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Ode to the glory of the tin of fish.

If you are a regular here, you might be aware that I have a bit of a thing for tins of fish, and I felt it was time we took a moment to explore this most excellent foodstuff.

The tin of fish is a divisive snack option. I remember tucking into a tin once when working at a school and being asked if I was eating cat food (erm, noooo). I also recall bonding with my fellow students while studying for my Personal Trainer qualifications : "TIN OF FISH, Awesome snack!". Then I knew I had found my people.


What is a tin of fish?


There are all kinds of variants on a tin of fish, it might be round or square, it might contain tuna, sardines, mackerel or salmon. It might be in sauce, or not. The only prerequisite is that it is oily fish, preserved in a tinned format. That said, when I use the term, I will be referring to mackerel in plain tomato sauce (not spicy, because some brand's idea of what makes a "spicy tomato sauce" leaves much to be desired) in a flat tin with a ring pull, because that's how I roll.

What is so great about a tin of fish?


The tin of fish is an excellent nutritional staple. Because....

It's a portion of protein
It's got your essential fatty acids (omega3), 2-3 portions a week is recommended.
It's cheap (a small tin will set you back 50-80 English pence)
It keeps well - no need to worry about eating it before it goes off, so you can stock the cupboard.
It travels well - I keep one in my bag all the time, it won't get squashed, or crumble or leak.
It's really versatile.

It's basically a really simple and easy to implement option for adding some quality nutrition - as long as you like fish.

What to do with your tin of fish


1. Tin and a fork, camping style


Get your tin, open it with the ring pull... careful now, the juice is tricky. Eat from the tin, with the fork. Do not use your fingers.

Preparation time: 10 seconds, unless you forgot to pack a fork.

This is my favourite tin of fish option. I have a friend who leaves tins and forks strategically around the house in case of moments of hunger.

2. On toast, late night snack style


Toast some bread. Granary and malted are both good. While that's doing it's thing, turn out your tin of fish into a bowl, mash with a fork. Add some paprika if you feel fancy. Spread on toast. Put in your face.



3. Quick tin of fish pasta for a last minute lunch


Cook some pasta, I like wholemeal. Also cook some veg, spinach is good, as is broccoli, or just some frozen veg like peas, sweetcorn or that mixed stuff. Grate some cheese. Drain the pasta and mix the veg, fish and cheese in. Eat.

This also works with variations of tins of fish, mustard sauce instead of tomato is a good option. Or sweet chilli or teriyaki sauce with egg noodles instead of pasta. Your options are limitless.


4. Super fancy toastie wraps.


Take your tin of fish, turn it out into a bowl. Mash it up with some salsa and grated cheese. Make into a little parcel in a wholemeal flour tortilla. Toast under the grill, on a dry skillet or in a toasted sandwich maker - I use a Diablo.

A post shared by Claire Salem (@firelotusfitness) on

I'll talk about tins of fish all day for free, but if you want in depth nutritional advice, or guidance on making healthy lifestyle changes, you should check out my online personal training and nutrition coaching services. 

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