1/5 Mitchell Feinberg
This pink-fleshed fish is famous for its hefty omega-3 content, but it's also nature's number one source of vitamin D, which is essential for strong bones and a healthy immune system. Just three ounces contains 52 percent of your recommended daily dose of niacin, a B vitamin that boosts energy and helps your body metabolize carbs and fat. Go for wild-caught species, such as Alaskan king. "Its varied diet makes it more flavorful than farmed varieties," says Geagan.
Flavor profile: Mildly to moderately fishy; rich due to its high (healthy!) fat content
Best with: Light flavors such as citrus or soy to balance its substantial flavor. It pairs nicely with slightly acidic greens like bok choy or spinach, which offset its richness.
Try it: Broiled with lemon vinaigrette; poached in a salad with sliced scallions and dill yogurt dressing; grilled with a maple-soy-orange sauce
Whisk together 1/4 cup orange juice, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic. Pour over a 4-ounce salmon fillet and marinate for 15 minutes. Grill for 8 to 10 minutes, flipping halfway through.
Per Fillet: 253 cal, 7 g fat (1 g sat), 21 g carbs, 443 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 24 g protein
2/5 Mitchell Feinberg
When not drowned in butter or packed into a cake and fried, the meat of these Northern Pacific crustaceans can be seriously slimming—three ounces contains only 73 calories and 15 grams of satisfying protein. Crabs are usually cooked like lobsters (boiled alive); if that makes you feel mean, Geagan suggests opting for frozen, which is just as tasty and healthy.
Flavor profile: Succulent, delicate, sweet, and slightly salty
Best with: Mild flavors such as avocado to complement its clean brininess; biting lemon, lime, or fiery Cajun spices for culinary contrast
Try it: Boiled and chilled. Toss the meat into a salad for a delicious twist on nicoise; fold some into your next omelet; serve with cocktail sauce for a light appetizer.
Avocado Crab Cocktail
Place 2 ounces Dungeness crabmeat in a martini glass. Layer with a quarter of an avocado, cubed. Top with another 2 ounces crab. Serve with 1 tablespoon cocktail sauce and a wedge of lime.
Per Recipe: 184 cal, 6.5 g fat (1 g sat), 9 g carbs, 577 mg sodium, 3 g fiber
3/5 Mitchell Feinberg
Fans of cod, halibut, or sea bass will enjoy this Australian swimmer, a white-fleshed fish with a boatload of omega-3s. It's low in calories and mercury (some U.S. farmed varieties have no detectable amounts). Best of all, farmed barramundi is raised in a closed, pollution-free environment, says Sheila Bowman, senior outreach manager at the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch Program. To find a store that stocks barramundi, go to thebetterfish.com.
Flavor profile: Delicate and slightly buttery, like wild sea bass
Best with: You name it—bold Latin spices, mild Asian lemongrass-soy flavors, Mediterranean tomatoes and capers
Try it: On the grill. Its high fat content prevents it from drying out under direct heat. Skewer one-inch pieces of fish, red peppers, and scallions, and serve the grilled kebabs over sweet-potato puree. Or try barramundi in fish tacos.
Chili-Spiced Fish Tacos
Season a 5-ounce barramundi fillet with one pinch each salt, pepper, cumin, and chili powder. Grill (or saute in 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium heat) for 5 minutes. Flip and cook for 2 more minutes. Divide fish between 2 warm corn tortillas. Serve with chopped tomatoes, shredded green cabbage, fresh cilantro, and a squirt of lime.
Per Recipe: 345 cal, 9.5 g fat (1 g sat), 34 g carbs, 411 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 33 g protein
4/5 Mitchell Feinberg
"Sardines are health food in a can," says Geagan. Their mostly vegetarian diet of plankton keeps them low in mercury, and like most oily fish, they're full of omega-3s.
Fresh sardines like these can be tough to find if you don't live on the West Coast. But smoked or canned sardines are equally good. Just don't toss the soft, edible bones, which are great for your bones: Three ounces of sardines pack more calcium and vitamin D than a glass of milk. Sardines' flavor gets a bad rap, but in the right recipe these fish can be incredibly tasty, assures Geagan.
Flavor profile : Lusty, salty, and slightly mineral tasting
Best with: Equally bold flavors: olives, capers, Parmesan, and sherry vinegar
Try them: Straight out of the tin (look for varieties that are packed in heart-healthy olive oil); grilled with lemon and olive oil, for about 2 minutes per side (use fresh sardines); on top of pasta, salad, or crunchy bread
Caesar Sardine Ciabatta
Toast half a 3 1/2-inch ciabatta roll. Toss 1/2 cup chopped romaine with 2 teaspoons light Caesar dressing. Pile lettuce on roll. Top with 2 canned sardines (drained) and 1 tablespoon shaved Parmesan.
Per Sandwich: 178 cal, 7 g fat (2 g sat), 18 g carbs, 468 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 12 g protein
5/5 Mitchell Feinberg
These petite mollusks are one of the leanest proteins around (being almost entirely muscle will do that for you), with only 95 calories and less than one gram of fat per three ounces. They also contain 20 percent of the immune-boosting selenium you need in a day. One caveat: Avoid scallops treated in sodium tripolyphosphate (STP), says chef Rick Moonen. "STP is a soaking solution that causes scallops to absorb a lot of liquid so they weigh—and cost—more. When you buy scallops, they should be dry and firm, not sitting in any kind of liquid."
Flavor profile: Soft, sweet, and more delicate tasting than steaklike sea scallops
Best with: Subtle Mediterranean flavors, such as white wine, zesty lemon, capers, rosemary, or tomatoes
Try them: Lightly sauteed, broiled, or poached. Chill and toss into a spinach salad with crispy bacon; drizzle with rosemary-infused olive oil for a quick appetizer; add to a fiery pasta dish to pump up the meal.
Scallops Fra Diavolo
Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add 1/2 clove minced garlic and 3 ounces bay scallops. Saute for 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup canned fire-roasted tomatoes and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Saute for 1 minute more. Toss with 1 cup cooked whole-wheat spaghetti and top with 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil.
Per Recipe: 322 cal, 6 g fat (1 g sat), 46 g carbs, 432 mg sodium, 7 g fiber, 23 g protein