When it comes to preparing an easy meal in minutes, seafood is probably not the first thing that comes to mind, especially for those of us who live in the Midwest.

But seafood tops the list for a meal you can get on the table in minutes. That's because most seafood takes minimal prep time and ingredients and depending on its size, can easily cook in 15 minutes.

We all know how good seafood is for us. It's a great source of lean protein. Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, herring, mackerel and trout are rich in two kinds of omega-3 fatty acids. The American Heart Association recommends eating fatty fish at least twice each week because of the health benefits to the heart including decreased risk of arrhythmia that can lead to sudden death, decreased triglyceride levels and perhaps a slightly lower blood pressure. There are also many studies looking at benefits of omega-3 fats for brain and joint health.

Many people are concerned about possible toxins from eating seafood. A recent study in the Journal of American Medical Association reported the health benefits of eating seafood far outweigh any potential risk. In other words, it's more of a risk to not eat seafood.

Not quite sure how to cook seafood? Here are basic guidelines for cooking seafood to perfection.

• 10-Minute Rule: Whether you bake, broil or grill, cook seafood 10 minutes for every inch of its thickness.

• Opaque and Flakes: Reliable tests to determine when seafood is cooked and ready to eat are that the seafood will turn opaque and will “flake” when a knife or fork is gently inserted and slightly twisted into the thickest part of the fish. When in doubt, a food thermometer should read 145 degrees.

• Simple Seasonings: Less is more when it comes to seasonings. Keep seasonings simple and use dill, parsley, chives, garlic or fresh-cracked black pepper. A light drizzle of butter or splash of white wine, lemon or lime juice will complement the seafood without overpowering it.

Enjoy grilling seafood this time of year. Below is a family-favorite grilled salmon recipe.

Grill-Glazed Salmon

(Serves 4)

All you need

3 tablespoons packed brown sugar

4 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon rice vinegar

4 (4 ounces each) salmon fillets

All you do

1. Preheat grill.

2. Combine brown sugar, mustard and soy sauce in a small bowl. Reserve 1 tablespoon of mixture in a separate bowl.

3. Stir rice vinegar into reserved mixture. Set aside.

4. Place salmon skin-side-down on greased grill rack and brush glaze over fillets. Repeat glazing for 8 to 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

5. Serve with rice vinegar mixture drizzled over top.

Nutrition facts per serving: 260 calories, 13 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 65 mg cholesterol, 530 mg sodium, 11 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, 10 g sugar, 23 g protein.

Source: www.hy-vee.com

Tracey Shaffer, RD, LD, is a Hy-Vee dietitian at the Blue Springs location The information provided should not be construed as professional medical advice. Email her at tshaffer@hy-vee.com.