is a low sodium, cholesterol free food which contains little or no fat.
Do you have any tips or tricks for cooking with pasta?
Pasta Fits offers lots of helpful cooking tips! Here is one on how to cook pasta perfectly every time:
What are some nutrient-rich pairings to go in or with pasta dishes?
Pasta goes with a wide variety of healthful foods. Try mixing and matching your pasta with a leafy greens, colorful vegetables like zucchini, broccoli or cauliflower, low-fat dairy and lean proteins, including all types of fin fish and shellfish. These foods provide additional nutrition that can help build a strong heart, bones and digestive system. They can also give you another bonus: antioxidants which protect cells from damage.
What’s one of your favorite seafood pasta dishes?
This Dill Pesto and Poached Salmon with Multi-Grain Penne is perfect as either a lunch or dinner and can be whipped up in only 30 minutes!
What are some of Sam's favorite seafood dishes?
Sam does not discriminate when it comes to food generally and seafood dishes specifically. A favorite seafood dish for him is usually what’s being served that day. Within the last couple of weeks alone, he has eaten everything from sea scallops and lemon pepper shrimp with mushroom risotto to grilled catfish and salmon croquettes made from fresh salmon.
As a parent, why did you make it a point to introduce Sam to fish and seafood at a young age?
I think it’s all about what we introduce to kids at the earliest age in terms of what they will continue into the future. I actually like to cook, and cooking for my family is complicated because my wife, Stephanie, does not eat chicken.
I have tried to cut down on our overall consumption of beef for a number of reasons, and seafood is the immediate go-to meal that keeps Stephanie, Sam and yours truly happy. I have this phrase stuck in my head of how fish is “brain food” which drives me to ensure that we are setting Sam up with the diet to facilitate his overall development.
Sam eats a healthy diet of seafood and vegetables. At the age of 2, do you notice a difference in his eating habits vs. his friends?
While a lot of kids his age are in the chicken fingers/nuggets stage, Sam will ask for and be content with food like fish, green beans, sweet potatoes (even outside of the context of candied yams), and the like. It has a lot to do with our constantly introducing different vegetables before he gets a chance to say he doesn’t like something that he’s never tried.
September is National Family Meals Month, is there anything special you do with your family during dinnertime? And why do you think this time is important for families?
We always eat at the table in the kitchen and never on the couch. We have a TV in the kitchen, but we rarely have it on when we eat. Like so many other families, meal time is often one of the few times when everyone is in the same room, doing the same thing. We just try to enjoy that moment as much as possible.
Byline: Shauna L. Nosler is food writer and editor and an Indianapolis-based SNP coalition member. She writes about sustainable seafood and just about everything related to the oceans, rivers and streams on her blog, The Midwest Mermaid
Head chef and owner of Michael’s—a Dublin, Ireland eatery focused on providing customers with fresh, sustainable seafood “directly from the boats”—is on a mission to get kids eating more seafood. Known to his patrons simply as Gaz, the restaurateur didn’t grow up eating seafood, nor did he always have the fondness for seafood that he does now.
“I didn’t appreciate the seafood Ireland had until we moved to Austria—it was only when living in landlocked Austria that I realized how lucky we are,” he said.
Upon his return to Ireland, he said he started noticing how many kids wouldn’t try fish.
“I used to go to the tables and try to convince (or bribe) them to try seafood and if they didn’t like it, I would cook them whatever they wanted … it worked.” And eventually, he says kids progressed from pleading for nuggets to coming in and asking, “what’s best today the squid or the mussels.”
And it was the younger generation’s newfound interest in seafood, that got Gaz geared up to launch his Seafood September menu—a special seafood-based menu, free to kids 12 and under.
As for his culinary skills, he says they were “barren” in the early days.
“It was turkey twizzlers and chip sandwiches,” says the chef who’s been featured in Food & Wine magazine not once, but twice. “I definitely did it the hard way, going from better restaurant to better restaurant,” he said. “My Chart House days were the turning point for my love of seafood … I was very lucky to work with the Chart House gang and seeing the fresh seafood for the first time was eye opening.”
And, says Gaz, it’s been a strong theme in his cooking ever since.
