Fresh Sardines with Garlic & Tarragon

The month of March was a giant diet hiccup for me. I was sick for 2 weeks…got better…traveled to Venice, Italy (and stuffed myself silly on fried seafood, gelato and pizza!) and then the last week of the month I got sick AGAIN! So it’s safe to say I didn’t work out for a whole month and pretty much forgot about dieting.

Unfortunately, I also gained back the 10 pounds I lost in January & February.

Being sick last week really gave me some time to think about how I have been approaching my low carb diet. Honestly, the keto route has made me feel very unhealthy! My nails have becoming insanely brittle, all of the sudden I have dandruff and over all I just feel gross. I know a lot of people swear by a constant state of ketosis/high fat diet….but I think it might just not be for me!

So the hubby wanted to try a lower-carb IIFYM diet. Basically, you calculate your specific needs for calories, fats, carbs and protein and only eat that daily. I calculated a typical day for me on a high fat diet and realized I was eating over 3,000 calories per day! No wonder I wasn’t losing weight!

So according to the IIFYM Calculator, my macros are 35% fat, 25% carbs, 40% protien and about 1,800 calories per day. I have also been logging my meals on the MyFitnessPal phone app! I was really worried about eating 114 grams of carbs per day, seeing that I was used to under 20 per day! Also, 1,800 calories? That seems like NOTHING!

To my surprise, I am eating HUGE meals and feeling super satisfied! Lots of veggies, fruit, lean meats, egg whites and whole grain BREAD! I know what your thinking, bread on a low carb diet? It will never work. Well, it’s been 10 days and I have lost 7 pounds.

So it’s safe to say that I am still limiting my carbs, but adding a lot more fresh foods. I feel great!


Sardines have become a staple in our house, usually in the canned form. Recently, I found a grocery store that has them frozen and sometimes fresh! Depending on the size of your sardine, you may or may not have to bone them. I opted for the tiny frozen ones, so all I had to do was gut them.

DSC_0479The flavor of fresh sardines is less “fishy” and has a meatier texture than it’s canned version. I love it!

DSC_0480Cooking this fish is so simple. Just a little bit of oil, herbs, lemon and seasoning and pop it in the oven for about 14 minutes. My fish were small, so I didn’t have to remove the bones. Bigger sardines will have to have the spine removed, but you can stuff them!


Sardines fresh out of the oven. The garlic and lemon smell amazing!

DSC_0488 DSC_0493 DSC_0487

Sardines with Tarragon & Garlic


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh tarragon
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 pound fresh whole sardines, scaled and gutted
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Generously brush a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with oil; set aside.

  2. In a medium bowl, tarragon, garlic, zest, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Drizzle 2 tablespoons oil over mixture; stir to combine.

  3. Place sardines so they overlap slightly in prepared baking dish. Generously brush with olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle herb mixture over the fish. Bake until fish are cooked through, 18 to 20 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.

3 responses to “Fresh Sardines with Garlic & Tarragon

  1. Hi,

    If you want all of the health benefits and none of the down sides of long term low carb/ Leto diets read a book called ‘carb nite’ by John Kiefer. The if it fits your macros will work for weight loss in the short term but over a long period you will stall and it will affect your health.

    Good luck and keep up the blog it is fantastic !


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