How To Pick The Best Canned Tuna At The Store

Love tuna but worried about hurting your health and the planet? This guide shows you how find the Best Canned Tuna brands that are sustainably sourced AND safe for you to enjoy. Learn what to look for and what to avoid!

How To Pick The Best Canned Tuna At The Store

Growing up, canned tuna was always a staple in my family’s pantry. We enjoyed tuna sandwiches, tuna salads, tuna on a cracker as a snack and sometimes even tuna in our pasta dishes…anyone else suddenly feeling hungry?

Its popularity is likely due to the fact that canned tuna is the perfect protein, conveniently ready to eat (especially when you haven’t had the time to refill your fridge). If you’ve read my post on High Protein Snacks then you already know how much I recommend canned tuna!

But of course, not all tuna’s are canned equally. There’s been greater coverage on the negative health effects of eating too much high-mercury fish. As well, there is the negative environmental impact of overfishing and fish farms. If a bit discouraging, it also means the world is waking up AND creating healthier options. Tuna sustainability is a good thing!

That’s why I created this blog post. To feel confident about my purchases, to know that something I enjoy isn’t hurting my health, both with high levels of mercury and in other ways. And so you can easily find and share this information with your friends! Ready to learn all about the best brands of canned tuna available today? Let’s dive in and go over the ins and outs of cans of tuna.

Is Canned Tuna Healthy?

If you’re eating the right one, canned tuna is very healthy…and with appealing benefits! It’s inexpensive, low in calories, high in protein and keeps you full. And if you are trying to lose weight, canned tuna makes it easy! It’s also high in omega-3 fatty acids which are good for your heart, eyes and brain.

How To Pick The Best Canned Tuna At The Store

Should I Buy Tuna Packed In Water Or Oil?

I mentioned earlier that there are various types of canned tuna. But did you know that the liquid it’s submerged in can affect its nutritional content? Well, now you do!

To give you a better understanding here’s a side-by-side comparison of 100g of tuna in oil vs water.

Canned tuna in oilCanned tuna in water
Total fat8.08 g0.94 g
Saturated fat1.28 g0.224 g
Omega-3sDHA: 178 mg
EPA: 66 mg
DHA: 197 mg
EPA: 25 mg
Cholesterol31 mg 36 mg
Sodium396 mg 219 mg
Protein26.53 g19 g

So as you can see from a nutrition perspective, canned tuna in water has HALF the calories of tuna marinated in oil. It also has less sodium content. I often look for water-packed tuna. But if you want more flavor and protein in your diet…canned tuna in oil has a wide range of options that you can choose from.

You can buy tuna in olive oil, vegetable oil or soy oil, for instance. Giving flavor and an easy to mix texture, oil-packed tunas are the fave choice for many. You’ve got your breakdown above, such as grams of protein and sodium in mg. It’s a personal choice, really.

How To Pick The Best Canned Tuna At The Store

What Color Should My Canned Tuna Be?

Good quality canned tuna ranges in color from pink to white to beige, and even slightly gray. This depends largely on the two most commonly processed types of tuna; canned white or canned light.

Canned light tuna is made from smaller skipjack, tongol and sometimes yellowfin tuna. The color of this tuna is dark pink and may also contain two-tone colors of yellow and red.

In contrast, canned white tuna (also known as Albacore tuna) has the lightest color across tuna species. When albacore tuna is processed, you’ll see a range from light pink to white (and even pearly beige). The specific color depends on the size, age, and fat content of the albacores.

Does Pouched Tuna Taste Better Than Canned?

I’ve tried both and for me, it all comes down to your consistency preference. With canned tuna, you’ll usually get larger pieces due to the sturdy and solid packaging (for example, chunk light tuna). This is somewhat absent for pouched tuna. Without the same solid support, you’ll get smaller and mushier pieces from a pouch.

While I’ve had pouched tuna that tasted more flavorful, this was usually due to added broth or spices. So personally, I go for the canned brands because they look more like fish meat and I like to do the seasoning myself.

Which Brand Of Canned Tuna Is The Healthiest?

