Healthy Seafood Buyer’s Guide

Healthy Seafood Buyer’s Guide

Tips for choosing popular fish and seafood at the market.

Healthy Seafood Buyer’s Guide

Do your body good—eat fish! Fish (and all seafood) is an excellent source of lean protein. Plus, some fish, like salmon and tuna, are rich in omega-3 fats that may reduce the risk of heart disease.


Once reserved for special occasions, shrimp is now a popular seafood choice in the United States. Although shrimp is high in dietary cholesterol, it's very low in saturated fat—the nutrient that's most closely linked to high blood cholesterol.

Shopping tip:

Raw, frozen and cooked shrimp are all sold by the number needed to make one pound—for example, “21-25 count” or “31-40 count”—and by more generic size names, such as “large” or “extra large.” Size names don’t always correspond to the actual “count size.” To be sure you’re getting the size you want, order by the count (or number) per pound.

Prep tips:

Thaw frozen shrimp in a covered bowl in the refrigerator. If you’re in a hurry, place shrimp in a colander under cold running water until thawed. The “vein” running along a shrimp’s back under a thin layer of flesh is really its digestive tract: use a paring knife to make a slit along the length of the shrimp, then pull it out with the tip of the knife.


A fatty fish, salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids that may help heart health in a variety of ways.

Shopping tip:

Salmon steaks and fillets are most commonly found at the seafood counter. Canned salmon is a convenient choice for making salmon salad and salmon cakes.

Prep tip:

If you’re grilling salmon, keep the skin on. Doing so helps hold the fish together and protects the delicate flesh from the searing heat. Once cooked, the skin slips off easily.


Despite their reputation as a luxury food, scallops no longer fetch lobster-class prices. Sea scallops are larger and are great for sautéing or broiling. Try the smaller bay scallops in soups or tossed in a pasta sauce.

Shopping tip:

We recommend cooking with “dry” sea scallops; “wet” scallops are not only mushy and less flavorful, but will not brown properly because they’ll give off too much liquid. Dry sea scallops are usually labeled as such.

Prep tip:

Look for the small, tough muscle on the side of most scallops and pull it off with your fingers before cooking them.


A warm-water fatty fish, tuna is found throughout the world’s seas. Yellowfin and bigeye tuna, also called ahi, is common at supermarket fish counters. Yellowfin is one of the types of tuna used in the canning industry under the “chunk light” label.

Shopping tip:

Tuna is high in omega-3 fatty acids. Look for yellowfin (ahi) tuna at your seafood counter, and choose canned chunk light tuna. Avoid bluefin tuna—it’s severely overfished and the fishing methods used can endanger other sea creatures, such as sea turtles and sharks.

Check with your doctor about the right diet for you.

By © Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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