The Healthiest Way to Make a Tuna Sandwich

by Sandi Busch

A tuna sandwich can be made from a freshly cooked tuna fillet, but when many people think of this classic meal, they envision tuna salad fixed from canned tuna and mayonnaise. Tuna makes an incredibly nutritious meal because it contains heart-healthy essential fatty acids, protein and other nutrients. But the type of dressing you use, and the toppings you add, can turn any tuna sandwich into a high-fat, high-salt nightmare.

Choose light tuna packed in water or a cooked tuna fillet. All forms of tuna provide about the same amount of protein, vitamins and minerals. However, white tuna has more calories and fat than light, and you'll get 10 times more fat if you use any canned tuna packed in oil.

Make a healthy dressing with low-fat, low-salt mayonnaise. Regular mayonnaise has four times the calories, 12 times the total fat and six times the amount of sodium as the low-fat, low-salt brands. Mix about 1 tsp. of low-fat ranch dressing in with every 3 tbsp. of mayonnaise. You'll gain a lot of flavor but no additional fat and few calories.

Pick any whole-grain bread. The healthiest bread is whole grain because it has more fiber and more essential dietary minerals. One slice of whole-wheat bread has 3.6 g of protein and 2 g of dietary fiber, compared to white bread with 1.9 g of protein and 0.6 g of dietary fiber.

Prepare healthy toppings. Just one slice of cheddar cheese adds 113 calories, 9.3 g of total fat and 29 mg of cholesterol, according to the USDA Nutrient Database. If you want to use cheese, make it a low-fat, low-salt brand. Better yet, replace cheese with sprouts, tomatoes, green peppers or thinly sliced carrots or cucumbers, which all contribute nutrition, but no fat.

Assemble the sandwich. Drain the tuna and combine it with the dressing. Spoon the tuna mixture on the bread, top with cheese and veggies, and enjoy.


  • The size of the can of tuna determines the amount of dressing and the number of servings of bread or toppings you'll need. Two 6-oz. cans of tuna need about 3 tbsp. of mayonnaise and will make about four sandwiches.

Photo Credits

  • Artem Kononenko/Demand Media

About the Author

Sandi Busch received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology, then pursued training in nursing and nutrition. She taught families to plan and prepare special diets, worked as a therapeutic support specialist, and now writes about her favorite topics – nutrition, food, families and parenting – for hospitals and trade magazines.