Content of article
28-day meal plan | Fish is the Dish
Frying is a popular, and tasty, way to prepare fish, but it loads up the calorie count and doesn’t promote your weight-loss goals. Take for example, a 3-ounce serving of white fish, such as croaker or pollock.
If you fry the fish, it contains 188 calories and almost 11 grams of fat, most of it from the frying oil. But if you bake or broil the fish, it provides just half the calories — 94 — and 1 gram of fat.
Sprinkle baked fish with salt and chili powder, paprika, onion powder or garlic powder before cooking to add flavor.
Depending on your current diet, it may be quite a shift from how you’re used to eating. And if you’re unsure about how to cook fish, you may also find the transition tough. Luckily, fish and shellfish are actually relatively simple to prepare.
“People have an impression that cooking fish is difficult and elaborate, but in fact, it’s easier than chicken,” says Hallissey. One fear is undercooking, and it’s common to swing in the other direction and totally overcook the fish, leaving it dry and unpalatable — and leaving you wondering why you’re even trying this in the first place.
Hallissey suggests learning a few easy techniques for cooking — like baking a fillet on a pan with veggies for a one-pan meal, or drizzling fish in olive oil, salt, and pepper and sautéing in a pan (don’t forget to flip). Canned fish, like sardines, light tuna, and salmon are great options, as they’re inexpensive and already cooked, requiring no prep.
Also, be mindful of how you’re preparing your fish. Broiling, grilling, baking, poaching, steaming, and sautéing are preferable to frying. As many as 36 percent of people consume fried foods daily. (7) Among those who eat one serving a week of fried fish or shellfish, their risk of dying from cardiovascular disease increases by 13 percent compared with those who have none, according to research published January 2019 in BMJ.
Seafish has teamed up with registered dietician and nutritionist Juliette Kellow to put together a 4-week menu that shows you just how simple– and tasty – it is to add more fish to your diet. All the dishes are really delicious AND effortless to prepare and make. Plus the menus reveal just how easy it is to get the recommended one serving of oily fish such as mackerel, sardines, fresh tuna, trout or salmon, each week, to help boost intakes of omega-3 fats, which keep the heart working normally, help to maintain normal blood pressure, and contribute to the maintenance of normal brain function and vision.
But that’s not all! As well as being packed with mouth-watering meals, our menu is also really good for you. As well as containing at least two portions of fish a week, including at least one oily fish, each day provides five portions of fruit and veg, plus it meets healthy eating guidelines for fat, saturates, sugars and salt and contains all the vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy.
So get started today and take your first tasty steps towards a healthier you!
May improve your digestion
Seaweed, soybeans, fruits, and vegetables are naturally rich in fiber, a nutrient that aids your digestion.
Insoluble fiber moves food through your gut and adds bulk to stool, reducing your risk of constipation (9).
These foods also boast soluble fiber, which feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut and helps reduce the space available for harmful bacteria to multiply (10, 11, 12).
When gut bacteria feed on soluble fiber, they produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which may reduce inflammation and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis (9, 13, 14).
Moreover, the pickled fruits and vegetables commonly eaten on this diet are a great source of probiotics. These beneficial bacteria promote gut health and reduce digestive symptoms like gas, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea (15, 16, 17).
Japan has one of the world’s highest life expectancies, which many experts attribute to the traditional Japanese diet (38, 39, 40, 41).
In fact, the Japanese island of Okinawa is considered a Blue Zone, which is a region with extremely high longevity. Keep in mind that the Okinawa diet focuses heavily on sweet potatoes and features less rice and fish than the traditional Japanese diet.
In a 15-year study in over 75,000 Japanese people, those who closely followed the traditional Japanese diet experienced up to a 15% lower risk of premature death compared with those eating a Westernized diet (3).
Experts link this increased lifespan to the traditional Japanese diet’s emphasis on whole, minimally processed foods, as well as its low added fat and sugar content (1).
The traditional Japanese diet is rich in nutrients and may aid digestion, weight loss, and longevity. It may also reduce your risk of chronic illnesses.
