As a downright delicious fish, salmon definitely deserves a spot in your weekly meal plan — especially if your goal is weight loss.
"A 3-ounce serving of cooked wild salmon contains just 155 calories and provides 22 grams of protein and 7 grams of fat, primarily mono and polyunsaturated fats (i.e. the healthy kind)," says Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, a Brooklyn-based dietitian and author of the upcoming book Smoothies & Juices: Prevention Healing Kitchen: 100+ Delicious Recipes for Optimal Wellness.
This satiating combination of high protein and good fats is what makes the fish so weight-loss friendly. "When you pair salmon with whole grains and leafy greens, it will keep you feeling full for hours, which means you won't need to munch on extra snacks in between meals," she explains.
But the health benefits of salmon go beyond weight loss, too. The DHA omega-3 fatty acids in the fish also support brain functioning and healthy vision, reduce inflammation and are linked to a lower risk of heart disease and stroke, Largeman-Roth says.
Ready to serve up this superfood? These seven simple salmon recipes — all under 500 calories — will get you hooked on this flavorful fish.
1. Smoked Salmon Avocado Toast
Avocado toast already has a ton of benefits — heart-healthy fats and fiber in the avocado make it a filling, weight-loss friendly option for breakfast or lunch — but adding salmon takes it to a whole new level, Largeman-Roth says. "When you throw smoked salmon into the mix, you kick up the protein content (24 grams per serving) and the amount of satisfying fats."
Serve your salmon on sprouted whole-grain bread for even more nutritional benefits. Sprouted grains are rich in vitamins, essential amino acids and fiber, plus they're easier to digest.
Not to mention, snacking on sprouted grains won't spike your sugar levels like other breads, according to a February 2012 study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism. And when your blood sugar is stable, you won't experience the sugar crashes that cause cravings for sweets — a win for your weight-loss goals.
Get the Smoked Salmon Avocado Toast recipe and nutrition info here.
2. Smoked Salmon Breakfast Sandwich
This smoked salmon sandwich is a stellar way to start your day. Swap out your standard cream cheese for calcium-rich cottage cheese and get a double dose of protein.
"The combo of low-fat cottage cheese plus smoked salmon turns this into a meal that packs in 26 grams of protein in just 277 calories, helping you stay full for hours," Largeman-Roth says.
Low in calories, cottage cheese is a wonderful weight-loss food, but it tends to be high in sodium. So, when you shop, make sure to read the nutrition label and choose a brand with the least salt per serving.
Get the Smoked Salmon Breakfast Sandwich recipe and nutrition info here.
3. Salmon and Broccolette Superfood Salad
Overflowing with nutrient-dense ingredients, this salad is also a palate pleaser thanks to the bounty of flavors and textures in each bite: creamy avocado, crunchy carrots, fluffy quinoa and tender salmon.
"The colorful combo of quinoa, broccolette, avocado, watercress and sunflower seeds would already be extremely satisfying thanks to the combined fiber in these foods, but adding the salmon fillet on top turns this into a seriously powerful dish that will keep you going for hours," Largeman-Roth says.
Get the Salmon and Broccolette Superfood Salad recipe and nutrition info here.
4. Daikon, Salmon and Quinoa Grain Salad
If you have some canned salmon sitting in your pantry, this quick and easy recipe (ready in 15 minutes) is the perfect opportunity to put it to good use.
This daikon-based dish is definitely one to keep in your weight-loss rotation, Largeman-Roth says. "The mild heat of daikon radish adds just the right amount of crunch and spice to this satisfying salad that serves up 21 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber." Talk about filling.
And you can whip up the DIY dressing — a mix of olive oil, cider vinegar, minced garlic, sea salt and black pepper — in a jiff with the help of staples you likely have stored in your cupboard. No extravagant ingredients or superfluous shopping required.
Get the Daikon, Salmon and Quinoa Grain Salad recipe and nutrition info here.
5. Grilled Sweet-n-Spice Salmon With Rice
With an eco-friendly fish like wild Alaskan pink salmon, this delicious dish is not only a win for weight loss but also Mother Earth, too.
"Opt for Alaskan salmon whenever possible because they're wild-caught and sustainable" and can reduce your impact on the environment, Largeman-Roth says.
And your tummy will thank you too.
"This recipe is great for larger appetites or anyone trying to boost their protein intake," she says. One serving supplies a jaw-dropping 44 grams of protein.
Honey adds a hint of sweetness to the savory and rounds out the fish's flavor. For a perfectly balanced meal of macros, Largeman-Roth recommends piling a cup of cooked broccoli or asparagus on your plate.
Get the Grilled Sweet-n-Spice Salmon With Rice recipe and nutrition info here.
6. Slow Cooker Salmon with Lemon and Parsnips
"With 10 grams of healthy fats, 5 grams of filling fiber and 31 grams of muscle-building protein all in a 320-calorie package, you can't go wrong" with this salivating salmon recipe, Largeman-Roth says.
Paired with nutritious parsnips (one cup contains 25 percent of your daily value for vitamin C and K), whose natural sweetness offset the bitter bite of lemon, this plate is a beautiful balance of flavors.
Even better, this slow cooker salmon meal takes the cake when it comes to convenience: Simply toss your ingredients into the slow cooker and serve up a culinary masterpiece in under 30 minutes.
Get the Slow Cooker Salmon with Lemon and Parsnips recipe and nutrition info here.
7. Avocado Hollandaise Eggs Benedict
Brunch and eggs Benedict go together like peanut butter and jelly. This healthy, homemade version of the classic brunch fare is ideal for the carb-conscious (only 8 grams per serving) and offers nutrition upgrades like creamy avocado instead of Hollandaise sauce and sweet potato rounds in place of bread, Largeman-Roth says.
These simple-yet-smart swaps cut down carbs while gearing up good-for-you nutrients. So you'll feel full enough to fuel your Sunday funday without being weighed down (and wasting away your weekend with a bloated belly).
Get the Avocado Hollandaise Eggs Benedict recipe and nutrition info here.