Low Sodium Tuna Salad - Tasty, Healthy Heart Recipes (2024)

Is the high sodium content in tuna slowing you down from enjoying a meal with tuna in it? Follow the tuna preparation steps in this Low Sodium Tuna Salad recipe to reduce sodium and enjoy one of my old school classic favorites. The great thing by using this simple method is it can be applied to any meal that uses canned tuna.

Approx. 1 Cup Serving Size
Typical sodium amount824 mg
Sodium for this recipe116 mg
Calories per serving322

I’m not a big fish lover but tuna andsalmon are the exception, I could easily enjoy a mouthwatering serving ofeither every day. One of my favorite ways to enjoy fish is a low sodium tunasalad and the several different ways it can be served. All of which help youget the benefits of more fish in your diet. It can be served as a side byitself, on a sandwich, in a salad or even on a cracker as an appetizer.

Low Sodium Tuna Salad - Tasty, Healthy Heart Recipes (1)

Table of Contents


Back in my early 30’s, I worked at a job where it was not convenient to get out for lunch. And with my schedule, making lunch for the next day was not the high point of my day. But I loved tuna, I had a stash of canned tuna in my drawer and would eat a whole 12 oz. can three times a week. I would usually spread tuna on a slice of bread, cracker or Triscuit with pepper and a little square of cheese.

Even though I used tuna in water forthe lower fat content, it was 810mg of sodium total per can with additionalsodium from the crackers and cheese. All the while being unaware at the timehow much sodium each can contributed to my diet. It was an “easy” meal thattops my current day sodium level goals by far, just for a super simple lunch.


There are three main ways to reduce thesodium in your low sodium tuna salad.

  1. One is to obviously not add salt and spices containing salt. And also replacing the prepared store bought prepared mustard with a powdered ground mustard spice.
  2. Tuna constitutes the majority of sodium and can be rinsed so that it contains less than 20% of the canned tuna sodium content. I describe this more in-depth below.
  3. The second-highest sodium content ingredient is usually the store bought mayonnaise. I have a low sodium mayonnaise recipe (link) if you wish to read more about it; otherwise the basic ingredients and instructions are included in the recipe below.


While I was first preparing this recipe, I was shocked and disappointed as I was working up the nutrition label and saw the fat and calorie totals per serving. Certainly 514 calories and 59% daily fat content as originally made even with low sodium mayo, for a supposedly healthy meal was flabbergasting.

Low Sodium Tuna Salad - Tasty, Healthy Heart Recipes (2)

So I replaced half the mayo with Greek yogurt. You still get the mayo twang with less than half the fat at 30% and a more reasonable 322 calories. And it still tastes great! A teaspoon or two of apple cider vinegar may help if you’re still missing a bit of twang.

You could also replace all the mayo and make a very low fat version with plain Greek yogurt. I have not explored that option yet as I enjoy it with my homemade mayonnaise that gives more the “twang” I’m looking for.


As you probably know, tuna lives innaturally salty sea water, which means it will have a naturally higher sodiumcontent infused in its flesh than say a land based meat source. There is simplygoing to be a higher concentration of sodium in salt water fish. However, youcan purchase a “no salt added” canned or pouch variety to lower sodium intaketo a minimum.

A few tuna manufacturers have now come out with canned tuna without adding any extra salt for “preservation”. I mean really, how much salt do you need for canned foods? Just look for the ones that are labeled “no salt added”. The famous brand is about 52 mg per 3 ounces. Not bad….

But unfortunately all of them appear tobe in the small or 5 oz. can and I have not seen the “no salt added” varietyavailable in my regular local stores at all. Possibly you would have to orderit online to get it.

Being that I have not seen it in thestores locally I have chosen to do an easy prep at home to reduce the sodium.


Canned tuna in water has 270 mg ofsodium per 3 servings in a 12 oz. can or 810 mg total per can.

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Tuna canned in oil has even more at 340mg of sodium per serving, totaling over 840 milligrams of sodium per 12 oz.can. Why have more sodium and fat from oil in your diet? Who needs it? Not me!

But with some simple prep that hardlytakes longer than to drain a can of tuna, you can reduce the majority of sodiumof a standard tuna can. Here is how…


A study published in the “Journal ofthe American Dietetic Association” measured the sodium content in tuna afterrinsing. Researchers found that rinsing canned tuna for three minutes removesup to 80 percent of the sodium. When rinsed, instead of getting 270 mg ofsodium from 3 ounces of regular canned-in-water tuna, you’ll only get around 54milligrams, or 162 mg for the whole can. If you can find and rinse the “no saltadded” variety, you can reduce the sodium to just 20 mg per 3 ounces.

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To rinse the tuna, I use a fine meshstrainer and a bowl that it fits into nicely as shown in the picture. Just letthe water run over to fill up the bowl and lightly spill over. Gently give thetuna a stir a couple times when the bowl is filled with water to loosen up thetuna. It does not need to be blasted with high pressure water!

