The nation's peak body for dietitians is calling on Australians to dish-up some fish on Good Friday to reduce their risk of dementia, stroke and heart disease.
The Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) wants Australians to use the traditionally 'fish only" religious holiday as a reminder to eat fish more regularly to improve their long-term health.
According to Lauren McGuckin, Spokesperson for the DAA, fish is highly nutritious and deserves to be on our plates at least twice a week.
'Good Friday is a great excuse to talk about the benefits of eating fish regularly and to discuss the best ways to add it into your weekly meals.
'There is good research telling us that eating fish once a week reduces our risk of getting dementia, and eating it twice a week reduces our risk of stroke, macular degeneration and heart disease," said Ms McGuckin, an Accredited Practising Dietitian.
She urges Australians not to limit fish to the evening meal, as it can be included at lunch and even breakfast.
'I often have people asking how they can get enough protein in the morning and smoked salmon or ocean trout is a great addition to an omelette, or on top of toast or savoury pancakes.
'Canned fish on wholegrain crackers, fish sushi bites or fresh Vietnamese rice paper roles with fish are nutritious lunch options. Tinned varieties of tuna or salmon are a great desk drawer or pantry staple," said Ms McGuckin.
But this comes with a warning against turning your healthy fish dish into a high-fat takeaway meal by choosing the -fish n' chips' option.
'Deep frying a piece of fish increases its fat content dramatically because a lot of oil is absorbed by the batter or crumb while it is being cooked," said Ms McGuckin.
The advice comes as a recent survey, commissioned by DAA, found more than one in ten of us are having takeaway three or more times per week[i].
'Takeaway fish and chips is a family favourite but save it for the beach holiday.
'Healthier ways to prepare fish include grilling, steaming, baking or frying in a small amount of oil, and then served with a salad or veggies," said Ms McGuckin.
Tips from the Dietitians Association of Australia to include more fish at main meals:
Include fish at family BBQs – such as by grilling firm fish or steaming it in aluminium foil parcels, or by cooking fish burger patties.
Experiment with fish recipes – get creative with lemon, spices and herbs to ramp up the flavour.
Incorporate fish in your -old favourites' – try a fish burger, fish pie, fish curry or a fish pasta dish.
Substitute your usual protein source in stir-fries with diced firm white fish or salmon.
Prepare fish soup or chowder as a winter warmer – a great option as the cooler months roll in.
2 x 150g white fish fillets such as snapper or barramundi
Juice of 2 limes
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 Lebanese cucumber, halved, seeds scraped out
1 clove garlic
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
¼ bunch coriander, leaves picked
3 spring onions, finely sliced
1 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
4 wholemeal tortillas
In a shallow bowl or plate combine fish with juice of 1 lime, cumin, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Allow to marinate for 15 minutes.
Grate cucumber and finely grate garlic onto a chopping board. Slice the chilli and chop into the salsa. Chop the coriander leaves and stir in. Slice spring onions and chop roughly into the salsa on the board. Mix in ½ tablespoon olive oil, juice of half a lime and a pinch of salt. Stir in cherry tomatoes.
Preheat a non-stick frying pan over high heat. Add fish and cook for 2-3 minutes each side or until just cooked. Meanwhile, halve the avocado and remove the seed. Scrape out flesh into a small food processor. Add remaining ½ tablespoon olive oil and juice of half a lime. Add a pinch of salt and blend to combine. Alternatively, mash avocado with a fork.
Remove fish from pan, flake with a fork or tongs. Warm tortillas if desired. Spread with guacamole, top with flaked fish and salsa. Serve immediately.