What if I don't eat fish? Is there a healthy substitute?

Ask our CDE

What if I don't eat fish? Is there a healthy substitute?

Question: Hi…I am a type 2 diabetic now on Lantus, Novalog and Metformin.  I generally eat healthy…fresh fruit and vegetables are high on my list of foods to eat.  We eat a lot of chicken, beef maybe once or twice a week, whole wheat pasta dish once a week, pork once a week.  The thing is, I don’t like or eat fish.  I understand that this is something I should be eating but just can’t eat it.  Is there something else that you can suggest as a good alternative to fish to eat?


Answer: Great job! It sounds like you are already following a well-balanced, healthy eating plan. It is always a good idea to have a lean source of protein at every meal or snack because this helps stabilize blood sugars. The health benefits of fish lie in the omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids have been shown to have numerous benefits that include lowering triglycerides, improving mood, reducing inflammation, preventing age-related diseases, and more!


 Fatty, cold water fish contain what we call eicosopentaenic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DPA) which are two types of Omega-3 fatty acids. Unfortunately, these are only found in fish, so your best alternative would be to supplement your diet with algae or fish oil supplements. Check with your physician to see what the recommended dosage is for you based on your current health status.


 Additionally, there is another type of Omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) that can be converted in small amounts to EPA and DPA. Rich sources of ALA include flaxseed, canola (rapeseed), soybeans, walnuts, and wheat germ.  Try including these into your diet as well to also help boost your intake of Omega-3 fatty acids.