Don't let sardines fool you — these little fish are tasty and great for your health

Canned sardines were a pantry staple for decades until tuna started crowding the shelves. However, that’s changing as these tiny oil-rich fish (members of the herring family) make a comeback.

Health Benefits of Sardines

Canned in water, one serving of sardines delivers 20% of your daily requirement for calcium, 15% of required iron and more than a full day’s dose of vitamin D.

It also contains 17 grams of protein and 250 milligrams of potassium as well as a full gram of omega-3 fatty acids and 3.5 grams of healthy monounsaturated fat – and all this in only 130 calories.

Cooking with Sardines

Sardines are now available packed in flavourful sauces (e.g., lemon, mustard, tomato or hot chilies), and while they’re tasty, the sauces do add extra calories and salt to a serving. Still, well-drained sardines (even in sauce) are a healthy addition to your diet.

Sardines can be added (drained and flaked) to any salad. Try them on a pizza – use sardines packed in tomato sauce (undrained and flaked) instead of pepperoni or anchovies.

Use sardines flavoured with hot peppers in a burrito, or simply eat them on toast or crackers (with a little low-fat mayonnaise if you prefer).

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.