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Put down that granola bar, pick up a can of sardines!




No, no, please stay and keep reading. It’s not as bad as you may think. I realize few people walk around saying, “oh-weee, i love sardines, don’t you?”

I recently got my cholesterol checked and, though my overall number was superb (yay, me!), my HDL (the good cholesterol) number could use a little boosting before I can be pronounced Super Woman. The LDL numbers were great but my doc really wants to overpower them with more, more, more HDL. Okay. I’m game.

 I do take Omega supplements but would much rather eat and enjoy my nutrition versus simply swallowing it with a glass of water. So, I started mentally checking off things I could eat to boost my Omega-3 intake.

Making a “green” choice mattered to me as well. Tuna is terribly overfished and in a huge decline. Same goes for salmon. The populations of these fishes have been negatively impacted and are in drastic decline. I simply will no longer eat tuna. Period. Salmon. Rarely. 

What was I left with? Little fishes that are in abundance, low on the food chain, with minimizing threat of mercury. Sardines. Ugh. I had to recheck my list. Yup, sardines. Drat.  However, sardines are a nutritional wonder food! I was surprised to learn how awesome they really are for both my health and my palate.

Aside from being an obvious source of protein, sardines give you…

  • Omega-3 fatty acids:  As previously mentioned, this is what I was primarily after to launch my HDL upward. Sardines contain large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Look out LDL, there’s a new sheriff in town…
  • Selenium: A powerful anti-oxidant.
  • Coenzyme Q10:  A powerful anti-oxidant.
  • Vitamin D: Sardines are one of the few foods that contains Vitamin D — vital for bone health. With the threat of osteoporsis for women as we age, it’s something women like myself need plenty of ! It also helps the body to absorb calcium in other foods.
  •  Calcium: Also vital for bone health.

With that awesome resume, I had to try them out. I hadn’t had a can of sardines in yeeeeeeears. Not since my Dad and I headed into the mountains on horseback, our meals packed with the tent. My Dad relished them. I took great delight in enjoying foods others despised. I didn’t remember being too keen on them at the time but I took a page out of my Dad’s playbook and decided to buy some sardines.

After purusing the sardine options at my local grocery store, I made my selections and headed home.  I decided something tart and sharp would be needed to combat the “sardine-y-ness”. I love cheese, my first thought, but something like a sharp cheddar would indeed be a tangy strong bite and flavor but would be too gluey with such tender little marine morsels. I decided to go with some whole grain crackers, some tart and spicy prepared horseradish, and some fresh baby salad greens. Honestly, I was secretly hoping the horseradish would smother any powerful fish stench. The horseradish was an other paternal favorite. I dug in. I’m here to tell you, it was awesome! A perfect lunch.

 Be bold! Swim against the current of naysayers! Try it out and see if you can’t fall in love with these little guys. Also know that not all sardines are a smelly mess. There is a range of quality, flavor and, yes, smell. Learn more and get emboldened at:



  1. Melody says:

    You talked me into it. I actually bought a can of sardines in mustard sauce and some whole grain crackers. Made a lunch of it. Not my favorite but not as bad as I thought. It made me feel like I was eating something that was really good for me. I am going to try some different varieties to see what I like best.

    • girls4sport says:

      That’s so awesome, Melody! I’ve been trying different types of sardines too and some… well, some are -definitely- better than others. Hahaha! I’m glad you gave it a go. I’m still trying to think of interesting ways to use them so I’m not just staring at a tiny metal tray of fish and oil.

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