(ARA) - Health experts recommend young families, especially expecting moms, should aim to eat a variety of nutrient-rich foods -- those that are bursting with vitamins and minerals in every bite. A serving of seafood, for instance, packs nutrients like protein and omega-3s into only about 100 calories. For this reason, eating fish and shellfish two to three times a week is linked to healthy hearts among adults and a brain boost in babies.
Warm weather is the perfect time to learn light, delicious ways to make fish your family's new favorite.
Healthy eating made simple with seafood
Instead of deli meat sandwiches, try a tuna, crab or salmon salad with one of these creative mix-in combinations to help get to your weekly recommended servings of seafood:
* Plain yogurt, slivered almonds, diced apples and dried cranberries.
* Olive oil, capers, diced red onion and basil.
* Cottage cheese, diced celery and a splash of lemon juice.
Place on a whole wheat roll or eat as a dip with crackers for a simple and nutritious picnic lunch.
As an alternative to traditional summer barbecue items like hot dogs and brats, which are higher in calories and fat, fire up the barbecue for one of these fish dishes:
* Kebabs with shrimp, scallops, peppers and pineapple.
* Fillets of salmon or cod grilled on a wood plank.
* Grilled pizza with mozzarella, tomatoes and canned tuna (full recipe below).
Seafood matters most for moms-to-be
Fish and seafood is packed with nutrients that are especially important for the health of pregnant women and growing babies, yet 80 percent of women don't eat the recommended amount. During your pregnancy, official guidelines from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration say:
* Eat seafood two to three times each week.
* Eat a variety of fish.
* As much as half (6 ounces) of fish each week can be albacore tuna.
* The only fish to avoid completely are shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish.
"Seafood contains a package of powerhouse nutrients needed for a healthy pregnancy - omega-3s, calcium, vitamin D and iron," says Dr. Ashley Roman, an obstetrician and mother of two. "Most expecting moms don't get enough nutrient-rich fish in their diet and are missing out on a brain development boost for their babies."
More expert information and recipes
A new guide created with registered dietitians and doctors is now available to help expecting and new moms eat plenty of fish. "A Seafood Lover's Guide to Eating During Pregnancy," explains why eating seafood is important, how much to eat, and how to eat it with delicious and nutritious recipes and snack ideas. Download a free copy of "A Seafood Lover's Guide to Eating During Pregnancy" at www.healthytuna.com.
Grilled Tuna Italiano Pizza
During the hot summer months, skip the oven and go for the grill. This easy and delicious pizza is a great way to enjoy a variety of nutritious foods with your whole family without heating up the whole house.
1 (6-ounce) pre-baked individual whole-wheat pizza crust
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup diced roma tomatoes
1 teaspoon minced shallots
1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh-chopped basil
1/4 teaspoon fresh-crushed garlic
1 (5-ounce) can tonno tuna in olive oil
1. Preheat grill to 350 F.
2. Place pizza crust on pizza pan or directly on grill rack.
3. Sprinkle cheese over crust; grill with lid closed until cheese is melted (about seven minutes).
4. Meanwhile, in bowl, combine tomatoes, shallots, red wine vinegar and garlic; set aside.
5. Flake tonno tuna evenly over pizza.
6. Spoon tomato mixture over tuna; sprinkle basil over pizza.
7. Grill five minutes longer. Serve immediately.
Courtesy of ARAcontent