Here’s a little bit more about Seafood September and a recipe that’ll have everyone eating seafood, no matter their age.
Most people feel good about seafood – yet only one in 10 people meet the goal of having seafood two times per week. Here are the top three reasons you should step up your seafood game:
So, what are you waiting for? Get started today with some of the resources below and check out these deliciously easy and affordable recipes the whole family will like.
In honor of National Seafood Month, we invite you to take the Healthy Heart Pledge and eat seafood twice a week! Click here to learn more and encourage your friends to take the pledge for a healthier heart.
1. 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). Accessed 8/24/15: http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/Metals/ ucm393211.htm.
2. Mozaffarian D, Rimm EB. Fish intake, contaminants, and human health: evaluating the risks and the benefits. JAMA. 2006;296:1885-99
This month we were able to sit down with David LaMaster at Stonewall Jackson Middle School and ask him a few questions:
Why did you want to be involved in the Seafood Nutrition Partnership aquaponics project?
The Seafood Nutrition Partnership aquaponics project will allow our students to participate in hands-on activities and learn about science at the same time. The best lessons are always the ones that have real life importance and are fun. This project accomplishes both these goals. Our students are excited to see how this ecosystem works!
What do you think your students will gain through this project?
This project will allow our students the opportunity to learn about aquaponics and why it is a valuable source of food. In addition, they will learn the science behind how this amazing ecosystem works.
Now tell us, what is your favorite seafood dish?
I enjoy all different types of seafood. However, I love grilled salmon the most, but fish and chips are a close second.
For more information about the SNP aquaponics pilot project, please click here.
Aquaculture is also known as fish or shellfish farming. It serves many purposes, including seafood production. Not only has it improved nutrition and food security in many parts of the world, it is also one of the most resource-efficient ways to produce protein – fish convert more of the food they eat into body mass than land animals. In fact, fish are ectothermic animals which means they don’t need to use energy for body heat and all energy they consume goes toward growth.
Ready to become an aquaculture expert? Here are a few fun facts and stats to help you blow it out of the water:
How much of the world’s seafood supply is produced from aquaculture?
Globally, aquaculture supplies more than 50 percent of all seafood produced for human consumption – and that number is expected to rise. China is the largest producer of aquaculture followed by Japan, India and Norway. The U.S. is a major consumer of aquaculture products. We import about 90 percent of our seafood, half of which is from aquaculture. However, America’s aquaculture meets only five to seven percent of the demand for seafood.
What types of seafood species are most commonly produced in aquaculture?
Typical seafood species found in aquaculture are oysters, salmon, trout, hard and soft-shell crabs, and other shellfish, such as clams and mussels.
In the US, freshwater aquaculture produces catfish, trout, and tilapia. Molluscan shellfish (oysters, clams, and mussels), account for about two-thirds of marine production, followed by salmon, shrimp, barramundi, sea bass and others.
What are the different aquacultural methods?
There are a few different types of aquaculture:
Is it okay to eat farmed fish?
Yes, farmed fish is safe the eat. The U.S. laws governing the harvest and processing of seafood for human consumption are among the best in the world. Compare it to eating other farmed animals like chicken or beef. Seafood farmers follow the same food safety guidelines as land farmers. Farmed fish are fed diets specifically designed for their nutritional needs.
Hungry for more? Our very own Scientific & Nutrition Advisory Council member, Dr. Scott Nichols of Food's Future, wrote a compelling article about how eating farmed fish can save the planet. He explains why aquaculture is the fastest growing segment of agriculture and how it is poised to contribute meaningfully to our future food needs.
Check out NOAA’s FAQs about aquaculture for even more information or watch this video that gives a great overview of aquaculture in the US .
The staff, Board of Directors, and chef ambassadors of the Seafood Nutrition Partnership invite the public to join us in sharing the health impacts they have achieved through the Healthy Heart Pledge. We invite you to share your story!
Seafood Nutrition Partnership is a 501(c)3 with a mission to inspire a healthier America through partnerships and outreach to raise awareness about the essential nutritional benefits of eating seafood.
© 2017 Seafood Nutrition Partnership. All Rights Reserved.