First, don’t turn away. You’ll find out why you should take a new look at sardines: very nutritious, very inexpensive, and in the right hands, very delicious!
We all know that seafood is part of a healthy diet. For National Seafood Month, October, think of how you can add more seafood to your diet.
If you don’t already eat seafood at least one day a week, pick a day for “seafood lunch” and “seafood dinner.” Remember that:
You’ve heard that switching out animal protein for seafood protein is a much healthier way to eat.
In the western world, Portugal serves up 177 pounds per capita [source]. (It’s true that the coastal country has lots of fish at its disposal.)
U.S. consumers had a wee uptick (.1 pound) in consumption of fresh and frozen seafood in 2018, per the NOAA (
A point one pound increase? Come on, folks!
Thanks to the World Atlas for this data on U.S. seafood consumption.
1. Shrimp: 4.0 Pounds Per Capita. Shrimp are high in calcium, protein, omega-3s, and iodine.
2 & 3. Salmon & Tuna: 2.30 Pounds Per Capita. Salmon and tuna are tied as the second most popular seafood. Both contain high levels of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon is fattier and has higher levels, while tuna contains more protein.
4. Tilapia: 1.4 Pounds Per Capita.
5. Alaska Pollock: 0.98 Pounds Per Capita
6. Pangasius* (Basa or Swai): 0.69 Pounds Per Capita
7. Cod: 0.65 Pounds Per Capita
8. Catfish: 0.52 Pounds Per Capita
9. Crab: 0.51 Pounds Per Capita
10. Clams: 0.34 Pounds Per Capita
Epicurious Magazine recommends these fresh fish as affordable alternatives to the pricey salmon and tuna: catfish, dorade, porgy, mackerel, red mullet, sardines and skate wing.
If you’re on a budget—and even if you’re not—point your palate in the direction of sardines.
Don’t turn your nose up if you’ve had a prior disappointing experience with sardines. Give them another chance.
Sardines are a superfoods with lots of nutritional bang for the buck: packed with flavor, protein and omega-3 fatty acids, and a great source of vitamin D.
(FOOD TRIVIA: Sardines are named after the island of Sardinia. The small, oily fish were once in abundance in the seas around the island.)
Since fresh sardines are truly delectable. Even people who don’t like the canned variety can embrace them.
Alas, they are highly perishable, so are mostly found canned (but keep an eye out for fresh sardines during sardine season, May through October).
Different canned sardines are of different quality. You can find wonderful brands that are not “fishy.”
We are huge fans of the Bela brand, and their mackerel, too.
15 Easy Ways To Serve Sardines
If the flavor is too strong for you, add counterpoints such as a squeeze of fresh lemon, capers, a Dijon vinaigrette, fresh herbs, olives, pesto, pickled onions or other pickled vegetables, boiled or baked potatoes (see the last bullet below).
*Other names for swai and similar species are panga, pangasius, sutchi, cream dory, striped catfish, Vietnamese catfish, tra, basa and — though it’s not a shark — iridescent shark and Siamese shark. It is typically farmed in, and imported from, Vietnam. Here’s more about it.
†Blend some fresh lemon juice and zest into regular mayonnaise.