Fish for Your Heart: Healthy Ways to Cook Fish

— Written By Lethia Lee and last updated by Patricia Burch

The American Heart Association recommends eating two servings of fish each week. But, it’s important that your fish be prepared in a way that lets your fish maintain it’s health benefits. Stay away from heavy breading and high-fat sauces because they add more calories than you probably need. Choose preparation methods that don’t add many extra calories and choose recipes that feature additional healthy ingredients.

Want some ideas? Here are six of my favorite ways.

  1. Baking fish is easy, but it takes longer than other cooking methods, maybe 15 to 20 minutes of total cooking time. The fattier fish don’t require any extra liquid or fat, but the lean white fish tend to dry out if you’re not careful.
  1. Grill Fish. Fish is great on the grill because it cooks fast without becoming dry—just be sure the grates are non-stick or coated with oil. Grilled works best with whole fish, but a thick steak works well too. The more delicate filets can be grilled on foil packets. Remember that fish cooks quickly on the grill—once the flesh is flaky, it’s ready to be served.
  1. Sautéing, or pan frying, is another speedy way to cook fish. It’s best for white fish that are low in fat—you can add a little bit of butter or oil to the pan if necessary. This is also a good way to get the flavor of fried fish, but with fewer calories. Use a light coating of crumbs or flour instead of a thick batter that soaks up fat. Use a medium heat with just enough oil to coat the pan.
  1. Soups, stews, and chowders are all healthy ways to enjoy fish and a good reason to use your slow cooker. Choose fish soups and chowders made with clear broth or use low-fat recipes. You can serve fish soup as an appetizer, or just add a green salad and a whole grain roll, and you’ve got a meal.
  1. Start with canned fish — both tuna and salmon are available in cans and pouches, and they’re perfect for making a quick sandwich. Use whole grain bread, the fish, maybe a little bit of mayonnaise and some lettuce and tomato. Canned tuna and salmon can be used in a variety of main dish recipes, as well. Look for recipes that are lower in fat. Stay away from casseroles that have too many ingredients that are high in fat or sodium. Sardines and anchovies are also available in cans. They’re great served as appetizers with whole grain crackers.
  1. Poached Fish is another way fish is cooked healthy. It cooks in a liquid that is barely simmering on the stove. It doesn’t take long—only about 10 minutes. It’s delicious with no extra fat and only has a small amount of calories.

These are just a few ideas we should all try to incorporate into our healthy food plan. We need to plan healthy meals for our family. We should all know what a balanced meal plan actually looks like. We need to all know how to follow a low-calorie diet and not hate it. Most importantly, we should know how to find healthy foods on a Restaurant menu.