How to Choose Sardines

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Canned sardines usually come packed in oil.
Canned sardines usually come packed in oil. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Sardines are a healthy option for meals. They contain high levels of omega-3 vitamins and virtually no mercury. They can be eaten on their own or included in more elaborate dishes. Best of all, sardines are cheap, and a single can usually costs less than $3. With many different brands of canned sardines on the shelf, knowing which to buy can be confusing. Some companies do not use environmentally sustainable methods of catching fish, and different brands can have a different taste. A few simple considerations can help you pick the right brand of sardine.

Consider where the sardines were caught. Check the label and see if the country is listed. If not, check the company's website. Knowing where the fish was caught can tell you about the practices that were used to capture it. Check fishing laws to see if that country uses methods you're comfortable with. It can also help you identify what kind of sardine you like, as regional differences affect the taste of the fish.

Check the brand. Different brands may use different fishing methods, and will likely have a reputation. You can check websites such as EcoFirms.org that will tell you which brands are sustainable.

Look at the price. If your main concern is money, go for the cheapest brand. Ensure that the cheapest brand uses fishing methods and packaging that you're comfortable buying.

Look at the packaging. Check to see if there is excess or unnecessary packaging that could hurt the environment. Ensure everything is recyclable.

Check the nutritional label and compare. If nutrition is your primary concern, comparing labels will help you select the healthiest brand of sardine.

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