In the past year I've probably eaten salmon a handful of times, but not nearly enough, so in 2016 I plan to make it a habit. In the past I have simply bought my salmon from the freezer aisle of the grocery store. I was eating it infrequently enough that the frozen option was the best option for me. Then last month my coach introduced me to Indigo Farms Seafood (a.k.a. "The fish ladies"), a local business that serves the greater New River Valley area and was recently featured in this Roanoke Times article.
Indigo Farms Seafood sources their fresh, never frozen, fish products from the coast of North Carolina in order to offer up a rare find of high-quality seafood options here in the mountains (note: they do also offer a variety of frozen products from more distant locations, like Alaska). After finally taking the time to make it to one of their many stops each Thursday, I proceeded to enjoy the best darn piece of fresh (never frozen) salmon I've tasted in quite a while. That was definitely a game changer!!! I mean, just look at how beautiful it is:
Nutritional Benefits of Salmon
Besides the fact that it looks and tastes amazing, a 4oz serving of salmon provides more than 230% of your daily value of B12 and 130% of your daily value of Vitamin D (learn about the importance of Vitamin D next Wednesday!) Further more, salmon is one of the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids, packed with quality protein (essential amino acids), Vitamins A, B6, B3, and E with appreciable amounts of calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and phosphorus. Salmon is one of few foods that has a beneficial ratio of omega-3 fatty acids to omega-6 fatty acids. Consumption of Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial in that they elicit the production of eicosanoids, which are a type of local hormone which has been tied to a decreased risk of heart disease, inflammatory processes, and certain cancers. Further more, eicosanoids help to boost immune health, another top priority of athletes!!
My motivation for pulling together this Salmon Pesto Salad was to provide a hefty dose of immune boosting, anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids within my personal diet (so if you're looking for a low fat meal, rest assured this is not one of them). Furthermore, I've found that once the main ingredients are prepped (salmon and pesto pasta), this is a cinch to throw together for lunch or dinner and keeps me satiated for quite some time. You know I love to share recipes that are as easy as they are delicious! The combination of healthy fats, leafy greens, whole grains and high-quality protein make this a winning dish nutritionally and one your taste buds will thank you for as well.
Bonus points for Kristen: the hubby came home last night and announced "So.... I'm thinking about starting to eat fish again..." Hehehe :) :)
[Yield of 1 personal salad]
3-4 oz filet of salmon, cooked
1 oz feta cheese
1 c. whole wheat rotini pasta, cooked
2 c. baby spinach greens
1/4 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp walnut basil pesto (see recipe)
1-2 tbsp balsamic vinaigrette dressing
Nutrition Facts Per Serving (1 salad): 525 kcal, 27 g fat, 25 g carb, 5 g fiber, 37 g protein
Additional Nutritional Benefits Include:
Kristen Chang is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) and triathlete residing in southwest Virginia with her husband and dogs. Follow along as she shares favorite fueling recipes, general wellness and sport nutrition tips and stories from her athletic endeavors.
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