How to prepare your fish in a healthy way

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Fish is a healthy and versatile food, a good source of protein, iodine, iron, zinc and other minerals, vitamins, including vitamin B12, as well as being a good source of marine omega-3 polyunsaturated fats. All of these are great for our health. Find out how the healthiest ways to prepare your fish.

How much fish or seafood do I have to eat to get my omega-3s?

A serve of fish is considered to be 150g. Health authorities recommend two to three serves each week for our healthy omega-3 fats.

Fish with the highest levels of omega-3 fats include:

  • salmon: fresh or canned
  • sardines: fresh or canned
  • mackerel
  • rainbow trout
  • tuna: fresh and some canned varieties.

Other good marine sources of omega-3s are:

  • barramundi
  • bream
  • flathead
  • herring
  • blue grenadier or hoki.


Cooking fish

Fish is also easy to prepare, whether you use a pan, oven or barbeque, keep it simple and it’s hard to go wrong.


Fish fillets

Try baking fish in the oven so you don’t get the fishy smell that you will from a pan. Barbequing outdoors is another good option as the good air circulation means fewer smells lingering.

All it takes for a fish fillet or steak in the oven is 10-15 minutes at a moderate (180C) temperature. A whole fish will take longer. To keep your fish moist in the oven either wrap it in baking paper with herbs and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, or a wedge of lemon and fresh herbs, or add a moist layer to the top of the fish, such as sliced lemon or pesto.

If you don’t mind the smell or you have super fresh fish – which has less odour – then keep it simple. Pan fry the fresh fish, or you could coat it in plain flour, and add a tablespoon or so of extra virgin olive oil to the pan and fry it for a few minutes each side. It depends on the thickness as to how long you need to cook it for but you can cut a fillet to see if it has turned opaque all the way through, indicating it is cooked.

Serve your fish with a salad and lots of vegies and your carbohydrate of choice.


What about frozen crumbed fish?

Frozen crumbed or coated fish from the supermarket is convenient but it’s often a variety of fish which is low in omega-3s or may be a type of catfish (like basa) which could be higher in mercury content.


Canned fish

There’s nothing wrong with using canned fish, but look for no or low added salt varieties. Salmon, tuna, sardines and herrings are all oily fish high in omega-3 fats.

Small cans of fish are easy to carry to work or a picnic along with a salad and bread, rice or pasta.

You can also use canned fish in fish patties, frittatas, stirred through pasta with a tomato-based sauce, or flaked in salads.


What about take-away fish?

The oils used by commercial take-aways are almost always saturated fat, which contributes to increasing your unhealthy LDL cholesterol. So, if you are having fish as take away, ask for it to be grilled rather than fried.



Check out our recipe pages for inspiration.

By Dale Cooke APD

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