Getting oily fish in can be a challenge, and during lockdown I find it harder to get fresh fish weekly so I’ve been eating more smoked fish due to the increased shelf life. While I don’t plan on carrying this on beyond lockdown, and rather used smoked fish as a treat rather than a source of omega-3 fatty acids, for the while they have ended up as a partial staple in my lockdown diet. Here’s the lowdown on omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids area type of polyunsaturated fatty acid. These fats can’t be made in our bodies, so we rely on dietary sources instead. There are a few different forms of omega-3 fats, including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
Dietary sources of EPA and DHA include oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, kipper, herring, sardines and fresh tuna (but not tinned tuna); shellfish; and seaweed (but eating this more than once per week may provide too much iodine). Alternatively you can find EPA and DHA in omega-3 fortified products such as: dairy and dairy alternative products, eggs; and supplements.
ALA can be converted to EPA and DHA in our body, but this isn’t always converted in significant amounts, especially in relation to DHA, so there are less health benefits associated with consuming ALA. Dietary sources of ALA include seeds such as chia seeds, linseeds, hemp seeds (and hemp seed oil), walnuts (and walnut oil), pecans, hazelnuts; products derived from soybeans like soybean oil and tofu; rapeseed oil; green leafy vegetables and ALA supplements.
We should be aiming to eat 2 portions of fish a week, with at least 1 portion to be oily, with the upper limit set at 4 portions of oily fish per week due to pollutants being present in some fish which could build up in our bodies. Separately, women of childbearing age, pregnant or breastfeeding women should limit their intakes to two portions per week.
Using lots of store cupboard ingredients here, you could swap the fresh herbs out and use salad leaves, or use kale as an alternative vegetable. If you are really struggling to get fresh salad, or making this when you have run out of fresh foods opt for some frozen vegetables such as edamame beans or peppers. And for those who need a super quick lunch, this dish can be made in 2 minutes by using a pouch of ready-cooked lentils. Simply heat the lentils up and dress them with the herbs and spices and you’re good to go!
- 100g puy lentils
- 10g wholegrain mustard
- 40g sundried tomatoes, finely chopped
- 10g chives, chopped
- 15g flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 120g pickled beetroot, finely cubed
- 10g horseradish sauce
- 50g reduced-fat creme fraiche
- 2 fillets of smoked mackerel
- Place the lentils in a saucepan and cover with plenty of cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 12 minutes.
- Once the lentils have cooked, drain and dress with the mustard and tomatoes whilst still hot. Allow to cool for 2 minutes before adding in the herbs.
- Separately mix the horseradish and creme fraiche together.
- Add the beetroot to the lentils and combine before plating up with the mackerel and horseradish sauce.
Per serving: 487kcal/ 28.6g fat/ 8.5g saturated fat/ 23.0g carbohydrates/ 12.9g fibre/ 28.2g protein