7 In Food/ Kids/ Recipes

Simple Sandwich Upgrade: The Tuna Melt

Sandwiches are an easy, go-to lunch entree, especially for kids. Quick, portable meals that are perfect for summertime. When The Recipe Redux  asked what our ideas were to upgrade the simple sandwich, we immediately thought of the classic tuna sandwich. While tuna itself is a healthy food (rich in protein, omega 3 fatty acids, B-vitamins, magnesium, potassium and iron), the typical tuna sandwich can easily turn into a fat-laden calorie bomb! This is especially true when ordering it in a restaurant. Take for example, the tuna sandwich from The Claim Jumper chain restaurant: one serving provides a shocking 1603 calories (93g fat, 123mg cholesterol, 2710mg sodium).

A modern, healthy twist on the traditional tuna melt? We replaced mayo with healthy fats and doubled the fiber with double fiber bread. Throw in two slices of low-fat cheddar cheese, and voila! Avocado Tuna Melt!

According to the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Heart Association, we should be eating fish at least twice weekly—at least 8 oz total. According to Today’s Dietitian, only 1 in 10 people meet this goal. The average American eats 3.5 to 4.3 oz per week.

Those recs increase up to 12 oz per week during pregnancy and lactation, but average intake falls to a mere 2 oz. While we recommend limiting intake of seafood to 12 oz during pregnancy for fear of excessive mercury intake, we also think we can do way better than 2 oz.

Need some encouragement? The FDA says that pregnant women who eat two seafood meals per week could provide their child with an additional 3.3 IQ points by age 9.  These healthy fish oils have been shown to lower risk of death from coronary heart disease by 36%. Additionally, fish provides important nutrients crucial to your child’s development. The omega-3’s (specifically DHA & EPA) are essential for normal brain function, optimal cognitive and vision development in kids. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend kids aged 2-8 eat 3-6oz fish per week and that kids 9 years or above consume 8-10oz per week. As far as tuna fish goes, the FDA recommends no more than 2 servings per week of canned “chunk light” tuna or no more than 1 serving per week of “solid white” (albacore) tuna. This is due to the fact that albacore is a larger fish and larger fish tend to accumulate more mercury. Therefore, choose the “chunk light” version and don’t serve too frequently to your kids. Other lower mercury fish options to remember: trout, salmon, herring, sardines, sole and anchovies.

Making tuna salad with avocado ups the heart-healthy fats content. Avocados not only contain monounsaturated fat, but they are also packed with folate, vitamins E, C and B6, potassium and fiber.

And, last but certainly not least least, doubling up the fiber also keeps your cholesterol levels in check. This healthy upgrade is full of flavor, nutrition and fiber. It was a hit with our kids and will be in the lunchbox rotation this fall. It stays fresh and flavorful packed in an insulated lunchbox with an ice pack. This tuna melt also is a great high protein swap for the standard peanut butter & jelly if your school prohibits nuts in lunches.

Avocado Mayo-Free Tuna Melt

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2


  • 1 Each Avocado
  • 1 Can 12 ounce Chunk Light Tuna Packed inwater
  • 4 Slices Whole wheat bread Double fiber if available
  • 1 Tsp Butter Or butter alternative
  • 1 Dash Garlic salt


  1. Gather your ingredients. 

  2. Cut open avocado and mash. 

  3. Drain tuna and mix thoroughly with mashed avocado. Season with garlic salt to taste. 

  4. Butter four slices of bread.  

  5. Add one slice of cheese to each slice of bread. 

  6. Take 1/2 of your mixture and spread on one slice of bread. Take remaining 1/2 and spread on another slice of bread. 
  7. Put your ingredients together in the correct order: bread (butter side down), cheese, tuna, cheese, bread ( butter side on top). Place in panini maker. (You can also use the skillet on medium heat.)
  8. Enjoy! 

Recipe Notes

You can also add a touch of lemon juice to prevent the avocado from browning. It wasn't an issue for us since we inhaled immediately after making them.

To check out other sandwich upgrade ideas, head over to……


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  • Reply
    June 28, 2018 at 9:01 pm

    What a great upgrade! Will definitely serve this to my kids!

  • Reply
    June 28, 2018 at 9:19 pm

    Great info! I need to feed my kids fish more often.

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