Nutrition · Parenting · Pregnancy

Tuna anyone?  An easy recipe your kids will love!

Tuna melt on white platter beside a bowl of tomato soup

When I was a kid, my mom used to say that fish was brain food.  I now realize that she was right! Your brain is made up of DHA. That’s docosahexaenoic acid, an omega-3 fat, that is important for the brain, nervous system, and eyes.

Fish is the best source of DHA.

Fish can also help prevent heart disease because it’s a source of EPA, eicosapentaenoic acid.  Another omega-3 fat!

If you’re planning for pregnancy, pregnant, or breastfeeding, it is recommended to limit fish high in mercury, as this substance can harm the brain of a developing fetus and a young child.

So the trick is to eat fish that is high in DHA and EPA, but low in mercury. A popular and affordable fish that is low in mercury and can be a good source of DHA is canned light tuna.

This recipe uses canned light tuna which is high in protein, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and is a source of magnesium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12.

Kids will love these tuna melts since they are tasty, simple, and a quick recipe to make.   It will also get them cooking with you in the kitchen!  As a bonus this recipe is rich in vitamin A, calcium, folacin and loaded with flavour.

Feel free to use different types of cheese, and try it with canned salmon, which is also low in mercury, for even more DHA for the brain!


8 slices bread, whole grain
4 cans tuna, light, in water, drained, unsalted
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 slices red onion, chopped
2 small dill pickles, chopped
60 mL mayonnaise, light
15 mL Dijon mustard
250 mL cheddar cheese, shredded
Butter to spread on the bread (2 ml/slice bread), unsalted
Black pepper, finely ground, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place bread on a baking sheet. Add butter to the slices of bread.
  3. Toast bread in the oven for about 10 minutes.
  4. Place tuna in large bowl.
  5. Chop celery, red onion, dill pickles; mix with tuna in bowl.
  6. Add mayonnaise and mustard. Stir.
  7. Add finely ground black pepper to taste. Stir.
  8. Add tuna mixture to the slices of bread. Try to cover the entire surface of each of the slices of bread.
  9. Grate cheese. Add grated cheese onto slices of bread. Try to cover the entire surface of all bread slices so the cheese melts evenly.
  10. Put in the oven for about 25 minutes and enjoy!

Makes 8 servings.

Fun idea: Cut your child’s tuna melt in the shape of a heart and garnish with some cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, some pieces of apple, and a glass of milk.  What a nice lunch treat! J

Have more questions about recipe ideas for healthy eating? Contact Toronto Public Health via e-chat or 416-338-7600 and speak directly with a health professional.

Leave a comment below to let us know about other recipes you would like us to share!

Nutrition Information (1 serving = 1 tuna melt = 176.5 g)
Calories: 284 calories; Protein: 28.4 g; Carbohydrates: 17.6 g; Fat: 10.5 g; Saturated Fat: 4.87 g; Cholesterol: 47.3 mg; Dietary Fibre: 2.5 g; DHA: 184 mg; EPA: 39 mg; Calcium: 157 mg; Iron: 2.5 g; Magnesium: 53.9 mg; Phosphorus: 286 mg; Potassium: 325 mg; Sodium: 389 mg; Selenium: 70.7 micrograms; Folacin: 26.5 micrograms; Vitamin A: 268.8 IU; Vitamin B12: 2.5 micrograms; Vitamin D: 3.39 IU.

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