Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Affordable, Portable Tuna Hooks Nutrition Into Your Diet

(NAPSI)-Families on the go looking for a quick, affordable and nutrient-packed meal are hooked on tuna.

No longer restricted to casseroles or plain sandwiches, canned tuna can make a great warm-weather meal, whether it’s part of a traditional tuna salad, eaten as a spread or even over pasta for a light and delicious lunch.

Nutrient Packed

The versatile seafood is also high in protein, low in calories and loaded with omega-3s--a series of fatty acids linked to benefits in brain power, heart health, disease prevention and improved energy and movement.

Additionally, omega-3s have been found to help improve cognitive and motor skill development in fetuses and young children, and scientists say they may reduce preterm labor and postpartum depression.

Add to that high levels of selenium--an essential mineral that acts as a powerful antioxidant--and doses of B vitamins such as niacin, B-12 and B-6, and you can see why tuna is a favorite of nutritionists, chefs and families alike.

Americans eat very little seafood--only 17 lbs. a year versus the 39 lbs. recommended by many health experts. Women especially, and this includes pregnant women, are encouraged to eat more fish, a minimum of 12 ounces per week, and they can do so without worry.

While virtually all seafood has trace levels of naturally occurring mercury, canned or pouched light tuna tests well below the FDA’s very conservative safety limit. There are only four ocean fish that pregnant women and women who are postpartum are asked to avoid: tilefish, king mackerel, swordfish and shark.

Affordable and Fast

Tuna’s convenient packaging options also make it a quick way to get your two servings of fish per week, as suggested by the American Heart Association and the USDA. Its affordability makes tuna an easy item to incorporate into your diet on any budget.

You can find tuna in individual serving cups, pouches and ready-to-serve flavors such as lemon-pepper or Thai.

The pouches can be especially good for picnics or other outdoor get-togethers, and the individual cans can be great for camp, work or anywhere else you might need to grab a quick bite on the go. Insulated lunch boxes, bags and small coolers add to its portability.

Delicious Dishes

You can even use tuna in a variety of wonderful dishes, ranging from whole wheat penne with tuna and roasted vegetables to tuna, chilled green beans and roasted pepper salad.

Other recipes include a niçoise sandwich, savory tuna spread and even creamed tuna and vegetables à la king.

The following recipe is simple and very portable:

Tuna Roll-Up

4 servings

1 1-lb. can of light tuna or

2 6-oz. cans

1 8-oz. cream cheese at room temperature

2 tsp. prepared horseradish

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp. grated onion

4 White or wheat soft burrito-size shells or wraps

Mix ingredients in bowl with fork.

Spread mixture with a knife over a white or wheat flour tortilla, leaving ¼ edge uncovered.

Add shredded lettuce, tomato and chopped cucumber to taste.

Start with one end of the wrap and roll it until plump and round. Wrap in aluminum foil.

Cut in half and refrigerate until ready to eat or store in a cool insulated lunch box for convenience.

You can find this recipe and others, along with tips and facts, at www.tunafacts.com.

Fabulous Fish--Canned tuna is affordable, versatile and packed with protein and omega-3s.

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