I let this run and then drain whilecutting up and measuring out the other ingredients. The timing is almostperfect. I was worried that the tuna would stick in the mesh but it didn’t atall. Just turn the strainer over and give it a good whack into your mixing bowland you are all set to mix!


I really like to add sweet picklerelish to my low sodium tuna salad. The one I use is 65 mg sodium pertablespoon, 130 mg total for the entire recipe. That’s almost half the standardrelish and only adds about 32 mg per serving. I find that is enough relish toenhance the taste I am looking for and since I am generally well within mysodium budget – I add it in.

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You may leave it out if you want a really low sodium 84 mg version. It’s all up to your sodium budget and taste. I have listed both nutritional labels with and without pickles.

If you use store bought pickles,compare labels carefully and find the lowest sodium product available. I say “carefully”because I have found the labels, I hate to say deceptive, but not very easy tocompare in serving size and sodium level. One listed a serving size as 2/3 of apickle! Huh?

I am looking forward to trying somechopped avocado in my next batch of tuna salad and leaving the pickles out.

[su_box title=”A few of my other great dishes to enjoy!” box_color=”#a92224″]

  • Low Sodium Mayonnaise
  • Easy Low Sodium Pita Bread
  • Low Sodium White Sandwich Bread


As always, please let me know how you like this recipe in the comments! I get motivated when I hear from you and am interested to learn about how you liked and served your Low Sodium Tuna Salad. And please leave a comment or rating and share any tips you might have.

Low Sodium Tuna Salad - Tasty, Healthy Heart Recipes (6)

Low Sodium Tuna Salad

Written by: Bill

May 12, 2020

This easy low sodium tuna salad recipeis one of my favorite go-to lunches. It's perfect for sandwiches, salad or onlow sodium crackers!

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Prep Time 20 minutes mins

Total Time 20 minutes mins

Course Appetizer, Lunch, Salad

Cuisine American

Servings 4

Calories 270 kcal


Ingredients for the low sodium Tuna Salad

  • 1 12 oz white flaked tuna in water drained (- Rinsed in water )
  • 2 stalk celery finely diced
  • 2 sweet pickle relish (optional) (- Lowest sodium you can find or omit.)
  • 1 onion chopped (- I like to use red onion)
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise low sodium (- See notes)
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (- See notes)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 or 2 tsp smoky paprika (to taste)
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper

Ingredients for the Mayonnaise

  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • 1 cup extra light olive oil
  • 1 tsp Mustard Seed yellow ground
  • 1 tbsp distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp Pepper Red Or Cayenne


Instructions for the Tuna Salad

  • In a fine mesh strainer immersed almost fully in a bowl that nicely accepts the strainer, rinse and drain the tuna well.

  • Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. You can use right away but always nice to let the ingredients mingle for a while.

  • Use in sandwiches, salad, cracker appetizers or a tuna pasta.

Instructions for the mayonnaise

  • Place all ingredients in order listed in a narrow jar or beaker just wide enough to fit your stick blender.

  • Place stick blender in the bottom of the jar and turn on high. A vortex will form and pull the oil down and the oil will begin to thicken and turn to the typical off-white.

  • Slowly move the blender head slowly up and down a little higher each time, until all the oil is incorporated and the mayo is thick and no drizzles of oil is visible. The whole blend should take no longer than 1 minute.

  • Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or the expiration date on the eggs.


See my Low Sodium Mayonnaise post for more details about making mayo.

Use the Greek yogurt for a lower fat tuna salad version. Add more yogurt for a creamier taste if desired.

Use 2/3 – 3/4 cup low sodium mayo and no yogurt if you are not so worried about fat.

I use, own and recommend these products and ingredients used in this recipe.

Amazon Links (Details>>)


Calories: 270kcal (14%)

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Details »


Did you enjoy this recipe?Leave a comment and let me know how it was!

With Pickle

Low Sodium Tuna Salad - Tasty, Healthy Heart Recipes (8)

No Pickle

Low Sodium Tuna Salad - Tasty, Healthy Heart Recipes (9)

Nutrition InformationThe information shown is provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be substituted for a doctor’s or nutritionist’s advice. Please understand that not everyone’s sodium requirements are the same, therefore some recipes may be higher than you’re allowed. Always consult with your doctor for your recommended daily sodium allowance.

Similar low sodium recipes you should try!

  • Low Sodium Black Bean and Corn Salsa
  • Low Sodium Spaghetti Squash
  • Low Sodium Candied Carrots
Low Sodium Tuna Salad - Tasty, Healthy Heart Recipes (2024)


Is tuna salad good for your heart? ›

The high levels of omega-3 fatty acids in tuna fish may help to reduce the level of omega-6 fatty acids and LDL cholesterol that can accumulate inside the arteries of the heart. Studies have shown that eating more omega-3 is associated with reduced rates of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks.

Which canned tuna has the lowest sodium? ›

Safe Catch's Wild Albacore Tuna with No Salt Added. Safe Catch Wild Albacore Tuna has the lowest mercury limit of any albacore brand and is our highest omega-3 tuna! This is our lowest salt tuna with only 35mg of naturally occurring sodium per serving.

