Tips for Eating Healthy at Fish Fries

Friday Fish Fries are back now that Lent has officially started. And while fried fish can be tasty, it’s important not to eat too much. A registered dietitian explains why.

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CLEVELAND – Many restaurants and churches are getting ready to host fish fries again now that Lent is officially underway. And while fried fish sure is delicious, it’s important not to eat too much of it.

“When we fry something, whether it’s fish or chicken or whatever it may be, a lot of times those oils are not heart healthy, they’re saturated fats,” explained Beth Czerwony, RD, registered dietitian for Cleveland Clinic. “And what happens is the breading absorbs all of those fats, and so not only are you getting more calories from the breading itself, but you’re getting all those unhealthy fats.”

She said consider eating baked, broiled or grilled fish instead, that way it’s not being cooked in oil. Or, you could order another seafood altogether, like shrimp or crab cakes.

For those planning to cook fish at home, try using an air fryer. It will give you that crispy texture without the added oils. You could make your own low-fat sauce, too.

Czerwony said even if you don’t practice Lent, you may still want to think about adding fish to your regular diet. It has all kinds of vitamins and nutrients, including Omega-3 fatty acids.

“Omega-3’s will help with thinning of the blood, and what happens with that is it helps the heart process a little more efficiently and decreases the chances of blood clots,” she said. “So, not only is it going to help reduce your chance of having cardiovascular risk, having that plaque formation that can cause strokes and heart attacks, but it also helps to decrease blood pressure overall.”

So, what’s a good fish to eat as a beginner? She recommends something on the mild side, like tilapia, cod or walleye. They’re the least likely to have that classic fishy flavor.

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