How Much Seafood Should You Eat? A Complete Guide

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Last Updated on April 2, 2024 by Share My Kitchen

We are huge fish and seafood lovers and we eat this very delicious food every time we have a chance. Most often we eat salmon, sea bass, and sea bream but we also buy turbot and cod, as well as few other kinds of smaller local fish we can get locally (we currently live in the northern part of the Bulgarian Black Sea coast). Mussels, shrimps and crabs are regularly on the menu, too. Of course, we prefer them fresh, but sometimes we buy frozen, too.fish-and-shrimps-3952313

How To Tell If Your Seafood is Fresh?

We slowly learned how to tell if a fish is fresh by reading about the topic here and there and most importantly by talking to fishmongers and fishermen. Also, we would like to think that every day we are getting better and better at cleaning, filleting, skinning, and storing fish.

How Much Seafood Should You Eat?

It was one of the first things we were not sure about and we still have doubts from time to time, when buying, say an octopus, crabs, or whole fish: how much or how many will be enough for the two of us, or for when we invite 4 more friends for dinner.

Our idea of “the right portioning” is a general serving that is still healthy, and will not leave you with excess leftovers, but one certainly bigger than a portion you will be served in a fancy restaurant.

Fish

Fresh fish is sold in a number of ways. The easiest choice for easier preparation and portioning is to buy in the form of fillet or steak. Fillets are two sides of fish, cut lengthwise from the backbone, that is usually boneless and ready to cook.

Round Fish

Round fish are the ones that have a backbone along their upper body and an eye located on each side of their head. This group includes species such as Mackerel, Sea bass, Sea bream, Haddock, Mullet, Pollock, Snapper, John Dory, Cod, Whiting, Trout, Cod, Pike, and Salmon, as well as others. When portioned (meaning filleted), you’ll need to allow from 130 to 230g (1/3 to 2/3 pound or 5 to 8 oz) per serving.

Flatfish

For filleted Flatfish (the species that have both eyes on the same side of the head, such as Flounders, Soles, Turbot, Plaice and Halibut), you will need slightly less than the round fish – 130 to 180g (5 to 6,5 oz).

Or, in other words one kilo of filleted fish will produce 5 to 7 portions.

Fish Steaks

Fish Steaks are widthwise fish slices and usually are considered to be a portion. Choose slightly larger steaks (between 170 – 300g per person), as they have more parts (such as fat, skin or bones) of the total portion quantity to be discarded of.

whole-sea-bream-9080793Oily or White Fish?

When portioning fish you need to know which one of these two types you’re dealing with. For oily fish (such as sardine, herring, anchovy, salmon, trout, and mackerel) you need to keep the portions on the smaller side of the above-mentioned numbers.

Whole fish

That is how we prefer and most often buy our fish – exactly as they came from the water. This way you can check the freshness yourself – the eyes should be clear and the skin shiny with tightly clinging scales.

If you buy it whole and intend to fillet it yourself (before cooking), buy double the weight you need to serve – or 300 – 450g (one pound or 16 oz) per serving. If you’re going to cook it on the bone, you’ll get 5-15% more flesh off (it depends on the type of fish).

See our favorite fish recipes – Baked sea bream with sage and lemon sauce, Pan-fried salmon fillets with sauteed fennel, Whole sea bream stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes, basil, and thyme, Fish pie, Foil-baked salmon with zucchini, olives, and herbs.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Fish

In order to balance the beneficial qualities of the Omega 3 fatty acids against the potential dangers of ingesting methylmercury (MeHg) food standards agencies and health organizations recommend portions around 140g, 1/3 pound or 5 oz per serving.

Recommended Fish Portion For Omega-3 Fatty Acid Consumption

They also advise to eat a maximum of 4 portions a week for men, boys, and women past childbearing age, and up to two portions a week for women of childbearing age, including pregnant and breastfeeding women, and girls.

How much seafood can you eat while pregnant?

For the same reason, if you are pregnant or nursing your child, or thinking about becoming pregnant, it is important that you avoid consuming shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish. It is also not recommended to offer these types of fish to children under the age of 6.

The good news is there is no recommended limit on the consumption of white fish (such as cod, whiting, haddock, hake, and Pollock). They are generally lighter than oily fish, so you can keep the portions to the above-mentioned weights.

Lobsters and crabs

For this kind of shellfish, you’ll need around 500g (1 pound) per person for the main course. This usually means a small species, or if you buy larger, you have to split them into two portions.

prawns-1729774

Prawns and shrimps

Prawns and shrimps are sold in number of ways. If you choose whole fresh ones, you’ll need around 300-400g (0,6 to 0,8 pounds or 10,5 – 14 oz) per person. As the frozen shrimps and prawns are usually precooked, with heads and shells removed, if you choose this option you’ll need half the quantity of fresh ones per portion – 150-200g (0,3 – 0,4 pounds or  5 – 7 oz).

See our favorite shrimps and prawns recipes –  Avocado, Mango and Prawns salad, Black rice and caramelized vegetables with prawns, Spicy Butter Shrimps.

Octopus and Squid

When buying octopus or squid for a main course you’ll need around 200 – 250 per person, if you’re going to prepare it on the grill and bit less (around 180 – 230g), if you’re going to stuff the squid tubes.

Clams, Mussels, and Oysters

When serving mussels or clams as an appetizer, allow 250g per person (approximately 1/2 pound or 9 oz). If the mussels are to be served as a main course, allow 450g (1 pound or 16 oz). For this type of seafood always buy a bit more than the quantity needed, just in case you need to discard some because they didn’t open during the cooking. See more about how to choose, clean, cook, and store mussels, or try one of our favorite mussel recipes.

If you’ll serve oysters you need to allow 4-6 oysters per person.

And lastly, if you’re going to serve smoked salmon, you’ll need to around 100g per person.

How Much Seafood Is Enough? A Complete Summary

Here is the concise version of the above information in form of a table:

Type of fish or seafood Course Grams  per person Pounds per person Ounces per person
Fish – round, filleted Main 130-200g 0,3 – 0,4 lb 5-7 oz
Fish – flat, filleted Main 130-180g 0,3 – 0,4 lb 5-6,5 oz
Fish Steaks Main 170 – 300g 0,4 – 0,6 lb 7- 10,5 oz
Fish – oily fish, filleted Main 130-140g 0,3 lb 5 oz
Whole fish – prepared on the bone Main 300-450g 0,6 – 0,8 lb 10,5- 14 oz
Lobsters, Crabs Main 450 -500g 1 pound 16 oz
Prawns, Shrimps – fresh Main 300-400g 0,6 – 0,8 lb 10,5- 14 oz
Prawns, Shrimps – precooked Main 150-200g 0,3 – 0,4 lb 5 – 7 oz
Octopus, Squid Main grilled 200-250g 0,4 – 0,5 lb 7 – 9 oz
Octopus, Squid Main stuffed 180-230g 0,4 – 0,5 lb 7 – 9 oz
Clams, Mussels Main 450g 1 pound 16 oz
Clams, Mussels Starter 200-250g ½ pound 8 oz
Smoked salmon Main 100g 0,2 lb 3,5 oz
Sources:
  • Wikipedia
  • What’s cooking America
  • Food Standards Agency UK
  • Quanto basta
  • Martins seafresh
  • Tourismpei

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