3 Tips For Ordering Healthy And Flavorful Seafood

Posted on: 19 May 2017


Seafood is an important part of a healthy diet, and nutrition experts warn that most Americans aren't eating enough of it. In fact, only about 10% of Americans are getting the recommended amount of seafood in their diets. There are many reasons for this, but one simple reason is that many people simply don't know what kind of seafood they like, or how they like it cooked. Ordering seafood at a restaurant can be a good way to try out different seafood tastes to find out what you like. Once you've explored some new tastes while dining out, you can decide what you'd like to learn to make at home. Take a look at some tips for ordering healthy and flavorful seafood dishes from a restaurant.

Opt for Wild Fish, Not Organic

Organic foods are popular among diners who want the freshest and healthiest possible option. But in the U.S., the organic label means very little when it comes to seafood. The USDA doesn't yet have standards in place for what is meant by the term "organic" when it comes to seafood, and there is controversy about whether the label should be applied to seafood at all.

Fish caught in the wild can't be deemed organic, because the fish are not traceable and it's impossible to know their exact diet or living conditions before being caught. However, environmental groups, as well as seafood aficionados, point out that in many cases, wild-caught fish are located in cleaner waters than those found in fish farms. Additionally, countries that do label their farmed seafood as organic often use antibiotics to treat their fish, which is usually undesirable in organic foods. Wild fish, on the other hand, are more likely to be antibiotic-free.

Skip The Crispy Fish

When you see crispy fish on the menu, it almost invariably means that the fish is fried. Not only does the salt, fat, and grease involved in the deep-frying process negate a lot of the health benefits of the seafood, it also obscures a lot of the flavor. You'll taste more of the batter than the actual fish.

There are lots of ways to order fish. Look for menu options that are grilled, baked, broiled, roasted, braised, or steamed. These have less fat and more natural flavor. If you're trying to cut down on calories, you should also avoid dishes that are slathered in heavy creams and sauces (you can always ask for the sauce on the side so that you can use it in moderation). Healthy seafood dishes rely heavily on showcasing and enhancing the natural flavor of the fish instead of hiding it in batter or sauce.

Know When (And When Not) To Order Seafood

Should you really never order seafood on a Monday? That's the advice given by a celebrity chef, who points out that many seafood markets are closed on Sundays, which means that the "Catch of the Day" on Monday's menu may be something that's been sitting around for a few days. But is this always the case? Probably not.

The day of the week may not matter when you're eating seafood in a coastal area that has plenty of access to fresh seafood. On the other hand, if you're in a landlocked area with no access to water for miles, you may be better off avoiding Monday's fish. A seafood restaurant is more likely to have fresh fish any day of the week than a different type of restaurant that happens to have a few seafood dishes on the menu.

Don't be afraid to ask questions about the seafood you're ordering, including where it was caught and how it was cooked. The more you learn about what seafood you do and don't like, the easier it will be to incorporate it into your diet regularly.