Canned salmon can be a great start to a fast and healthy meal.Read on for tasty and budget-wise ideas.

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Canned salmon is a nutritious choice

Canned salmon is rich in protein, vitamin D, calcium (from the bones) and healthy omega-3 fats. Omega-3 fats are heart healthy fats. They also promote healthy brain development in babies.

Buy it best

Canned salmon is an inexpensive food. Compare the prices of no-name, store brand and brand-name options. Buy extra when it's on sale.

All types of canned salmon (pink, chum, coho and red sockeye) are healthy choices. Choose canned salmon with the bones so that you get the most calcium. Look for the lower sodium versions.

Tips for storing salmon

Unopened canned salmon can be stored in the cupboard at room temperature for up to 3 years. Check the best before date on the can. Once opened, remove salmon from the can, store in an air tight container in the fridge and use within 3-4 days. You can freeze canned salmon for up to 3 months.

Tips for cooking canned salmon

Canned salmon is already cooked - just drain the liquids, and it's ready to eat or add to your favourite dish. You can remove the skin if you like. Don't throw out the soft, calcium-rich bones! Mash them with a fork and you won't even notice them.

5 things to do with canned salmon

1. Make it kid-friendly

Add canned salmon to macaroni and cheese. Spread salmon salad over whole-grain crackers or pita wedges. Mix a can of salmon into mashed regular or sweet potatoes. Spread salmon salad into ribs of celery or over thick slices of red pepper.

2. Salmon salad ideas

Make salmon salad by adding a little low fat mayonnaise to canned salmon. You can also add finely diced onion.

Spread salmon salad over a whole-wheat tortilla wrap and cover with chopped lettuce. Roll and slice cross-wise into pinwheels.Make a toasted salmon sandwich with whole-grain bread, lettuce and tomato slices.Try a salmon wrap with grated carrot and spinach leaves.Spread salmon salad over half a whole-wheat hamburger or hot dog bun. Top with grated cheese. Broil in the oven (or toaster oven) until the cheese melts.

3. Salmon cakes

Kids will have fun helping to make these snacks, which also make great appetizers.

Drain canned salmon and mix with mashed sweet potato, a beaten egg, dill and bread crumbs. Form balls, then bake or pan-fry until golden. Serve with honey-mustard dipping sauce.

4. Salmon and egg-filled tortilla cups

Kids love these hand-held snacks. Make them a meal - serve with a fruity-yogurt smoothie and raw veggies.

Press small whole-wheat tortillas into muffin tins. Pour a mixture of beaten eggs and canned salmon along with diced veggies into the tortilla "cup." Bake in a 375°F (190°C) oven for 20-25 minutes, or until eggs are set. Let stand for 5 minutes and serve.

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5. Salmon burgers and more

Grill up a tasty salmon burger! Mix egg and bread crumbs into salmon, then shape into patties. Season with fruit salsa, tomato salsa, lemon and dill, or honey mustard.For more omega-3 fats, replace the tuna in your favourite tuna casserole recipe with salmon.Add salmon when making a fish chowder.Mix salmon into homemade broccoli soup or canned lower-sodium mushroom soup.

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