Fish for breakfast may sound suspicious (or dare I say fishy?) at first. Apart from a lox bagel in New York, most Americans don’t consider seafood first thing in the morning. However, as evidenced by many cultures that do enjoy fish first thing in the morning, seafood for breakfast can be a delicious and nutritious way to start your day.
The Ideal Way To Start Your Day
According to Harvard Health Publishing, a healthy breakfast should include a balance of fibrous carbohydrates, healthy fats, and proteins. Those three nutrients are the long-lasting energy trifecta. After a good night’s sleep, starting the day with well-balanced food helps wake up the body and power you through the day.
From a nutritional standpoint, fish is packed with healthy fats (like omega-3s) and protein. Paired with a healthy carb like whole-grain toast or something inspired from our recipe list below, tinned fish like sardines, anchovies, and mackerel complete a well-rounded breakfast.
Seafood for Breakfast
Historically, diet is influenced by the landscape. Cultures that developed along coastlines naturally incorporate more seafood into their meals. And that includes breakfast! While fish is often more attainable and sustainable in coastal communities, being landlocked doesn't equal a fishless diet. Take Scandinavia for example. Their long winters limit the growing season and highlight the need for food preservation. Combined with miles of prominent coastline, processes of curing, smoking, and canning have made fish available all year round to any part of the world.
In their 2020 report, the Human Development Center highlights Norway’s population as the world’s healthiest people. But it’s not Norway alone. Four of the five Scandinavian countries are in the top ten of the HDC’s health list, making the region as a whole the healthiest on the globe. While there are plenty of factors that go into a healthy life, the similarities in the Nordic diet are striking. And what’s one noticeable commonality? Fish for breakfast!
- 1 slice rye bread (rugbrød is a dense Danish rye sourdough)
- ½ tsp softened butter
- 5 pieces La Gondola sardines
- Thinly sliced red onion
- 1 Tbsp fresh dill
- Trim bread to a 3x5 inch rectangle, and spread with softened butter.
- Distribute sardines evenly on top of buttered bread.
- Garnish with red onion and chopped dill.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!
(Recipe inspired by Serious Eats)
Another group of health-conscious people, the Japanese enjoy fresh fish for many of their meals, including breakfast. A quintessential Japanese breakfast includes rice, miso soup, fish, and an omelet. If you want to follow the traditional etiquette for serving, place the bowl of rice on the left and the bowl of miso soup on the right. The fish sits on a plate in the middle beside a bowl of the garnishing pickles
- 3 ½ oz short-grain rice
- Mixed Japanese pickles for garnish (such as cucumber, daikon, cabbage, carrots)
- Miso soup
- 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, minced
- 1 scallion, chopped
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2, 5-oz salmon fillets or Briosa Gourmet Codfish
- Prepare rice according to instructions.
- Mix minced ginger and scallions into the soy sauce and brush over the fish fillets. Let marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes.
- If using fresh fish, grill on medium to high heat for about 5 minutes on each side. If using canned fish, drain and serve.
- Pair with miso soup and Japanese pickles.
(Recipe inspired by Epicurious)
On the Iberian peninsula, canned fish is a delicacy. From tiny sardines to larger varieties of mackerel and cod, Portugal and Spain are rich with access to healthy fisheries. In addition, many of the fisheries are prioritizing sustainable practices, so you can even find canned tuna from makers like Bela that are family-owned and operated. Inspired by the flavors of Iberia, here’s a recipe for breakfast tacos that include some delectable canned fish.
- 2 Minerva Sardines in olive oil
- 4 Corn tortillas
- 2 Leeks, chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- ¼ cup fresh salsa
- Heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet. Add the leeks, season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened on medium heat for about 4 minutes.
- Warm the tortillas in a pan with a touch of olive oil, around 20 seconds on each side, or until bubbling and lightly browned.
- Construct your tacos with sautéed leeks, sardines, and salsa!
(Inspired by the Doctor's Kitchen)
Cultures To Appreciate And Imitate
While it’s fascinating to learn about other cultures and dream of healthier eating habits, you can make each of these recipes a reality! With distributors like TinCanFish that value quality products as well as building connections with sustainable and ethical brands, you can get premium canned fish anywhere in the world.
Beyond being an energy powerhouse, the omega-3s in fish boost your heart and brain as well! For those who like the scientific details, most fish contain two fatty acids called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) that have been shown to slow mental decline and improve heart health.