Good Health in a Can?
I never claimed to be a normal child, and this was evidenced one year when I asked for, among other things, a can of sardines for Christmas. I'm serious; I really did! I wasn't sure if I actually wanted to eat them, but I kept hearing about people and things packed in like sardines, and I wanted to see the magic for myself.
Maybe if we had realized how beneficial sardines really are, I would have not only gotten a can for Christmas, but might have found them on my family's table more often. I went hunting for more information after reading Mel's blog post, where she said she was eating more sardines to increase her calcium. I asked her how she was preparing them, hoping for some interesting new recipes to try. She has been doing what I have, which is basically eating them plain. So, I went on a little fishing expedition for both of us, and hopefully for some of you, to find out more.
Sardines are not one particular kind of fish, but can include about eleven different species such as herring, pilchard, sild, brisling or sprats. Because these fish are smaller when mature, they are far less likely to include harmful levels of mercury. Sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, vitamin B12, selenium, vitamin D, COQ10, tryptophan and protein.
Sardines have the added benefits of being inexpensive, and easily transportable for healthy meals on the go. They are packed in various liquids and sauces such as water, olive oil, mustard or tomato sauce. Some people choose to avoid soybean oil, which is also an option, because it can cause problems for people with some conditions. I personally like the sardines packed in mustard.
While researching the ways people eat sardines, I was surprised at how many people were like me, and really didn't know what to do with them. Once I started reading suggestions, I realized to my chagrin that they are just fish, and can be prepared in the same ways you would enjoy any other fish. Here are a few I plan to try:
Mix with cream cheese with onion, and a dash of Tabasco sauce, and use on thins, crackers, or similar.
On a salad with vinaigrette or lemon.
Mash with Dijon mustard, minced onion, and spread on crackers or cucumber slices.
With garlic, stir-fry vegetables, and fried rice
With cilantro, lemon, salsa, or tomatoes to fill a warm tortilla.
As an accompaniment to tabouleh.
If you have a favorite way to enjoy sardines or other healthy fish, we'd love to hear from you.