When it comes to seafood, tuna is the third most frequently consumed product in the U.S after shrimp and salmon. We eat about 2.2 pounds of tuna a year per person. That’s a lot of fish! Of the tuna eaters, 83 percent eat it at lunch and it most commonly is found in sandwiches. We also put it into salads and casseroles.

Canned tuna is available in either chunks or solid and can be packaged in water, oil, or broth. Most of us purchase chunk, light tuna in water. You can also find canned tuna that is marinated and flavored. While higher in fat, it makes a convenient ready-to-eat meal or snack that requires no refrigeration so you can take it on-the-go or in keep it in your desk at work.

Fresh tuna is another option you may want to try. Because it is not processed, it will have less sodium and retains more omega-3 fatty acids than canned. Purchase yellowfin or albacore tuna and avoid bluefin tuna. Bluefin is over-fished and is an endangered species.

3 Ounce Serving Calories Protein (g) Fat (g) Sodium (mg)
Canned, light, water pack 90 20 1 375
Canned, light, water pack, unsalted 100 22 1 42
Pouch, albacore 105 20 2 213
Fresh, yellowfin, broiled 120 25 1 40
Canned, albacore, oil pack 140 24 5 501
Canned, light, oil pack 170 18 10 377
Canned, marinated 180 18 12 350


Eating tuna is a healthy choice for any meal. It is a high-quality protein, and low in fat and calories. It is also high in essential omega-3 fatty acids which can help lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, and lower the risk of certain types of stroke.

The FDA and the American Heart Association recommend eating 2 meals a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are low in mercury. To find out which fish and seafood are your best choices check out the Healthy Fish Guide from the Washington State Department of Health.

Eat Smarter…..
Vicki Bovee, MS, RDN, LD


American Heart Association, The American Heart Association’s Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations, http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/The-American-Heart-Associations-Diet-and-Lifestyle-Recommendations_UCM_305855_Article.jsp#.WZtHFellCUk

Greenpeace, If You Eat Tuna You Should Know These Five Fish,  http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/eat-tuna-know-fish/

National Fisheries Institute, Tuna Facts, https://www.aboutseafood.com/tuna-council-3/tuna-facts/