Fish is an excellent option if you’re trying to lose weight or maintain weight loss. You can easily whip up a delicious freshwater catch or seafood entree in various ways, reaping the reward of essential nutrients for a healthy body. However, despite the benefits, fish can become fattening and unhealthy quickly.
Losing weight from eating fish depends on how you prepare and cook your meal. Frying or loading the fish with salty seasonings and sauces will certainly not help you reach your weight loss goals.
Fortunately, healthy fish recipes taste just as good, if not better. A few simple changes to your cooking methods can get you back on track with your weight loss plan.
Weight Loss Benefits of Fish
The Mediterranean diet is the ultimate fish diet plan to lose weight, putting salmon, halibut and cod at the forefront. According to one study, the Mediterranean diet is two-fold likelier to assist with weight loss management than other diets, too.
Seafood contains several nutrients to help your body drop excess pounds. For example, B-complex and vitamin D boost your metabolism and energy naturally.
Meanwhile, omega-3 fatty acids — a vital nutrient found in salmon — increase gut microbiota diversity for improved gut system immunity and digestion.
Some fish species also contain creatine — an amino acid that bolsters muscle mass, increases metabolism and helps you burn more calories.
5 Ways to Cook Your Fish for Weight Loss
How do you prefer your salmon or tilapia? If you’ve always salted or deep-fried your fish in breadcrumbs and oil, your efforts to drop the pounds will be null. Instead, try these five cooking techniques in your fish diet plan to lose weight.
Is there anything worse than dried-out fish? Steaming fish can prevent that from happening. There are many healthy fish recipes that suggest steaming with very little prep work — simple ingredients like lemon juice, garlic, rosemary, olive oil, pepper and a pinch of coarse salt are really all you need for mind-blowing flavor.
Pour one inch of water into a steamer and wait until it boils. Then, place the fish fillet on the steamer rack and cover it. Steaming is a quick process — taking only about four to eight minutes — depending on the fillet’s thickness and your preferred doneness.
Once the fish is finished cooking, remove it from the steam and drizzle it with lemon juice, salt, pepper and other spices and herbs before serving.
Baking your fish dinner is as easy as steaming and can be done in minutes. You should preheat the oven to 450° Fahrenheit if you’re baking fillets or 350° F for fish that are prepped and ready to cook.
Generally, fish steaks — purchased already cut from the seafood department — are about half to one inch thick. The rule of thumb is to bake fish fillets for four to six minutes per half-inch at 450° F — or six to nine minutes per eight ounces at 350° F.
Baking your fish in parchment or aluminum foil packets will steam them in the oven, ensuring they stay tender. You can wrap the fish in the packets with olive oil, spices and herbs.
Excite your taste buds by chowing down on grilled fish for weight loss — a great excuse to turn on the barbecue in the warmer days ahead. Grilling fish may take some practice, but every grillmaster must make several attempts to perfect anything they throw on.
You’ll want to preheat your barbecue for 15 minutes on high to give the fish a delicious charred and crusty outer layer. It also makes it easier to flip the fish without it falling apart.
Ideally, fish is grilled at 400–450° F for six to seven minutes on one side and three to four minutes on the other. The fish should be opaque and flaky when done.
If unsure, use a thermometer to check that the internal temperature has reached 145° F — the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’s recommendation for food safety.
A mild fish, such as tilapia, is excellent however you make it — yet, tossing it under the broiler will enhance its flavor even more.
You can always substitute ingredients for a healthy fish recipe to promote weight loss. For instance, replace melted butter with olive oil — then add lemon juice, low-sodium soy sauce, salt and pepper, garlic and paprika to season the fish.
Spray oil to coat a broiler pan and stick it in the broiler at 500° F for four minutes to get it hot. Carefully remove the pan and lay the fish flat, putting it back in for three to five minutes on each side. If the fish is thin, you don’t have to turn it over.
Cooking fish in liquid is called poaching — a technique that works incredibly well with halibut, tuna and trout.
Fish stock or water is likely the healthiest liquid to simmer fish in — to which you can add garlic, onion, lemon slices and various herbs. The trick is to avoid boiling the liquid before sliding the fish into the pan.
The liquid should never rise above 160° F — if it does, just turn the stove’s heat down. The fish’s thickness will determine how long to poach it — usually seven to 10 minutes.
Cooking Healthy Fish Recipes for Weight Loss
Eating fish alone won’t help you lose weight — you must make smart cooking decisions, too. Refrain from using bread coatings, excess salt and saturated fats when making your fish dinner. Simple ingredients and seasonings are the best way to drop the pounds when eating healthy fish entrees.
Beth is the Managing Editor and content manager at Body+Mind. She shares knowledge on a variety of topics related to nutrition, healthy living, and anything food-related. In her spare time, Beth enjoys trying out new fitness trends and recipes.