Tuna, either canned or fresh, packs a nutritional punch. For example, a can of tuna contains 42 grams of protein, 14 percent of your daily allowance of iron and a considerable helping of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. If you're concerned about calories and fat, opt for water-packed tuna in place of the oil-packed types. Getting more tuna in your diet can be easy, if you pack it for your lunches.
While the traditional tuna salad sandwich is always an option, you can branch out to make your lunches healthier and more exciting. Try mixing some white beans, artichoke hearts, olives, cherry tomatoes and scallions into your tuna for an exciting flavor combination. In place of mayonnaise, add a bit more flavor by using a combination of olive oil and lemon juice. For a completely different tuna sandwich, make some tuna burgers the night before. Breadcrumbs, celery, Old Bay seasoning and onion give tuna burgers a nice texture and flavor.
In you're not in the mood for bread, use tortillas or lettuce leaves to create tuna salad wraps. Add some vegetables like red onion and carrots for a bit of crunch, or opt for an avocado for a creamier texture.
A salade niçoise makes a great tuna-based lunch. Throw some tuna, green beans, hard-boiled eggs, potatoes, olives, onion, tomatoes and anchovies over a bed of mixed greens for a balanced meal. You don't need to feel confined to these ingredients either. For a change, try adding some chickpeas or white beans, artichoke hearts, red pepper or green onions to your tuna salad for a different combination of flavors.
Tuna pairs well with pasta, and you can easily make tuna and pasta dishes the night before. If you have access to a microwave at your work, you can take leftover tuna noodle casserole for lunch. You could also try whole-wheat spaghetti or penne mixed with tuna, sautéed tomatoes, garlic and basil. Sprinkle your dish with a bit of Parmesan and red pepper flakes for some additional flavor. If you don't have access to a microwave, you can take a cold tuna pasta salad mixed with tomatoes, celery and either green peas or broccoli. Serve it over mixed greens with a balsamic vinaigrette.
While tuna is generally a healthy food choice, you need to handle it carefully to prevent food-borne illness. When using canned tuna, refrigerate the tuna once the can has been opened, and use the tuna within two days. If you are pregnant, nursing or serving food to a young child, be aware of the potential dangers from mercury. The FDA recommends consuming 12 ounces or less of canned light tuna each week. If you're using albacore tuna, you should only consume 6 ounces per week to prevent exposure to hazardous mercury levels.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images