Fried clams, commonly made by breading whole clams or clam strips and deep-frying them, is a commonly available food. Softshell clams are sometimes used to make this dish, as well as other types of clams. While some types of seafood often contain unsafe levels of mercury, this contaminant is generally not found in high amounts in clams. This safe food does contain quite a bit of fat, however.
A 3-oz. portion of fried clams contains 172 calories, according to MyFitnessPal. This serving may fit into your meal plan as part of a light lunch of dinner when paired with a salad or other foods. The calories you consume in a day should be split evenly among your meals, along with several low-calorie snacks. The most advantageous range of calories for a single meal is 300 to 600, depending on your gender and the number of calories allotted for your meal plan.
Approximately half the calories in a 3-oz. serving of fried clams come from fat, which is far above the recommended guidelines of 10 percent of calories from fat. You may still include fried clams in your meal plan, however, if you carefully monitor the foods you eat for the day, making sure to opt for low-fat foods. This portion of clams contains 9 g of fat, 2 g of which are saturated. Saturated fats contribute toward your cholesterol more than anything else in your diet, and consuming too much may increase your risk of heart disease.
Carbohydrates and Protein
Your body depends on the carbohydrates and protein in your diet as healthy sources of energy. A 3-oz. serving of fried clams provides you with 9 g of carbohydrates -- this is 6.9 percent of the minimum amount you require each day. Include enough carbohydrate-rich foods in your diet to ingest at least 130 g each day. This portion of fried clams also contributes 12 g of protein to a meal plan. The Institute of Medicine suggests consuming 46 to 56 g of protein daily for optimal health. Protein helps you build muscle and repair cells, as well as helping your body manufacture enzymes and hormones.
Fried clams serve as a good source of vitamin C -- each 3-oz. serving provides you with 14 percent of the amount you need each day. Vitamin C is commonly known as a vitamin that improves your immune function and helps you fight off colds, but it also plays a critical role in preventing cellular damage from free radicals. Note that smoking robs the body of vitamin C, so if you are a smoker, including fried clams in your diet can give you a boost in this nutrient. One portion of fried clams also contains 5 percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin A.
Your body simply won't function without iron -- it helps delivery much-needed oxygen to all parts of your body. Seafood serves as an excellent choice for incorporating more iron into your diet, and fried clams are no exception. A 3-oz. serving of fried clams provides you with 66 percent of the iron your body requires daily. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey reveals that while most men get the iron they need in their diets, many women do not, putting them at risk of anemia. This condition causes breathing problems, fatigue, headaches and pale skin. A 3-oz. portion of fried clams also has 5 percent of the daily recommended value of calcium.
Monitor your meal plan for sodium when fried clams appear on the menu. A 3-oz. serving contains 309 mg. While this does not use up the Institute of Medicine-recommended limit of 1,500 mg per day, there is enough added salt in the foods many people eat daily to warrant paying attention to the sodium content in a portion of clams. Consuming too much salt can result in high blood pressure and other health problems.