As I was eating my salad this afternoon of greens, beets, cucumbers, avocado, black beans, sardines and balsamic vinaigrette, I got to thinking about how underrated sardines are.  No one shows any love to the sardine and yet it is so darn good for you.  It can be a little … smelly … I will admit (I don’t really smell it, but my husband would beg to differ).  Toothbrush and mints are required.  But it really is a lovely little fish, low in mercury and chocked full of healthy fats and minerals.  It’s also hefty in the protein department.  My little box here of Wild Planet Sardines in spring water says it contains about 30g of protein for only 170 calories and 5g of fat.  Not bad for anyone needing to boost their meals with a little more protein and a little less carb and definitely great for all of us needing an Omega 3 boost.  Did you also know sardines are high in calcium and a concentrated source of Vitamin D?  It’s basically a great source of all the nutrients that are so popular right now, but in FOOD instead of a supplement.
**To my pregnant & breastfeeding friends, a special summary:  Super low in mercury and high in protein, calcium, Vitamin D, Omega 3’s, B12 = perfect prenatal and breastfeeding food.
You may be curious to know how to include these fishy little treats into your diet (my husband is shaking his head no, but I am sure you are saying yes).  I am pretty simple about it to be honest.  I usually put them in salads to give a kick of protein, especially when I am lacking other protein sources that I often turn to such as beans, eggs, nuts, seeds or cheese.   I have also eaten them with grains or other leftover vegetables when I need a simple yet quick protein addition to my meal.  I mean, what could be less hassle and prep than a tin of sardines?  I am also thinking of using them instead of tuna for a tuna fish (or I suppose sardine fish in this case) sandwich being that the mercury content of tuna is becoming so worrisome these days.  
So, there is my quick little spiel on sardines, the wonderfood of the marine world.  I am curious to know if there are any sardine lovers out there?  Anyone?   

About Danielle VenHuizen

Registered Dietitian, Certified LEAP Therapist