What are they: Omega 3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids that we need in our diet. The three most nutritionally important omega 3's are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). We can not make ALA and must get it through food/supplements. However, our bodies can convert the ALA from our diet into the other 2 - EPA and DHA.
Why you need them: Omega 3's can help lower blood pressure, lower blood triglycerides, and prevent cardiovascular disease...heart attack and stroke (there are other possible benefits too, but more scientific evidence is needed to be sure).
Where you get them: ALA - flaxseed, walnuts (and walnut oil), soybeans, canola oil, and some dark green leafy vegetables; EPA and DHA - mostly from cold-water fish including salmon, tuna, halibut, and herring (and certain types of algae...yum!)
How do I get enough omega 3's? I eat walnuts and flaxseed (ground) in my oatmeal, sometimes use walnut oil when making salad dressing, put walnuts on my salad, cook with canola oil, and try to eat fish (salmon and tuna) often...I could probably do this more! (the American Heart Association recommends fish 2 times per week) I also eat lots of dark green leafy vegetables.
Here is an article on fish oil supplements, omega 3's in the supermarket, and omega 3's in general. For more info you can read this too.
All of the following recipes use salmon/flax/walnuts...enjoy! Dad, this is right up your alley...maybe for a date night??
Alaska Salmon and Three Bean Salad -
- Per serving - 382 calories, 17 g fat (3 g saturated), 27 g carbohydrates, 9 g fiber, 28 g protein (exchanges: 3 ½ fat, 3 ½ protein, 1 starch, 2 vegetable)
- Notes - I would probably add more than 12 cherry tomatoes; you could use Dijon mustard too
- Per serving - 273 calories, 6 g fat (1 g saturated), 29 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 26 g protein (exchanges: 1 fat, 4 protein, ½ starch, 1 fruit)
- Notes - I only used 2 teaspoons (not tablespoons) of oil to save calories...and I used sesame, but canola would work too; I used rice wine vinegar (which I always have on hand) as opposed to the mirin; I would probably use ½ of a pineapple and add red bell peppers to the skewers instead; keep an eye on the salmon…you don’t want to overcook it!
- Per serving - 236 calories, 8.5 g fat (1 g saturated), 3 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 36 g protein (exchanges: 1 ½ fat, 5 protein)
- Per serving - 280 calories, 13 g fat (2 g saturated), 5 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 34 g protein (exchanges: 2 ½ fat, 5 protein)
- Notes - You could serve this with Herbed Lentils with Spinach and Tomatoes; instead of grilling you could use the broiler
- Per serving - 418 calories, 9 g fat (1 g saturated), 49 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 32 g protein (exchanges: 2 fat, 2 ½ starches, 4 protein, ½ vegetable )
- Notes - If you make this recipe with brown rice instead of white (which would be a good idea), make sure you cook the rice according to the package directions...it will take more water and cooking time; don't use instant rice...it will turn mushy
- Per serving - 258 calories, 8 g fat (1 g saturated), 36 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber, 10 g protein (exchanges: 1 ½ fat, 2 ½ starches, ½ milk, ½ fruit)
- Notes - If you're like me and aren't a big fan of hazelnuts, just substitute with any other nut (maybe walnuts to boost the omega 3's!)
- Per serving - 186 calories, 4 g fat (0.5 g saturated), 35 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 4 g protein (exchanges: 1 fat, 2 ½ starches, ½ fruit)
- Notes - This would be a perfect breakfast if you added a glass of milk or 6 oz of yogurt (for a little protein!) and a piece of fruit…all for around 325 calories!; freeze leftover muffins so you have them on-hand for a quick breakfast; I bake with whole wheat pastry flour...it's a little "softer" than regular whole wheat flour; the wheat bran is optional
Happy Mardi Gras!!!