Sardines are one of the healthiest foods we can consume, according to the health and environmental experts at “Sea Change”. These days so many of us are trying to get more omega-3 fats in our diet, because they benefit your heart and your brain.

As it turns out, sardines are nutritional powerhouses and are one of the best sources of omega-3 fats, with a whopping 1,950 mg/per 3 oz. (that’s more per serving than salmon, tuna or just about any other food) and they’re packed with vitamin D. And because sardines are small and low on the food chain, they don’t harbor lots of toxins like bigger fish can. Plus, they’re also one of the most sustainable fish around. Quick to reproduce, Pacific sardines have rebounded from both overfishing and a natural collapse in the 1940’s, so much so that they are one of Seafood Watch’s “Super Green” sustainable choices.

If you’re trying sardines for the first time, or you just really want to learn to like them, here are a few tips and a few recipes that may help you make the leap to becoming a sardine eater, if not lover:

  • For the uninitiated, a good place to start is with a boneless, skinless variety. They come packed in water or olive oil. They’re mild, and can be used in recipes in place of canned tuna fish.
  • If you’re lucky enough to have fresh sardines available in your supermarket, try them in place of the canned sardines. Lightly dredge them in salt-and-pepper-seasoned flour and sauté them in a little olive oil.
  • Sardines also come smoked, and come packed in sauces like tomato and mustard-give one of these a try. Smear them on a cracker or piece of toast for a snack or light lunch.
  • For veteran sardine eaters, the sky’s the limit! Sardines with bones and skin are delicious, too, and they look awesome on top of a salad or platter. P.S. The bones and skin are both edible. Those tiny bones deliver calcium too!