Step Up Your Protein Game with Fish!

By: Rebecca Heming, ’18, University Health Center Nutrition Peer Educator

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Many of us love eating protein sources like chicken, pork, and red meat. But, if you’re like me, fish doesn’t always end up on the plate. The current Dietary Guidelines recommends that we enjoy fish twice per week.  With only a little bit of effort, it’s easy to start including fish in your diet and begin reaping the benefits! Fish can be very inexpensive and easy to cook.

So let’s dig in!

5 Fabulous Benefits:

  1. Fish provides us with both vitamin D, which is needed to absorb calcium, build bones, and maintain bone health and strength, and omega-3 fatty acids.  Omega-3 fatty acids are great because they can:
    • Protect your heart from developing potential fatal cardiac arrhythmias
    • Lower blood pressure and heart rate
    • Improve blood vessel functions
    • Lower triglycerides
    • Reduce inflammation
    • Play a role in developing a baby’s brain and nervous system
  2. Eating fish can help reduce your risk of dying from heart disease by more than a third.
  3. Moderate evidence suggests that eating plans which contain fish can reduce obesity.
  4. Consuming fish may aid in muscle and immune system functions.
  5. By regularly eating fish, you may also protect yourself against cancer and osteoporosis.

Where to Find Fish:

  1. On Campus: You can find a variety of fish options throughout campus. Examples include:
    • At the South Campus Diner, find options like cod, salmon, and tilapia under Emma’s Special.
    • The Diner serves fish such as catfish, tilapia, and cod. Did you know, eating catfish helps restore the Chesapeake Bay?
    • Adele’s serves up both stuffed salmon and yummy grilled salmon skewers.
    • If you love sushi, you can pick some up at Sushi by Panda in the Stamp or at various cafes around campus like Rudy’s, Applause, Kim Kafe, and many others.
    • More of a fast food fan? Try a sandwich with tuna at Subway or a Filet-O-Fish at McDonalds!
  2. Off Campus: If you are not finding what you are looking for on campus, or just desire a change of scenery, several restaurants located near campus also serve up some great fish.
    • Fishnet
    • Terrapins Turf
    • Sir Walter Raleigh Inn
    • Sakura
    • Joe’s Crab Shack
    • Lastly, grocery stores sell canned tuna and salmon which can be incorporated into your meals or snacks!

Alternatives for Vegans and Non-Fish Lovers

Even if you don’t like fish or just choose not to consume it, you still need to get your vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids in your diet!  A couple of quick tips will have you on your way:

  • Look for fortified foods such as milk.
  • Try enriched foods like pastas, bread, cereal, flour, and oatmeal.
  • Find omega-3 fatty acids in nuts and seeds, such as walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseed.
  • Vitamin D can be found in mushrooms, eggs yolks, and in fortified products.

What’s one strategy you can try this week to increase your omega-3 fatty acid intake?

To learn more about fish, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin D, reserve your session with a Nutrition Coach today by calling 301-314-5664 or emailing nutritioncoach@umd.edu

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