Effective diets include nutritious, but low calorie foods like seafood. While many of us eat salmon, shrimp, and tilapia frequently, fewer of us consume calamari or scallops.

Why Effective Diets Include Calamari and Scallops

Calamari and scallops are both very nutritious and also low in calories. Often when we eat calamari it is breaded, deep fried and dipped in rich sauces. But it can be very healthy if you prepare it at home.

Health Benefits of Calamari

Here are some of the health benefits of calamari or squid: 

1. Rich in Protein

In just a 3-ounce serving, the squid in calamari provides 13 grams of protein. This helps the body to sustain energy and build muscle. 

2. Cancer Preventative

Antioxidants found in squid can help the body fight free radicals from the air you breathe in every day. These antioxidants increase the efficiency of cells which can prevent cancer. Antioxidants can also help to increase the number of white blood cells that are absent from the process of chemotherapy. 

3. Chock Full of Vitamins and Minerals

Squid contains a high number of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin B-12, potassium, iron, phosphorus and copper. These essential nutrients aid in the performance and health of blood cells, bones and the immune system. 

4. Fights Anemia

Copper is one of the key minerals found in squid, and can prevent and fight anemia, a deadly disease that is caused by the lack of blood cells. 

Health Benefits of Scallops

Scallops are very healthy and a great for effective diets as long as you don’t load them up with butter as many restaurants do.

  1. Low-Fat Protein Source

One major benefit of sea scallops is the low-fat protein they provide. Eating 3 ounces of steamed scallops gives you 18 grams of protein, with less than 1 gram of fat and only 94 calories. Protein helps maintain muscle mass, healthy tissues and body fluids. Choosing lean sources of protein may also help prevent excess caloric intake and an elevated cholesterol level.

  • Vitamin B12-Rich

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin found in the flesh of scallops. A 3-ounce serving of scallops provides 1.8 micrograms of vitamin B12, which is 75 percent of the amount adults need per day. Your body relies on B12 for red-blood cell formation, DNA synthesis, proper neurological function, and fat and protein metabolism. Eating sea scallops helps you meet your daily need for B12 and prevents deficiency symptoms such as anemia, fatigue, depression and problems with memory.

  • Supplies Minerals

Sea scallops provide almost every essential mineral. Those found in the highest percentage of your daily needs are selenium and zinc. A 3-ounce serving of scallops gives you 18.4 micrograms of selenium, which is 26 percent of the recommended daily value, and 1.3 milligrams of zinc, which is 9 percent of the daily value. Selenium functions as an antioxidant in your body, and helps prevent damage from harmful free radicals. Zinc plays a part in more than 100 different enzyme reactions in your body and helps maintain your immune function, protein synthesis, wound healing and cell division.

  • Contain Omega-3 Fatty Acids

In addition to lean protein, vitamins and minerals, sea scallops give you small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. These fats are essential to your health, and your body is unable to make them, meaning that they must come from your diet. Omega-3s play a role in maintaining proper brain function, growth and development. They also function to help reduce inflammation and to lower your risk of developing cancer, heart disease and arthritis.

Chilled Calamari and Scallop Salad Recipe

Try this healthy and refreshing salad.

Preparation Note: After skillet-steaming the scallops and squid in a small amount of seasoned water, the cooking liquid is reduced by about half and used as the basis of the lemony salad dressing.

Timing Alert: The salad should chill for about 2 hours before serving.

Ingredients (makes 4 servings)

  • ½ cup water
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1½ teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ pound clean squid bodies (no tentacles), cut into ½-inch-wide rings
  • ½ pound sea scallops, halved horizontally
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 celery stalks, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips ½ cup diced red onion


1. In a large skillet, combine the water, garlic, fennel seeds, lemon zest, salt, and red pepper flakes.

2. Bring to a simmer over low heat. Add the squid and scallops, and cook, uncovered, until the squid are tender and the scallops are opaque throughout, about 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the shellfish to a bowl.

3. Bring the liquid remaining in the skillet to a boil over high heat. Add the olive oil, return to a boil, and boil until the mixture is reduced to ¼ cup, 2 to 3 minutes. Strain into a large bowl. Whisk in the lemon juice.

4. Add the celery, bell pepper, and red onion. Add the squid and scallops and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate until the seafood is well chilled, about 2 hours.

Nutrition per serving: 

190 calories

7g total fat

2g dietary fiber

11g carbs

19g protein

Click here for full recipe for effective diets.