The American Heart Association recommends you aim for two servings of fish a week for better health. Grilling fish in foil with lemon is an easy and delicious way to add more of the nutritious protein to your diet.
Read more: 7 Fish Recipes That Are Great for Your Heart
The Benefits of Fish
Fish is an excellent source of protein, being also low in calories and considered a very healthy addition to your diet. The American Heart Association recommends weekly consumption of fish, especially fatty fish such as salmon or albacore tuna, because it's an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. This essential fat is linked to a lower risk of heart disease, is important for brain health and may even protect you from dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
According to the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), most Americans get their omega-3 fatty acids from non-fish sources, such as nuts, seeds and oils. However, all the known health benefits are based on studies of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish.
Fish are also a natural source of vitamin D. This essential fat-soluble vitamin is found in very few foods, and most Americans don't get enough of the vitamin from the food they eat, according to ODS.
You need adequate amounts of vitamin D to keep your bones healthy and strong. It's also needed for immune health, neuromuscular function and reducing inflammation. While your body can make vitamin D through sun exposure, the sun carries its own health risks (skin cancer), and depending on where you live, it may not be possible for you to get the sun exposure you need due to inclement weather.
Read more: Is Cod a Healthy Fish to Eat?
Grilling Fish in Foil
Despite the many benefits fish offers, fewer than one-third of Americans eat seafood weekly, and most only eat it on occasion, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. While taste preferences are certainly a factor when it comes to fish consumption in the U.S., many people don't include fish in their diet because they don't know how to prepare it.
Grilling fish in foil seasoned with a little lemon is so easy that even the most inexperienced cook can make it into a tasty meal. The keys are to make sure your fish portions are consistent (for even cooking) and your grill is preheated.
Read more: For a Healthy Meal, Tilapia is Your Friend
For example, for flounder in foil on a grill, you want to start by preheating your grill to medium-high heat. Then, assemble your fish by placing a 6-ounce portion of flounder onto a large square of foil. Season with salt and pepper, add a drizzle of olive oil and cover your fish with two to three slices of fresh lemon. Fold the foil to create a packet that keeps the flavor and juices inside.
Cook your flounder in foil on grill for 10 to 12 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. Then let your packets rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Fish Foil Packets
Once you've mastered grilling fish in foil with lemon, it's time to begin experimenting with flavors and creating your own healthy fish foil packets.
Consider BBQ fish in foil topped with red onions, red peppers and corn. Season with a little paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper, and then drizzle with olive oil. Grill over medium-high heat until your fish is cooked through.
You can even make your fish foil packets in a 450-degree Fahrenheit preheated oven. Try baked fish in foil with potatoes and sliced leeks, seasoned with rosemary and thyme. Cook your fish foil packet in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through. Be sure to let the fish rest for 5 minutes before serving. Because fish cooks quickly, your potatoes need to be precooked and cut in small pieces, suggest the experts at the Food Network.
A fish and rice foil packet can also make a tasty and complete dinner. Just add some julienned carrots, salt and pepper and a drizzle of oil. Like potatoes, your rice should be precooked before assembling your fish packet.