May protect against chronic diseases
The traditional Japanese diet is naturally rich in various nutrients, including fiber, calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, and vitamins A, C, and E (4).
Vegetables contribute to the nutrient density of this diet and are often cooked in dashi, a dried fish and sea vegetable based stock. This reduces their volume and enhances their flavor, making it easier to eat large amounts (5).
The diet also offers good amounts of seaweed and green tea. Both are great sources of antioxidants, which are beneficial compounds that protect your body against cellular damage and disease (4, 6, 7).
What’s more, the many fish- and seaweed-based dishes included in this diet provide long-chain omega-3 fats, which promote brain, eye, and heart health (8).
The traditional Japanese diet is rich in vegetables, has small portion sizes, and is naturally low in added sugar and fat. These factors all contribute to a low calorie count (18).
In addition, Japanese culture encourages eating until only 80% full. This practice deters overeating and may contribute to the calorie deficit needed to lose weight (19, 20, 21, 22).
Furthermore, research shows that the fiber-rich vegetables, soy foods, and soups typical of the traditional Japanese diet may help reduce appetite and boost fullness, thus promoting weight control (23, 24, 25).
Evidence also suggests that alternating between dishes, as is common during traditional Japanese meals, may reduce the total amount of food eaten per meal (26).
The traditional Japanese diet may safeguard against conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
It’s naturally rich in fish, seaweed, green tea, soy, fruits, and vegetables but low in added sugar, fat, and animal protein — all factors believed to protect against heart disease (27, 28, 29, 30, 31).
In fact, Japanese people’s risk of heart disease remains unexpectedly low despite their high salt intake, which typically raises heart disease risk (28).
What’s more, in a 6-week study in 33 men following the traditional Japanese diet, 91% experienced significant reductions in risk factors for type 2 diabetes, including excess weight and high LDL (bad) cholesterol levels (32, 33).
Plus, the high green tea intake encouraged on this diet may protect against Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and certain types of cancer (34, 35, 36, 37).
Move Away From Mayo
A tuna salad sandwich is a way to fit a serving of fish in at lunchtime, but it may not be a wise weight-loss move. Classic tuna salads are made with loads of mayonnaise, which contains unhealthy fats and excess calories.
Use your classic tuna salad recipe, but sub low-fat plain yogurt for the mayo to save calories. Alternatively, mix drained, canned tuna with white beans, lemon juice and a splash of olive oil to serve over a bed of greens.
Mayo also shows up in the common fish condiment of tartar sauce, too. If you choose cocktail sauce instead, you’ll spend just 30 calories per 2 tablespoons rather than the 110 calories found in 2 tablespoons of tartar sauce.
Select Sushi With Care
Raw fish, vegetables and rice make for a healthy meal. But many sushi rolls include more than these low-calorie, healthy ingredients. Avoid rolls made with mayonnaise — often masked in «spicy» sauces — cream cheese and crunchy bits. Tempura fried rolls or rolls with fried ingredients also undermine your goal to lose weight.
Ask for low-sodium soy sauce to go with your rolls or sashimi. Regular soy sauce is high in sodium and won’t necessarily make you gain weight, but could cause you to retain water and keep you from seeing downward movement of the scale.
- Breakfast: miso soup, steamed rice, natto, and seaweed salad
- Lunch: soba noodles in a dashi-based broth, grilled tuna, kale salad, and boiled vegetables
- Dinner: udon noodle soup, fish cakes, edamame, and vegetables marinated in vinegar
- Breakfast: miso soup, steamed rice, an omelet, dried trout, and pickled fruit
- Lunch: clam soup, rice balls wrapped in seaweed, marinated tofu, and a cooked-vegetable salad
- Dinner: miso soup, sushi, seaweed salad, edamame, and pickled ginger
- Breakfast: udon-noodle soup, a boiled egg, shrimp, and pickled vegetables
- Lunch: shiitake-mushroom soup, rice cakes, seared scallops, and steamed vegetables
- Dinner: miso soup, steamed rice, vegetable tempura, and salmon or tuna sashimi
The traditional Japanese diet combines simple soups, steamed rice or noodles, fish, seafood, tofu or natto, and a variety of minimally processed sides.