Can you eat tuna fish on a low sodium diet? ›

But you need to choose your seafood wisely, since options like shellfish and canned tuna fish are high in salt. Five oz of canned tuna has more than 300 mg of sodium, and 3 oz of frozen shrimp can have more than 400 mg. Better seafood choices include fresh tuna, salmon, halibut, and haddock.

Which salad is good for heart patient? ›

Lettuce with dark leaves are packed with nutrients. Build a base with romaine, spinach or radicchio, toss in some potassium-rich endives or red cabbage—which is loaded with phytonutrients—and you've already elevated the flavor of your salad.

What salad dressings are heart-healthy? ›

Simple balsamic vinaigrette. Balsamic vinegar is full of flavour and olive oil is full of unsaturated fats which, when consumed in moderation, are good for your heart health.

What is the safest brand of canned tuna to eat? ›

If you're concerned about limiting the amount of mercury you consume, and if you've eaten no other fish during the week, Consumer Reports says up to 12 ounces a week of Bumble Bee Chunk Light, Chicken of the Sea Chunk Light, Safe Catch Wild Elite, and StarKist Chunk Light tunas are the safer choices among the products ...

Which is healthier albacore or chunk light tuna? ›

Canned tuna is healthy: all types of tuna are high in protein and feature omega-3 fatty acids, yet lower in saturated fat and calories. However, albacore does have slightly more fat and calories than light tuna such as skipjack or yellowfin—which means it has more omega-3 fatty acids.

What are the best low sodium foods? ›

Any fresh fruits, such as apples, berries, oranges, mangoes, and bananas. Any fresh vegetables, such as broccoli, sweet potatoes, beets, okra, spinach, peppers, carrots, and edamame. Frozen vegetables without added butter or sauce.

What can I use instead of mayo in tuna? ›

12 Delicious Substitutes For Mayo In Your Tuna Salad
  1. Greek yogurt. Maslova Valentina/Shutterstock. ...
  2. Avocado. Irina Rostokina/Shutterstock. ...
  3. Hummus. Tempura/Getty Images. ...
  4. Olive oil. Maryia_K/Shutterstock. ...
  5. Dijon mustard. Stepanek Photography/Shutterstock. ...
  6. Ranch dressing. RebeccaDLev/Shutterstock. ...
  7. Sour cream. ...
  8. Cottage cheese.
Jan 24, 2024

What can I mix with a can of tuna? ›

To keep it hot, mix a can into pasta sauce as you heat it; we love tuna in a classic tomato sauce, but you can also go simple with a no-cook sauce, combing tuna with olive oil, capers, olives, and herbs for a salsa verde approach. Or you can stir it into mac-and-cheese for a creamy, tuna casserole.

How can I flush sodium out of my system fast? ›

“The very best thing to do is sweat,” says registered dietitian Julia Zumpano, RD, LD. “The body naturally removes sodium through sweat, tears and urine.” To even out your sodium level, get sweaty by exercising or sitting in a sauna. Drink plenty of fluids and cut out salt and salty foods right away.

What is the appropriate menu for patients on a low sodium diet? ›

Low-Sodium Alternatives
  • Any fresh or frozen beef, lamb, pork, poultry and fish.
  • Eggs and egg substitutes.
  • Low-sodium peanut butter.
  • Dry peas and beans (not canned)
  • Low-sodium canned fish.
  • Drained, water or oil packed canned fish or poultry.

How do you make low sodium food taste good? ›

Explore other flavors when you are cooking.
  1. Add a splash of lemon and other citrus fruits, or wine, to soups and other dishes. ...
  2. Avoid onion or garlic salt. ...
  3. Try different types of pepper, including black, white, green, and red.
  4. Experiment with vinegars (white and red wine, rice wine, balsamic, and others).
Jun 22, 2022

Is tuna with mayo heart-healthy? ›

Tuna with Mayonnaise

Therefore, the more regular mayonnaise you add to your tuna salad the higher in calories it will be. The good news is that the majority of fat found in mayonnaise is from heart-healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats -- including omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

Is mayonnaise heart-healthy? ›

Is Mayonnaise Healthy? Mayonnaise has health promoting properties such as the nutrients vitamin E, which improves heart health, and vitamin K, which is important for blood clotting. 2 It can also be made with healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids which keep your brain, heart, and skin healthy.

Can you eat mayonnaise on a heart-healthy diet? ›

Canola oil, avocado oil and olive oil mayonnaise are available as “healthier” options. Both are higher in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, but the calories are the same. Additionally, olive oil-based versions tend to combine olive oil with other vegetable oils so that the flavor isn't too overpowering.

Is tuna salad good for blood pressure? ›

A trial found that eating fatty fish each day for 16 weeks lowered SBP by 6 mm Hg. Tuna, salmon, herring, and trout are examples of fatty fish. Bonus: align more closely with DASH by making your tuna salad with yogurt instead of mayo, and serving it on whole-grain instead of white bread.

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