Frozen Seafood: A Heart Healthy Menu Option

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The American diet tends to be high in saturated fat from everyone’s favorite foods like cheeseburgers, hot dogs, fried foods, and heavy desserts. The new Dietary Guidelines recommended consuming no more than 5-6% of daily calories from saturated fat, but many Americans exceed this limit on a regular basis.

Food high in saturated fat includes red meat, processed meats (i.e., sausage, bacon), full-fat cheese, butter, and other dairy products. Health professionals warn against high intake of saturated fat as it may increase cholesterol levels in the blood, which raises the risk for heart disease.

One easy solution to reduce consumption of saturated fat is to choose a frozen source of lean protein such as seafood.

Frozen seafood is a versatile protein that’s low in total fat and saturated fat. Seafood is also packed with essential nutrients such as vitamin A, D, B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and iron.

Buying frozen seafood over fresh options tends to be more affordable and has an extended shelf life while maintaining key nutrients. However, frozen seafood is still considered a perishable item and should be consumed within 6 months of being in the freezer.

Using frozen seafood in place of other sources of protein can be easier than you think! Next time Taco Tuesday rolls around, consider using frozen seafood to create shrimp tacos. Sauté the shrimp with bell peppers and onions. Then add all your favorite toppings such as coleslaw, guacamole, or mango salsa to corn tortillas for a delicious meal option.

A balanced meal using seafood can be as simple as a sheet pan recipe. Try adding frozen salmon, diced red potatoes, and a green vegetable such as asparagus to a cooking sheet. Drizzle ingredients with olive oil and season with your favorite spices. Cook in the oven at 400 ° for 15-20 minutes until cooked through.

You can also get more adventurous by making a seafood pasta dish. Recipes typically call for “mixed frozen seafood” which can be found in the freezer section to make this dish as easy as can be. Use your favorite pasta and sauce to create a culinary masterpiece!

An American favorite is a grilled burger which contains about 6 grams of saturated fat which is roughly half of the recommendation for the day. A tasty alternative can be using fish fillets to make deluxe fish burgers. Top with lettuce, tomato, avocado, and a squeeze of lemon and serve with oven-roasted potatoes. You will be amazed at how tasty this meal is.

Frozen seafood is a great source of protein without saturated fat. I challenge you to add 2 meals containing seafood per week! Remind your clients to read food labels to keep their choices lower in saturated fat and sodium.

Other ways to use frozen seafood include:

  • Seafood chowder
  • Steamed fish, veggies, and couscous
  • Fish tacos
  • Stir fry with shrimp
  • Pad Thai with prawn
  • Seafood rice skillet

By Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LD

PDF Handout: Frozen Seafood Tips

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