ZooFit Recipe of the Week- Maple Chipotle Salmon

This week, let’s head to the ocean for some delicious and nutritious seafood.

The Incredible Edible Salmon

Seafood is a terrific source of protein and essential fats (in fish like salmon). This food is great for those who want to lose weight, eat healthy, and gain muscle. And frankly, in my opinion, salmon is the king of seafood.

Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, so it’s not just a good source of protein, it’s good for joint health, it’s good for cardiovascular health, and it’s great for dinner.  The great part about salmon is you could cook it on its own without any seasoning, and it would still taste great. But pairing it with sweet and spicy flavors makes it just divine. Salmon is also great accompanied by nearly any vegetable. My personal favorite is roasted or steamed broccoli. Just sprinkle broccoli with lemon seasoning or garlic, and you have a one-way ticket to Yumville.

Save the Whales, Save Their Salmon

However, there is one small caveat with eating salmon. Unless it’s sourced sustainably, it has a huge negative impact on the ocean ecosystem. Most notably, the salmon fishing industry can affect the most iconic species of the Pacific Northwest, the Orcinus orca, or killer whale.

The orcas in the Puget Sound are, well, okay, they’re a bit like divas. Okay, I said it. I have a whole article on how snobbish orcas are, and their eating habits just support this theory. They’re incredible food snobs. But it’s what works for them, and they aren’t going to change just because it’s inconvenient for us. Orcas eat only one thing- chinook, or king salmon. Not just salmon, they eat only the best salmon. The king of salmon (okay, that’s just its name, king salmon is not necessarily “the best” salmon).

Since they only eat that one type of salmon, orca populations heavily depend upon chinook salmon populations. If they are over-fished by humans, orca populations can drop. And in recent years, those numbers have dropped significantly. What’s worse for orcas in the Puget Sound is, because food is scarce, they aren’t reproducing as well as their populations desperately need them to.

Sustainable Solutions

Now, I don’t eat a lot of seafood anymore. My husband and I are mostly vegetarian. But we appreciate good locally sourced, sustainable, wild-caught seafood now and then. Salmon was the first seafood my husband ever ate that he actually liked. I’ve been able to introduce other fish to our meals now, but I have salmon to thank for that.

Decreasing our intake of seafood can help with reducing our impact on depleting fish stock in the wild. But, it really is a terrific source of omega-3 fatty acids, and a good source of protein. It’s healthy, and delicious. And it is possible in this instance to have your fish and eat it, too. You just need to source your seafood as sustainably as possible.

There are two great ways to check your seafood. The Seafood Watch Card, which is also an app updates their “best choices” and “avoid lists” every six months. When you are at a restaurant, you can check the card or the app to see if the seafood choices are sustainable.

The other practice, especially at supermarkets, is to look for Marine Stewardship Council logo on your seafood products (that goes for canned or fresh seafood).

So, for Earth (and Ocean) month, let’s celebrate the sea with a great meal. Enjoyed responsibly. And this meal is just too good not to share-

Maple Chipotle Salmon   

Serves 2:  388 calories, Carbs- 7.5 g, Fat- 16.2 g, Protein- 37.6 g  

  • 2 salmon fillets, about 8-12 ounces
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp each of chili powder salt
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp salt (or substitute with lemon zest)
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1-2 Tbsp maple syrup (or less if desired)
  1. Preheat broiler. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet.
  2. Combine all dry spices and seasonings in small container with a lid.  Shake to mix.
  3. Rub spice mixture on flesh side of each salmon fillet
  4. Place fish on baking sheet and broil in oven for 7-10 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven, cut slits down the center of each fillet.  Brush or carefully pour maple syrup evenly over each fillet.
  6. Return to oven and broil for another 3 minutes.
  7. Serve with your choice of roasted or steamed veggies.

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