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!
Growing up, canned tuna was always a staple in my family’s pantry. We used it for sandwiches, for salads, and sometimes even for pasta…anyone else suddenly feeling hungry?
It’s 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 as 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. It’s 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 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.
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.
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!
|Canned tuna in oil||Canned tuna in water|
|Total fat||8.08 g||0.94 g|
|Saturated fat||1.28 g||0.224 g|
|Omega-3s||DHA: 178 mg|
EPA: 66 mg
|DHA: 197 mg|
EPA: 25 mg
|Cholesterol||31 mg||36 mg|
|Sodium||396 mg||219 mg|
|Protein||26.53 g||19 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. 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.
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 tune; 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. 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 ones 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…
- 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 overload.
*Wild Planet also offers a variety of canned tuna for both albacore and skipjack.
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.
3. 365 Whole Foods Albacore Wild Tuna
Whole Food’s always has strong positioning in the sustainable space, so of course they also have a 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.
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.
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:
- 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 (the most sustainable option).
By pole and line, it means that the tuna was literally caught by one person with a pole. Trolling on the other hand uses a boat that has some poles installed in them (this method catches all kinds of creatures like turtles, birds, and sharks).
- 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, go for wild-caught.
- Avoid mercury. Canned tuna often contains mercury (which certainly isn’t good for you). When checking the nutritional information, make sure that if you buying “light” tuna because it comes from skipjack, which is lower in mercury.
*Avoid getting yellowfin tuna which is a higher mercury level fish.
- 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.
So there you have it! If you love canned tuna you don’t have to sacrifice your health or piece of mind! Just remember the 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.