Thursday, May 22, 2008

Quick Canned Seafood

One easy way to increase the amount of omega-3 fats in your diet is to eat canned fish two or three times a week. The richest sources of omega 3's in seafood are the fatty fish that live in cold, deep water. Tuna, salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel and anchovies are all in this category. Canned clams, crabmeat, squid or shrimp contribute smaller amounts of omega-3's.

Tuna Steak

Water-packed tuna or salmon can be added to salads or eaten just as they come from the can. Sardines packed in mustard sauce or tomato sauce make tasty snacks. If you want to buy fish packed in oil, make sure it's olive oil or canola oil, which are monounsaturated oils. The other oils commonly used, such as soybean oil and cottonseed oil, are high in omega-6's.
The amount of fat in tuna varies from fish to fish, and the packer must measure and label each batch to reflect the actual fat content. That's why you may find two cans of the exact same brand and style of water-packed tuna, one with 1 gram of fat per serving and another with 5 grams per serving. This is one time that more is better; the fattiest tuna contains the most omega-3's.
Tuna and salmon are now widely available in convenient foil packages. Take advantage of the array of flavors and seasonings to add new interest to your salads and quick meals.
Here are two easy recipes to get you started.

Salade Nicoise
For the dressing:
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
For the salad:
1 can butter beans or white beans, drained
1 7-ounce pouch white tuna (or a 6-ounce can, drained)
1 small head romaine, in bite-size pieces
1 red bell pepper, cut in strips
1 cucumber, halved lengthwise, then cut in thin slices
10 baby carrots, quartered lengthwise
1/4 head cauliflower, broken into small florets
1 box grape or cherry tomatoes, halved if large
1/4 cup sliced black olives
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley (optional)
Combine the dressing ingredients. Mix the dressing with the beans and tuna and set aside to marinate while preparing the remaining ingredients. Then toss everything together in a glass serving bowl.
4-6 servings
California Tuna Salad
1 7-ounce pouch white tuna (or a 6-ounce can, drained)
1 16 ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3 oranges, peeled, halved and cut into 1/4" slices
4 green onions, sliced (white part)
1/4 cup Italian dressing, yogurt or mayonnaise
Juice and grated peel of 1 lime
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (fresh coriander)
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Romaine lettuce leaves (optional)
Combine the tuna, beans, oranges and onions in a bowl. Mix the remaining ingredients, pour over the salad and toss. Serve on lettuce leaves if desired.
4 servings
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Dr. Gabe Mirkin has been a radio talk show host for 25 years and practicing physician for more than 40 years; he is board certified in four specialties, including sports medicine. Read or listen to hundreds of his fitness and health reports at
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