How to choose frozen fish
We were once limited to the humble fish finger, but now there’s a wide range of frozen fish available. So, which ones are a better choice?
Frozen fish come in a range of batters and crumb types, plus different flavours such as garlic, lemon pepper or sweet chilli. Most frozen fish products are hoki, but we also saw products that use roughy, dory and tarakihi.
Fish is a great source of protein. Protein foods are used by the body to build muscles, cells, enzymes and hormones. For a main meal, aim for about 100-150g of protein foods. Plain hoki contains around 19g of protein per 100g. In the fish fillets we looked at, protein ranged from 9-15g per 100g, and about 9-10g per 100g in the fish fingers. We recommend choosing products with 12g or more protein per 100g, and fish fingers with 10g or more protein per 100g.
Many of the products we looked at gave the amount of omega-3 fats in the nutrition information panel. We need these types of fats in our food as our body can’t make them on its own. Omega-3 oils help to reduce the risk of heart disease. Fish is one of the best sources of omega-3 fats and the only source of long-chain omega-3 fats. White fish such as hoki or tarakihi has lots of omega-3, and oily fish such as salmon or tuna has even more. We recommend choosing products with 200mg or more omega-3 per 100g.
The sodium in frozen fish can come from the crumbs or batter, and from flavouring products used. Sodium in the fish products we looked at ranged from 150mg to a whopping 700mg per 100g (in the Sealord New Zealand Hoki Salt & Vinegar Crumb.) We recommend choosing products with 400mg or less per 100g – the lower the better.
Serving sizes varied a lot between frozen fish. Most were a serving of 100-150g. Fish fingers varied between a serving size of one fish finger to about three. When we opened the packets, most of the fish pieces were about palm size, but some were almost the full size of our hand. So, one ‘serving’ may actually be about two. On average, 100g of frozen fish products provides 800-890 kJ.
How to choose
Use this checklist to choose healthier frozen fish products.
Some healthier frozen fish products we found
$10.00 per 1kg pack
Per 100g: 610kJ, 10.2g protein, 300mg omega-3, 219mg sodium, $1.00
Nice crumb and a good flavour.
$6.49 per 400g pack
Per 100g: 770kJ, 10.4g protein, 300mg omega-3, 310mg sodium, $1.62
Great classic taste.
$7.00 per 480g pack
Per 100g: 861kJ, 12.1g protein, 400mg omega-3, 220mg sodium, $1.66
Subtle flavour with a peppery aftertaste.
$6.50 per 425g pack
Per 100g: 878kJ, 12.1g protein, 207mg omega-3, 250mg sodium, $1.53
Tastes fresh and has a subtle flavour.
$10.00 per 440g pack
Per 100g: 595kJ, 12g protein, 200mg omega-3, 340mg sodium, $2.27
Noticeable beer flavour – Dad would love it!
$10.00 per 480g pack
Per 100g: 697kJ, 13.2g protein, 200mg omega-3, 310mg sodium, $2.08
Our tasters’ favourite! Unique and unexpected flavour.
$7.99 per 300g pack
Per 100g: 945kJ, 13.9g protein, 500mg omega-3, 410mg sodium, $2.66
Lovely crispy crumb.
$7.99 per 480g pack
Per 100g: 863kJ, 11.9g protein, 400mg omega-3, 360mg sodium, $1.66
Tasty with a great crunch. A bit different – it tastes like fish and chips together.