A Guide to Canned Fish

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I’m a seafood lover! If it comes from underwater, I want it in my belly. Unfortunately, seafood is notorious for having a short shel(l)f life – pardon the pun. It’s not a great idea to leave your whole fresh trout in the fridge for a week, unless you’re trying to start a fly farm. But what about canned fish and seafood?

 

Canned fish is actually a super convenient and nutritious option! You can buy it in bulk, often cheaply. It’s great for easy no-cook snacks, sandwiches, and as salad-toppers, and something I definitely recommend keeping in your pantry. That’s why I thought it worth writing this concise guide to canned fish!

 

Now, while I wish I could provide a table with the precise macronutrient and micronutrient breakdowns of different canned fish, unfortunately, it’s impossible to make such a table because every product is different. Fish are sourced differently, canned whole or deboned, canned in water or in oil, and, after all that, the nutrition information given on the package still isn’t that accurate. Therefore, I have instead decided to provide several key tips to shopping for canned fish, as well as a list of the major pros and cons of several popular canned seafood products. I hope you find this informative!

 

 

Pros and Cons of Popular Canned Fish:

 

Sardines (Wild Planet in Water, No Salt Added is great product).

 

Pros: 

  • Available in convenient 3.5oz/100 g portions (great for snacking)
  • Often packaged whole
  • Often packaged in water/brine
  • Great source of DHA Omega-3 (essential for brain health)

 

Cons:

  • None

 

Tuna.

 

Pros: 

  • Available in convenient 3.5oz/100 g portions (great as a salad topper)
  • Highest protein per Calorie 
  • Low in fat
  • Often packaged in water/brine

 

Cons:

  • High in mercury (eating too much can give you heavy metal poisoning)
  • Usually not packaged whole 

 

Salmon.

 

Pros: 

  • Available in convenient 3.5oz/100 g portions (great as a salad topper)
  • Often wild-caught
  • Often packaged in water/brine

 

Cons:

  • None (if wild-caught)

 

Anchovies. 

 

Pros: 

  • Great for cooking – dissolve in hot olive oil with garlic for a delicious base to sautéed vegetables

 

Cons:

  • Often only available packaged in oil (good idea to drain before use)
  • High in sodium (this can be a pro if you are on a low-carb ketogenic diet)

 

Mackerel. 

 

Pros: 

  • Available in convenient 3.5oz/100 g portions (great for snacking)
  • Often packaged in water/brine

 

Cons:

  • Highest in fat and calories (this can be a pro if you are on a low-carb ketogenic diet)

 

Oysters. 

 

Pros: 

  • The world’s richest source of zinc (just two medium oysters contain your daily recommended value)

 

Cons:

  • Believe it or not, oysters (and mussels) are moderately-high carbohydrate food(s); 7 – 10 g net carbs per 3.5oz/100 g (this is only really a concern if you are low-carb)

 

Roe. 

 

Pros: 

  • Extremely rich in a particular type of DHA called “phosphatidylcholine-DHA” that is better able to get into the brain

 

Cons:

  • I don’t love the taste, but maybe you do

 



Nicholas Norwitz