Sardines are the New Tuna

Sardines are the New Tuna! 5 Reasons to start eating them NOW!

Psst… Did you hear? Tuna is SO last year! True story…SARDINES are the new tuna! 

I used to leave the room running when as a little girl I would see my grandfather open up a can of sardines AND eat them straight out of the can! I mean….ewwww…. AND… then I grew up. Now, with our ocean waters as challenged as they are by chemicals, nuclear waste etc… I find myself thinking twice before eating any large fish from the ocean and instead, my family and I have turned to eating the smaller fish. If you’ve never tried them, here are 5 reasons to eat sardines:

5 Reasons to eat sardines:

1. Sardines are the lowest in heavy metals and mercury of all fish!

Because they are lower on the food chain means less toxins build up plus they live only 3 years at most! Their food source is plankton and not other fish who may be full of heavy metals.


2. Sardines are PACKED with nutrition!

Don’t believe me?

1 can of sardines has:

  • more than 120% of RDA of Vitamin B12
  • 10.5 grams of healthy fat
  • ~25 grams of protein
  • ~3 milligrams of iron
  • 60% RDA of selenium
  • 40% of daily recommended Vitamin D
  • 35% of daily recommended calcium
  • contain zinc 
  • WAY more than salmon, tuna or any other fish!  Sardines feed on nutrient rich phytoplankton and are loaded with omega 3 healthy fats (great for cardio-vascular health!)


3. When bought from responsible sources, sardines are sustainable *see more below

Sardines are prolific breeders that mature quickly and whose numbers are currently experiencing a high growth rate. (source)


4. They are very affordable 

A can of sardines is around 1 dollar and considering they pack a nutritional punch, throw in some veggies and you’ve got one affordable lunch! 


5. They’re delish!

Like I said, I was extremely apprehensive about eating sardines, but I find that they taste like tuna! I put them in my salad to throw some protein into my lunch. I also have an amazing Primal Fish Wrap recipe coming next week, so stay tuned!


How to Choose the Best Sardines

1. Look for those packed in their own oil or olive oil. Avoid soy and vegetable oil.

2. According to Seafood Watch

look for sardines from the Canadian and US pacific that are purse seine caught OR European sardines that are certified sustainable. AVOID sardines from Europe (ex. Albania, France, Greece, Italy, Montenegro, Morocco, Spain and Turkey) as they are unregulated and overfished (via trowels).

*Libby’s note: Since Fukushima, I am very apprehensive about eating fish from the Pacific Ocean and therefore, buy this brand of Sardines. They are from Mediterranean waters, wild caught (via purse seine), sustainably harvested, certified Friend of the Sea, packed in olive oil and have no BPA in the can lining. I am not being paid to say this, I’m of the mindset that we have to share the good finds! :-)


Interesting Tid Bits

  • I thought sardines were a type of fish! Instead a variety of small, fatty fish are actually referred to as sardines. Ex. Pilchards, sardines, small herring, sprats etc… 
  • a female can release up to 30,000 eggs every 15 days!
  • sardines are food for whales, dolphins,sharks, sea birds

Ready to give them a go? Try these! Paleo Fish Wraps




150 Healthiest Foods on Earth

The Paleo Chef

Wild Planet Foods

  • Emily @ Recipes to Nourish

    My husband and Tiny Love love sardines. They’re a great nutrient dense real food :)

  • Tanis Grice

    I grew up loving sardines. It was something I would eat with my dad and grandmother as a special treat. Still to this day I love to treat myself to a can of sardines on occasion, but after reading all of these benefits; I should treat myself more often! :)

    • eatplaylovemore

      You totally should Tanis! -Libby

  • linda spiker

    I know I should…but I just can’t lol.

    • eatplaylovemore

      aww come on Linda! :) -Libby

  • My Darla Clementine

    I can honestly say that I have never eaten sardines before! Maybe I should give them a try…

    • eatplaylovemore

      You totally should! We find that they have a taste similar to tuna so if you like tuna…. :-) -Libby

  • Megan Stevens

    I agree with your conclusion! Thanks for the reasons. I’ve eaten them from my beginning. My Jewish mum made the BEST sandwiches with sourdough bread, provolone, mustard and sweet onions thinly sliced- and sardines.

    • eatplaylovemore

      YUM Megan! -Libby

      • Megan Stevens

        By the way, thanks for sharing where you buy yours from now, very helpful.

  • thefoodhunter

    I love sardines but always forget about them for some reason