How to Buy Seafood

The Canada Food Guide recommends 2 to 3 servings of lean protein each day for adults.

1 Serving = 2.5 ounces cooked

Depending on the type of seafood being purchased, you will need the following amounts in a raw state per serving.


• Boneless fillets or steaks: Approximately 1/4 pound per serving

• Bone-in fish: Approximately 1/2 pound per serving

• Shell-on shrimp: Approximately 1/3 pound per serving

• Shell-on mussels or clams: Approximately 1/2 pound per serving

• Shelled scallops, shrimp or crabmeat: Approximately 1/4 pound per serving

• Live Lobster or Crab: Approximately 1 pound per serving


How to select your seafood?


What to look for when buying fish: Fillets should look moist and firm, with no discolouration or dryness around the edges. Look for vibrant, plump flesh.  Fresh fish should smell like clean water, or a touch briny. Truly fresh fish smells only faintly of the sea. For skin-on fillets, look for skin that is shiny and metallic. Whole fish should have clear, shiny eyes; moist red gills; and scales that cling tightly to the skin.


What to look for when buying mussels, clams and oysters: Do a “tap test:” live clams, oysters and mussels will close up more tightly when the shell is tapped. If they don’t close when tapped, discard them. In addition, any shellfish that do not open during cooking should be discarded.


What to look for when buying lobster and crab: Look for lobsters or crabs that feel heavy for their size. And watch whether the lobster or crab shows leg movement when picked up, which shows that it is still strong.


Rather than shop for a specific type of fish, see what looks the freshest:

Similar types of fish can usually be substituted in a recipe. If the ingredient list calls for a mild-flavoured white fish such as cod, for example, you can easily substitute orange roughy or snapper. Bolder-flavoured fish, such as tuna and swordfish, are often interchangeable.

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