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5 Reasons to Love Sardines, Herring and Mackerel

July 7, 2015 by Dean Simmons, Registered Dietitian

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It’s hard to get respect when you’re a little fish. It’s the bigger oily (or fatty) fish like salmon, tuna and trout that get all the attention. But what about the humble sardine, herring and mackerel? Small fish can be great fish. Here’s why!

Top 5 reasons to eat canned small fish:

  1. Low cost: Canned sardines, herring and mackerel are amongst the least expensive fish on the market. No need to break the bank in order to eat at least two Canada’s Food Guide servings (75 g/ half cup) of fish per week.
  2. Easy to find: Most grocery stores stock canned fish year round. No need to seek out a fish monger.
  3. Good for you: Sardines, herring and mackerel are a source of omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, protein, vitamin D (and also calcium when the bones are eaten).
  4. Low in contaminants: Sardines, herring and mackerel all feed low on the food chain which means they are low in mercury and other environmental contaminants like polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs) and dioxins.
  5. Sustainable choices: Pacific Sardine and Atlantic Mackerel are ranked as “Best Choice” by the SeaChoice sustainable seafood program. Rankings of other species can be found by using their Sustainable Seafood finder.

Convinced? Now you might be wondering what to do with the canned sardines, herring and mackerel that you picked up at the store. There are a lot of great recipes online that will turn your humble little canned fish into a great meal. Check out the recipe section on the manufacturer’s website as a starting point.

Canned fish can easily be added to pasta dishes and hearty salads. Using acidic ingredients like lime juice, lemon juice or a tomato sauce will enhance the taste and minimize any fishy odours. What’s stopping you from using canned sardines, herring or mackerel in your meals?


Related blog

One Fish Two Fish
Fish and Mercury

Recommended resources

SeaChoice: Find Sustainable Seafood
Marine Stewardship Council: Product Finder

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