How Healthy Is Tuna Salad, Really?

Tuna salad is a fairly quick, simple meal to prepare for your kid's school lunch or to pack for your workday. The main ingredient is cheap and you can buy it in a can, then mix it together with any number of diced veggies and mayonnaise or another condiment of your choice.

You can take the finished product and use it to make sandwiches or as a dip for crackers or pita wedges. There is no question that preparing tuna salad can be fast and convenient, especially if your tuna salad recipe uses only basic ingredients, but is eating it also beneficial for your body? The answer is that it depends.

Canned tuna on its own provides a valuable amount of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, and it's low in fat and calories, which are clear health benefits for the food (via Healthline). Tuna also contains important minerals such as iron, zinc, and magnesium. But it does also include about 200 milligrams of sodium per serving, so that's something to bear in mind when gathering ingredients for tuna salad, according to The Healthy. Still, is tuna salad overall healthy for you?

Your tuna and ingredients can make a big difference

Keeping your tuna salad as healthy as possible requires paying attention to certain details, such as whether the tuna comes packaged in oil or water. Tuna packed in oil will generally increase the number of calories and fat compared to tuna canned in water. Healthy Eating suggests swapping out white albacore tuna for light tuna because the former contains more mercury, the exposure to large amounts of which can be harmful.

When it comes time to compile your list of tuna salad recipe ingredients, you can make it healthier based on what you decide to add or omit. A very basic tuna blended with mayo won't deliver any vitamin C boost, but mix in some diced carrots and celery and you can rectify the situation.

A recipe that avoids the higher unhealthy fat ingredients and maintains a low calorie count is one approach to ensuring a healthier tuna salad (via Taste of Home). Another way to make it healthier is to swap out mayonnaise for a substitute such as plain Greek yogurt or olive oil and red wine vinegar. In fact, Stay at Home Chef's tuna salad recipe incorporates avocado and Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise. If you just do a little homework, tuna salad can become a healthy food option to fit into your meal routine.