All About Shrimp

Easy tips to make the most of this ZeroPoint food.
Published January 10, 2018

With their mild sweet flesh and succulent firm texture shrimp are a delicious new member of the WeightWatchers® Freestyle family. With a long list of uses including kebabs, curries, pasta sauces, and stews, there’s a shrimp recipe for every taste and occasion. Shrimp is readily available frozen from the grocery store or your local fishmonger (unless you live on the coast, shrimp is almost always sold previously frozen). Shrimp is sold by the count under the following sizes:

  • Small (51-60 shrimp per pound)
  • Medium (41-50 shrimp per pound)
  • Large (31-35 shrimp per pound)
  • Jumbo (21-25 shrimp per pound)
  • Colossal (15 shrimp or less per pound)

Want more great news about shrimp? A single serving of shrimp (about 30 grams) contains 6.6 grams of protein and only 0.5 grams of fat.

Sweet and spicy skewers

Grilled shrimp is undoubtedly tasty but frankly, they can be a hassle to grill (especially when they’re tiny). Thread metal or bamboo skewers through shrimp (making sure to soak bamboo skewers in cold water for at least 12 hours prior to grilling) to make the process a much easier task. For medium or large-count shrimp thread two skewers into the shrimp, this will prevent them from spinning or falling off into the flames. Try alternating shrimp with fruits and vegetables, mixing sweet and savoury flavours together such as:

  • Shrimp, pineapple, pickled and hot peppers
  • Shrimp, mushrooms, and zucchini with pesto
  • Shrimp, halloumi, watermelon, and lime juice

Experiment with spice blends

Because shrimp have such a mild flavour they make an ideal protein to try with different spice blends. Spiced shrimp can be baked, sautéed, roasted, and grilled and can be served over grains, with noodles, on top of a salad or alone with just a spritz of lemon juice. Spice combinations to try include:

  • Za’atar (a Middle Eastern spice made from sumac and sesame seeds, it has a pleasantly earthy and nutty flavour)
  • Harissa (a Maghrebi chili paste made with roasted red peppers, hot peppers and garlic, it has a smoky spicy flavour)
  • Jamaican jerk seasoning (buy store-bought or make your own)
  • Ras El Hanout (a North African spice blend containing spices such as coriander, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, peppercorn and fennel, it has a spicy yet earthy flavour)

Keeping shrimp moist and firm

Shrimp’s firm texture is extremely delicate and it only takes a few minutes out of the fridge before they can begin to wilt and lose their shape. Luckily, a simple dry brine made from kosher salt and baking soda makes a world of difference when it comes to retaining the original texture of the shrimp. For every pound of shrimp use 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon of baking soda. Toss the shrimp with the dry brine in a large bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes. This simple trick works to improve the texture and water retention of the shrimp while cooking and can be completed while you prep the other ingredients for your meal.

RELATED: 0-3 SmartPoints Shrimp Recipes

Your Questions About Seafood Answered

When is fish and other seafood worth ZeroPoints and when is it not?

The following ARE ZeroPoint foods...

  • Fish, shellfish and seafood, fresh, frozen or canned, farmed or wild, raw, cooked or smoked with 0 SP sauces or spices.

Fish varieties that WILL have SmartPoints® values are...

Dried fish

  • Fish in oil, fats, or added sugars
  • “Imitation” fish products such as those made with surimi (e.g. crab sticks, fish balls, etc.)

Why is all seafood now on the ZeroPoint list? Isn’t some of it high in calories and fat?

We know most people do not get the recommended seafood intake. For simplicity's sake and to encourage members to eat more fish, we decided to include all options.

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