Sardines are the New Tuna

Psst… Did you hear? Tuna is SO last year! True story…SARDINES are the new tuna! 

I used to leave the room running when as a little girl I would see my grandfather open up a can of sardines AND eat them straight out of the can! I mean….ewwww…. 

AND… then I grew up. Now, with our ocean waters as challenged as they are by chemicals, nuclear waste, etc… I find myself thinking twice before eating any large fish from the ocean and instead, my family and I have turned to eating the smaller fish. If you’ve never tried them, here are 5 reasons to eat sardines:

5 Reasons to eat sardines:

1. Sardines are the lowest in heavy metals and mercury of all fish!

Because they are lower on the food chain means fewer toxins build-up plus they live only 3 years at most! Their food source is plankton and not other fish who may be full of heavy metals.


2. Sardines are PACKED with nutrition!

Don’t believe me?

1 can of sardines has:

  • more than 120% of RDA of Vitamin B12
  • 10.5 grams of healthy fat
  • ~25 grams of protein
  • ~3 milligrams of iron
  • 60% RDA of selenium
  • 40% of daily recommended Vitamin D
  • 35% of daily recommended calcium
  • contain zinc 
  • WAY more than salmon, tuna or any other fish!  Sardines feed on nutrient-rich phytoplankton and are loaded with omega 3 healthy fats (great for cardiovascular health!)


3. When bought from responsible sources, sardines are sustainable *see more below

Sardines are prolific breeders that mature quickly and whose numbers are currently experiencing a high growth rate. (source)


4. They are very affordable 

A can of sardines is around 1 dollar and considering they pack a nutritional punch, throw in some veggies and you’ve got one affordable lunch! 


5. They’re delish!

As I said, I was extremely apprehensive about eating sardines, but I find that they taste like tuna! I put them in my salad to throw some protein into my lunch. I also have an amazing Primal Fish Wrap recipe coming next week, so stay tuned!


How to Choose the Best Sardines

1. Look for those packed in their own oil or olive oil. Avoid soy and vegetable oil.

2. According to Seafood Watch

look for sardines from the Canadian and US pacific that are purse seine caught OR European sardines that are certified sustainable. AVOID sardines from Europe (ex. Albania, France, Greece, Italy, Montenegro, Morocco, Spain and Turkey) as they are unregulated and overfished (via trowels).

*Libby’s note: Since Fukushima, I am very apprehensive about eating fish from the Pacific Ocean and therefore, buy this brand of Sardines. They are from Mediterranean waters, wild-caught (via purse seine), sustainably harvested, certified Friend of the Sea, packed in olive oil, and have no BPA in the can lining. I am not being paid to say this, I’m simply of the mindset that we have to share the good finds! :-)


Interesting Tid Bits

  • I thought sardines were a type of fish! Instead, a variety of small, fatty fish are actually referred to as sardines. Ex. Pilchards, sardines, small herring, sprats, etc… 
  • a female can release up to 30,000 eggs every 15 days!
  • sardines are food for whales, dolphins, sharks, sea birds

Ready to give them a go? Try these! Paleo Fish Wraps




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