You’ve probably heard of the recommendation to eat fish at least twice a week. Generally speaking, most seafood are a lean and healthy source of protein and Omega-3 oils— fatty acids known for being good for the brain and heart.
However, buying seafood is no longer as simple as asking the fishmonger to give you a fresh-looking filet. With nearly 90% of the world’s marine fish stocks now either fully exploited or overexploited, there’s also the concern about choosing seafood that’s caught or raised sustainably.
To help you make informed decisions when shopping for seafood, we’ve put together this quick guide on how to buy seafood that’s not only healthy but also sustainable to boot, based on recommendations by the US FDA, EPA, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program.
Whether wild caught or farm raised, clams are generally good for the environment and safe to eat. They’re packed with protein and nutrients like magnesium, potassium, and iron. If you’re eating clams (or any other fish, for that matter) caught fresh by friends or family, be sure to check local fish advisories to stay safe.
Squid’s health benefits are linked to its relatively high protein content (around 18 grams per four-ounce serving) and high levels of vitamin C, calcium, and iron.
Scallops are generally good for the environment, whether sourced from farms or wild-caught. Scallops are protein-dense (34% protein for a one-ounce serving), low in fat, and rich in vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids. For a healthy meal, sear off-shell scallops on both sides, add a twist of lemon, and serve.
Hake is an excellent source of protein and, like all fish, are low in saturated fat (the bad kind). Look for hake carrying the blue MSC label, which will certify that it comes from a fishery that complies with the MSC Fisheries Standard for best practices.
Red drum, also known as redfish, is a lean, white-fleshed finfish rated Best Choice by Seafood Watch. They’re low in saturated fats and calories and are a good source of calcium, protein, selenium, niacin, and a host of other vitamins and minerals.
With a bit of homework and due diligence, you can continue to include seafood in your weekly meals and not have to worry about harming the environment.