Before you head to the store with no game plan, take note of these healthy canned tuna brands that you won’t regret adding to your cart! My recommended sustainable brands for canned tuna fish are as follows…

How To Pick The Best Canned Tuna At The Store
  1. Wild Planet Albacore Wild Tuna

    At the top of Green Peace’s list (and mine!) is the Wild Planet canned tuna. This really is one of my favorite sustainable brands ever. Rest assured because they have all their products checked by a third-party mercury testing facility so you don’t have to worry about mercury levels overload.

    *Wild Planet also offers a variety of canned tuna for both albacore and skipjack.
How To Pick The Best Canned Tuna At The Store

2. American Tuna

If you’re looking for a sustainable brand of canned tuna that also supports local fishing communities, this one is perfect for you! American Tuna offers various flavors like brick-smoked, and jalapeño for those who want to spice it up.

Packed only in natural juices and sea salt, you’ll get that fresh tuna flavor from this option.

How To Pick The Best Canned Tuna At The Store

3. 365 Whole Foods Albacore Wild Tuna

Whole Foods always has strong positioning in the sustainable space, so of course they also have safely sourced canned tuna. What I really love about this one is that is a great source of protein but also low in sodium…which isn’t an easy combo to find in canned tunas.

*Additionally 365 WF Albacore Wild Tuna is 100% pole and line caught tuna and a certified sustainable seafood.

How To Pick The Best Canned Tuna At The Store

4. Sea Tales Solid White Albacore Tuna

If you can’t stand that fishy taste, this traditionally caught fish is your best pick.  Sea Tales makes it a point to use high quality tuna, and people most often highly review the taste of this brand.

*I’m one of these people! You can really taste the pure, soft taste of the albacore with every single bite. 

How To Pick The Best Canned Tuna At The Store

5. Pole and Line Albacore Tuna:

Cutting back on sodium plus enjoying your canned tuna is definitely possible with this no-salt-added tuna. This MSC certified brand uses sustainable, traceable, 3rd part audited, and tested safe fishing methods for all their products.

What Should I Look For When Buying Canned Tuna?

Regardless of your preferred brand, here’s what you really should keep in mind when buying canned Tuna:

  1. Check how it is sourced. The best canned tuna is an amazing source of protein. It is PACKED with nutrients. But sometimes the way they are sourced is harmful to the environment. When you buy tuna, make sure that you check if they are caught by pole and line fishing (sustainable fishing practices).

    By pole and line, it means that the tuna was literally caught by one person with a pole. Troll-caught tuna, on the other hand, uses a boat that has some poles installed in them (this long lines method catches all kinds of creatures like turtles, birds, and sharks). I also look for dolphin-safe brands where I’m assured no dolphins were harmed in the fishing method.
  2. Choose wild-caught. Wild-caught tuna are caught in their natural habitat, the ocean! Meanwhile, farm-raised tuna are harvested in a controlled environment. Go for fish that doesn’t have any questionable modifications, meaning go for wild-caught.
  3. The FDA recommends we avoid mercury. Read the ingredient lists on those cans! Canned tuna often contains mercury (which certainly isn’t good for you). When checking the nutrition labels, make sure that you’re buying “light” tuna because it comes from skipjack tuna, which is lower in mercury.

    *Avoid getting yellowfin tuna which is a higher mercury level fish.
  4. Check the packaging: As a rule of thumb while shopping for anything canned, I go for BPA-free ones. BPA means bisphenol A and is a harmful industrial chemical.

    *Studies show that BPA is linked to cancer development and progression.
Healthy Tuna Noodle Casserole

So there you have it! If you love canned tuna you don’t have to sacrifice your health or piece of mind! Just remember to check these details before checking them out of the grocery. You can also try out this Healthy Tuna Noodle Casserole dish I made. Highly recommend!

This post contains affiliate links for products I use regularly and highly recommend.

Lacey Baier

Hey there! I’m Lacey Baier and I’d like to welcome you! I’m a healthy lifestyle influencer and the creator of this clean-eating blog and YouTube channel, as well as cleanish, my clean-eating supplement brand. My recipes have been published on Food Network, Good Morning America, FoxNews, Tastemade, Fitness Magazine, and much more. I live in Austin, Texas with my husband and four kiddos. Let’s get started!

Recent Posts