On the 8th of June each year, World Ocean Day is celebrated to raise awareness of the needs that must be met to keep our seas healthy and so that people everywhere can unite to celebrate and take action for our shared planet – with one ocean and one climate – which connect us all. While we should all celebrate and work together to maintain and safeguard our global environment every day, this year, let’s take a first step together and join with millions of others around us to create a better future. Making environmentally responsible choices in the fish we eat, like only buying seafood that is harvested or grown sustainably, committing to keeping our earth’s waters clean, and doing what’s necessary to keep our planet’s aquatic ecosystems healthy is the way to allow not only us, but also future generations to continue to reap the bounty and enjoy the wonders that our bodies of water can provide – such as nourishment, health, recreation, and beauty. Unfortunately, many of us are nowhere near the coast as we read this, so the one and maybe only way we can celebrate World Ocean Day 2022 is the way we celebrate everything at Bellisari’s – with delicious FOOD, of course!
For this particular celebration, not just any type of food will work either. Today calls for seafood, and while it is often a favorite of many people, those same folks are often intimidated by the thought of cooking it. Never fear! There are many recipes and methods of cooking seafood that are so easy you can rest assured that you have a fail-safe seafood plan in your cooking repertoire.
Seafood is one of those food groups that people either love or hate. Maybe you had a bad experience as a kid, or you can’t stand the smell. Maybe you like seafood, but you’re just not sure how to cook it or include it in your diet regularly. Does the thought of walking into a fish market intimidate you, or once you’re in there, are you unsure of what to order? A few things to remember when purchasing fish is, first, what method are you going to use for cooking your seafood?
Are you planning to grill out? If so, it is best to choose a firm fish or one that can be cut into steaks. Snapper is a mild white fish that is a firm filet and is great for grilling. I usually lather the snapper with our Balsamic Shallot & Black Garlic Spread and serve with a cold cucumber salad.
Salmon typically comes in filets when you purchase it at the grocery store. It can be cut into steaks as well and both are firm and hold up well on the grill. (Keep in mind that steaks come from larger fish, and larger fish tend to be fattier, and fat equals flavor, of course. Request ones that are at least 1″ thick.)
Secondly, it is important to be aware of sustainability and sourcing when choosing fish and or seafood. Learn about what fish are being overfished or endangered at any given time. Last, but still very important is to clean your grill thoroughly and brush oil on the grates to keep the fish from sticking before grilling!
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had an affinity for everything “ocean,” including seafood. When I was young, my dad and brother were on a deep sea fishing series called Fishing Fever with Robert Fuller from Emergency and various other 70’s and 80’s actors. My brother is still a sport fisherman in south Florida, and we are certainly still a big seafood eating family. I’ve always thought that this contributed greatly to my love for the ocean and seafood!
So growing up I ate a lot of seafood and learned quickly that you can overcook it very easily if you don’t know what you are doing. Shrimp was one of the first seafoods that I learned how to cook on my own. I remember being so proud of myself. Watch this video, and make yourself proud too…😉
World Ocean Day should also be a celebration of learning that seafood is a highly nutritious group of whole foods that we should be eating more of. It’s well-known for its composition of omega 3 fats, but there’s so much more for your health than just the healthy fats. It has nutrients galore that your body can absorb easily. As a matter of fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans and other leading health organizations suggest eating two servings of seafood per week for optimal health.
In addition to being a rich source of easily digested, high-quality protein containing all essential amino acids, seafood provides essential fats (such as long-chain omega-3 fatty acids like DHA and EPA), vitamins (D, A and B), and minerals (such as calcium, iodine, zinc, iron, and selenium). Seafood sits among the highest quality proteins and offers many additional health benefits throughout one’s lifespan. It is beneficial in brain development and heart health, improves how women feel during pregnancy, and aids in brain and eye development for children.
Nutritious food and brain health are closely connected. Omega-3 DHA, found in seafood, is abundant in your brain and helps neurons trigger and cells regenerate. It is such an important building block that people with low levels of it have measurably smaller brains!
Eating seafood twice a week can also reduce risk of heart disease and provide more energy throughout the day. Additional research has shown that when pregnant or nursing moms eat at least two servings of a variety of seafood per week, there are positive benefits for both mom and the baby. Babies have improved brain development and experience higher IQs.
Including healthy seafood in your diet doesn’t mean you have to buy lots of exotic ingredients or make extravagant recipes. Fish is awesome simply baked in the oven with some olive oil, salt, and freshly squeezed lemon juice. That’s all it needs. Wrap it in a foil packet and cook for 15-20 minutes. Serve with a salad or steamed vegetables – I love adding roast potatoes!
Other easy ways to add seafood to your diet include:
- Keep cans of tuna in the pantry or at your desk at work. Mix with a can of corn kernels, and ½ tbsp. mayonnaise, and you’ve got a nutritious and filling lunch.
- Grab some cooked shrimp from the supermarket on your way home from work. Add a bag of green leafy salad, an avocado and a wholegrain wrap, and you’ve got an easy dinner with a twist!
- I love buying individually portioned packs of salmon. They are so easy to microwave or cook in the oven when I’m making a meal for just me – lunch or dinner!