Canned tuna can make for very nutritious and EASY meals for toddlers and kids. Read below for how to choose tuna that’s safe for kids and for lots of easy, delicious tuna recipes for toddlers that the whole family will love too!
Tuna is a very budget-friendly protein to cook for the whole family. You’ll love these kid-friendly tuna recipe ideas!
Can toddlers eat tuna?
Tuna is high in protein, helping little muscles grow. It is also high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for healthy brain development in toddlers and kids.
At the same time, tuna is a large fish, so it contains higher amounts of mercury compared to smaller fish and seafood, such as salmon, sardines, or shrimp. Choose canned light tuna or smaller tuna varieties, such as skipjack to help reduce the amount of mercury.
Check with your pediatrician about how much tuna toddlers and kids should eat. In our house we feel comfortable serving about 2-3 servings of tuna to our 4 year old son per month, even though the FDA says we can give more (see FDA recommendations for fish servings).
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What kind of canned tuna to choose for toddlers and kids
Choose “light” or “lite” canned tuna when shopping for tuna to cook for kids. Albacore tuna contains more mercury and is not recommended for small children as much as chunk light tuna. Chunk light tuna is canned from smaller tuna fish than albacore, which means that the fish have not consumed as much mercury during their lifetime.
The good thing is all the kid-friendly recipes below call for light tuna, OR can be made interchangeably with light tuna or albacore tuna.
Tuna Recipes for Toddlers
A lot of the recipes below combine tuna with other ingredients, such as pasta, rice, potatoes, quinoa, and even veggies. Combining tuna with other ingredients is a great way to make sure your toddlers and kids get healthy nutritious tuna in their diet without going over the recommended servings of tuna per week.
Easy Tuna Nuggets for Toddlers
These tuna nuggets are made without any raw ingredients so kids can even help make them! They're fun to eat and quick and easy to make.
Tuna Potato Patties
These tuna + potato patties are just perfect for little hands to hold! They're very easy to make and super kid-friendly.
3 Ingredient Tuna Salad
Need a 5 minute lunch idea for toddlers? Make this 3-ingredient tuna salad! It couldn't be easier to mix together and is so easy for toddlers and kids to eat!
Tuna Mac and Cheese (One Pot!)
It doesn't get more kid-friendly than mac and cheese, so why not add some tuna to it to add some protein to your kid's favorite dish? If your kid doesn't mind, add some peas for extra nutrition.
Easy Tuna Pasta Salad
While casseroles can be tricky for picky kids to eat because they can't quite tell what's in their meal, this Tuna Pasta Salad with Peas and Veggies is a great way to encourage toddlers to eat lots of textures and different foods in their meal.
Even if they pick out the veggies and set them aside, it's a great way to get veggies on a toddler's plate. And if they end up eating the veggies, that's a huge win!!
Tuna & Broccoli Quinoa Patties
These tuna patties are super nutritious, thanks to high-protein tuna, fiber-rich quinoa, and nutritious broccoli. And they're perfect for little hands to hold. If your toddler doesn't like broccoli or green things in their food, try making these with cauliflower!
Easy Tuna Burgers
These tuna burgers can be air fried or baked, and make a great easy recipe for kids. Serve on a soft hamburger bun for older toddlers, or let little ones enjoy these bun-less for easier chewing and handling.
Easy and Cheap Tuna Noodle Casserole
Cheap and easy?! I'm in! This tuna noodle casserole is a great "beginner" casserole because kids will be able to recognize all the kid-friendly ingredients in the casserole: macaroni, cheese, and tuna.
Tuna Noodle Casserole with Potato Chips
Even though this tuna noodle casserole is a little more involved, it's topped with potato chips, which might get kids to try it even if they are weary about casseroles and not knowing what's inside the casserole.
Tuna Newberg With Rice
If your toddler loves rice (like mine does!!) then this Tuna Newberg is a great tuna + rice dish to try that has all kid-friendly ingredients and is filling, delicious, and kid-friendly.
A tuna melt is a great way to get toddlers to start eating sandwiches. Because they're toasty and grilled with melted cheese holding everything together, they're easier to told than other sandwiches. If you can sneak a tomato slice in there, then bonus points to you! But even a tuna melt with just cheese and tuna is a great meal for toddlers if you serve some veggies or fruits on the side.
Tuna and Veggie Fritters
These little tuna fritters are perfect for lunch boxes, and a great way to sneak some veggies and protein into your toddler.
These little tuna quiches are packed with protein and great for little hands to hold. They pack well and reheat well.
Lemony tuna spaghetti
If your toddler loves spaghetti, you can add some tuna to their spaghetti sauce! You can skip the chili flakes and reduce the cinnamon for a more mild flavor.
These tuna croquettes are another finger-food tuna recipe that is great for kids to hold and eat without getting messy.
I hope you get to try some of these kid-friendly tuna recipes and that your little ones love them!! If you found this helpful and want to save it for later, make sure to save this to Pinterest! And please share it with a friend if you know someone looking for nutritious meal ideas for their kids.