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5 reasons seafood is the No. 1 food for summer

(BPT) - The weather is warm, the grill is ready to be fired up and everyone’s hungry for summer-friendly snack and meal ideas. Enter: seafood! Thanks to their great taste, ease of preparation and versatility, fish and shellfish are ideal go-to options for the summer months. From salmon, cod and tilapia to shrimp and crab, the world is your oyster when it comes to all the delicious seafood choices within easy reach. Wondering why you should make this the summer of seafood? Here are five reasons:

1. Seafood tastes downright delicious.

From succulent shrimp and savory salmon to crowd-pleasing clams and craveable crab, the number of tasty seafood options available is seemingly endless. Whether you opt for fresh, frozen, canned or pouched, seafood is accessible across the country and can easily serve as the star of any summer meal. Think about enjoying a fresh seafood dish while dining out. Or how about preparing a pineapple-shrimp salsa as a light appetizer, or serving a white clam and kale pizza for dinner. The naturally delicious taste of seafood will leave you satisfied all summer long.

2. Seafood serves up the nutrients your body needs.

Fish and shellfish are nutrient-packed powerhouses that not only taste great, but also support overall health and well-being. Many varieties of fish and shellfish are chock-full of several nutrients — like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D and vitamin B, protein and more — that play essential roles in keeping the body strong and healthy. In fact, the 2015-2020 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that people consume at least two to three servings of seafood each week to obtain the nutritional benefits and help prevent chronic diseases.

3. Cooking seafood is simple.

When it comes to summer, our schedules are notoriously busy with camps, vacations and other family activities filling up the calendar. The full days leave little time to spend in the kitchen, but luckily, seafood makes mealtime easy. Whether you’re looking for a last-minute dinner idea after a long day at the pool or you need an impressive dish to feed a crowd, seafood is ready in a snap. No matter the preparation method you choose (think grilling, sautéing or baking), fish and shellfish require minimal cooking time. Plus, thanks to the naturally mild and delicious taste of seafood, you don’t need a laundry list of fancy ingredients to prepare a mouthwatering meal. Just use what you have on hand — say, honey and garlic for grilling up some scrumptious Honey Garlic Shrimp Skewers, or lemon juice and fresh herbs for a basic, yet delightful salmon topping. Sometimes simple is best, and most delicious!

4. Seafood goes great on the grill.

Summer and grilled seafood go hand in hand. You can skip the traditional beef burgers and chicken breasts and opt for the flavor-packed experience of grilled seafood dishes instead. Whether sealed up in a foil packet, threaded on a skewer, placed atop a cedar plank or popped right onto the grates, fish and shellfish can be prepared in so many ways on the grill. Hardly anything can top the perfectly charred flavor of shrimp skewers or the tender taste of grilled cod. With flavor combinations and preparation methods aplenty, you’ll be grilling seafood over an open flame all summer long!

5. Seafood makes a great snack or appetizer.

Light, flavorful and filling snacks are must-haves for the summertime. Whether you’re loading up the cooler for a day out or a long road trip, hosting a big party, or entertaining out-of-town guests, seafood can serve as a healthy, protein-packed snack perfect for any summer event. Thanks to shelf-stable canned and pouched tuna and salmon, you can stock your pantry or fill up your beach bag with snacks that will satisfy your hunger until dinner. If you want to dress things up a bit, use canned or pouched tuna or salmon as the main ingredient for a tasty appetizer or light afternoon snack. From crab and tuna salads to salmon sliders, shelf-stable seafood can make summer snacking easy and delicious!

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