How To: Add Omega-3 into Your Diet Through Food
Feb. 7,2021 —Amber Whittemore, RD, BSN, MHSc(c)
This week, we are talking about how to add more omega-3’s into your diet through food! For more information on how omega-3 is related to our mental health, and how this relationship takes place in the body, head back to the original blog titled “Omega-3 and It’s Mental Health Boosting Benefits”!
A Brief Recap of Where Omega-3 is Found
To review: there are three types of omega-3 fatty acids, these include alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
ALA can be found in certain plant-based items, such as:
- Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil
- Soybean oil
- Tofu **some tofu’s have added omega-3s, so keep your eyes out for this!**
- Chia seeds
- Walnuts and walnut oil
- Canola oil
And in lower amounts, but still available, in:
- Brussel sprouts
DHA and EPA can be found through:
- Seafood such as salmon, cod, herring, mackerel, shrimp, and oysters
- Omega-3 certified eggs
Breakfasts to Increase Vitamin D
Omega-3 egg scramble with spinach, avocado, salsa, and canola oil served with whole grain toast
Offers ~300 mg of EPA/DHA, or ~60% of daily recommended intake
Offers ~690 mg of ALA, or ~50% of daily recommended intake
- 1/2 tbsp canola oil
- 2 omega-3 certified eggs
- 1 handful of spinach
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 of an avocado
- 2 tbsp salsa
- In a small pan add the oil and eggs over medium heat, whisk to combine the yolks and egg whites.
- Once combined, add in the spinach and stir to combine well with the eggs.
- Once the eggs are well cooked, remove from the heat and top with avocado and salsa, add your salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!
Banana walnut smoothie served with whole grain toast
Offers ~3,300 mg ALA, or ~235% of the daily recommended intake
- 1 cup of milk
- 1 banana
- 1 tbsp walnuts
- 1 tsp flaxseeds
- 1/4 block soft tofu
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- In a blender, add all of the listed ingredients and blend until a smoothie consistency, enjoy!
Entrees to Increase Omega-3
Sweet and Spicy Salmon served with veggie and starch of choice
Each serving offers ~1850 mg of EPA/DHA, or 350% of the daily recommended intake
- 4 salmon filets, with the skin if possible
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- Salt and pepper (~1/2 tsp of each)
- 2 tbsp butter or margarine
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp grated ginger
- 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
- 3 tbsp water
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sriracha sauce
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- Pat salmon dry, then season with salt, pepper, and paprika. Set aside. Adjust oven rack to middle position, then preheat broiler setting on your oven to a medium heat.
- Add butter/margarine and oil to a large, oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Once butter is melted, add garlic, ginger, water, soy sauce, sriracha, honey/maple syrup and lemon juice and cook 30 seconds or so, until sauce is heated through.
- Add salmon, skin side down (if using salmon with skin) and cook 3 minutes. While salmon cooks, baste frequently with sauce from the pan by spooning it over the top of the salmon.
- Broil salmon for 5-6 minutes, until salmon is cooked through.
- Serve with your veggie and starch of choice and enjoy!
Shrimp stir-fry served with wild rice
1 serving offers ~1280 mg ALA, or ~90% of the daily recommended intake
1 serving offers ~300 mg EPA/DHA, or ~60% of the daily recommended intake
- 4 tbsp canola oil (split)
- ¾ pounds of shrimp, peeled
- Salt and pepper
- 2 red bell peppers, cored and sliced
- 1 head of broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 cup snap peas, ends trimmed
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- ½ tsp grated ginger
- green onion and sesame seeds for garnish optional
- ½ cup chicken broth
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp oyster or hoisin sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- Whisk together all of the sauce ingredients and set aside for now
- Heat 2 tsp canola oil over medium heat in a large frying pan or wok, then add the shrimp, salt and pepper. Cook just until shrimp turns pink, about 2-3 minutes. Remove shrimp from the pan and set aside.
- In the same pan, heat the remaining 2 tsp of canola oil over medium-high heat, then add the vegetables and cook until tender crisp, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook 30 seconds more.
- Stir in the cooked shrimp and sauce and cook over medium high 1-2 minutes or until sauce has thickened.
- Serve over rice, garnish with green onion and sesame seeds if desired, and enjoy!
Snacks to Increase Vitamin D
Offers ~5060 mg of ALA, or 350% of the daily recommended intake
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- Fruit of choice to top
- Combine the chia seeds, milk, and maple syrup in a small container, mix well, and then cover and store in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight
- When ready to eat, top with your favourite fruit and enjoy!
3 oz oysters served with 1 slice of multigrain bread
Offers ~140 mg ALA, or ~10% of the daily recommended intake
Offers ~530 mg EPA/DHA, or 106% of the daily recommended intake
1/4 cup of walnuts served with veggie sticks or a piece of fruit
Offers ~2500 mg ALA, or ~178% of the daily recommended intake
The Bottom Line
There are lots of great ways to enrich your diet with all the essential omega-3’s, both through plant and seafood-based sources!
However, for those who consume a vegetarian diet that does not include seafood or eggs, an enriched supplement with EPA/DHA could be a good way to ensure you are getting all the amazing health benefits from omega-3’s that you need!