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Never Underestimate a Sardine

by Marissa on July 30, 2010


One food I am loving right now is sardines. There. I can’t believe I said it. You wouldn’t believe the disgusted looks I get when I admit this. But if you have never considered adding sardines to your diet, you should. Sardines are named for Sardinia, an Italian island where large schools of the fish were once found. The small, oily fish is off the charts when it comes to nutrition promoting heart and bone health.

Let’s take a look at just what makes sardines so optimal. Protein? Check! Calcium? Check! Vitamin B12? Check! Vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids? Check and check!

Sardines are also safer than most seafoods. Because they are bottom feeders, they don’t contain high levels of mercury and other contaminants found in many fish.

I have bought fresh sardines before and asked the fish counter to filet them, but truth be told they are a bony little fish so they were difficult to eat since many of the bones were still there. Since then, I have discovered wild caught, canned sardines. If you don’t want to deal with the bones and skin, the trick is to make sure they are skinless and boneless. Also make sure they are packed in olive oil or water.

Sardines are best prepared simply since they are so flavorful on their own. Olive oil, lemon and balsamic vinegar are ideal condiments to add. I usually eat them for added protein over a salad of fresh arugula, fennel and avocado or on their own with rice crackers. Some people like to mash them into a pate with red onion or olives and tomatoes to eat on bread and crackers.

Canned sardines are perfect to take to work for lunch or as a healthy snack when traveling so next time you’re at the grocery store, throw some sardines into your basket and when you get home, dive right in!


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