Toddler Meals

3 Ingredient Tuna Salad – Cooking with Toddlers

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Tuna salad is an incredibly easy recipe to make with toddlers, and this 3-ingredient tuna salad is as easy as it gets. It uses 3 simple pantry ingredients: canned tuna, mayonnaise, and salsa. YES, that’s it! This 3-ingredient tuna salad is surprisingly so good for such a simple recipe. 

toddler hands grabbing tuna salad snacks

This recipe is inspired by my 3-ingredient chicken salad – one of my favorite no-cook lunch ideas. As soon as I realized that my son likes tuna, I started adding this easy tuna salad to the rotation of his toddler meals. 

And as soon as I saw that my son is super interested in helping me cook, I started getting him involved in the prep for this tuna salad.

3 ingredient tuna salad sandwich

Why this is a great recipe to make with toddlers

This is a great recipe to cook with toddlers because it doesn’t use any raw ingredients. Your child can stir together all the ingredients, give it a taste, and then enjoy a healthy, protein-rich snack or lunch.

toddler making tuna salad

Even if your child does not like tuna, get them involved in helping you make this salad. You never know when they’ll decide to give some foods a try and realize they like them.

For example, my son is very picky about textures and hates most mushy foods. The first time I was able to get him to eat mashed potatoes was when he was helping me make these Mashed Potato Nuggets. He started shoving forkfuls of mashed potato in his mouth just because he was in a relaxed no-pressure environment just playing with the ingredients instead of being asked to eat, like he would be at the high chair.

Ingredients for this tuna salad

The 3 simple ingredients for this tuna salad are: canned tuna, mayonnaise, and salsa. But here are a few tips for making this salad a success, as well as a few optional add-ins.

Jarred salsa can be pretty spicy for toddler palates, so make sure you use a super mild salsa or a homemade salsa / pico de gallo tomato salsa without any spice if your child can’t tolerate spice. The recipe calls for about 1/4 – 1/2 cup salsa for 3 small cans of tuna, but you can totally adjust it to taste.

bowl of tuna salad ingredients

While this recipe is pretty darn great with just these three ingredients, here are a few delicious tuna salad add-ins to try if you want some variety or want to introduce your toddler to new flavors and ingredients:

  • Salt and pepper
  • Squeeze of lemon or lime juice
  • A teaspoon or two of Dijon mustard
  • Finely diced celery
  • Diced hard-boiled egg
  • Finely diced cucumber or tomato
  • Diced scallions, parsley, or dill
  • Paprika or smoked paprika

If your toddler is anything like my son, he or she might freak out at the sight of parsley on their food (“No green! no green!”). So getting your child to play with these ingredients and stir them into the salad as they are preparing it might be a good way for them to see that the ingredients are not “scary” and are OK to try!

toddler eating cracker with tuna salad

Tuna salad as healthy toddler snack or lunch

Serve this tuna salad on crackers or as a sandwich. Add lettuce and tomatoes to the sandwich if your child eats those veggies, or skip the veggies if you have a super picky eater.

My son has always been extremely picky and nervous about trying new foods, and we’ve been working on eating bread with him for months in feeding therapy for picky eating. It took us MONTHS, but I am so excited that he is able to eat basic sandwiches now – even if it’s just tuna salad or just deli turkey. It’s still a step in the right direction!

tuna salad in a bowl

Looking for other recipes to make with your toddler?

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Do you know another mom who would love to make this with her child? Please share it with her! And don’t forget to save it for later on Pinterest:

Yield: 4 small sandwiches

3 Ingredient Tuna Salad

3 Ingredient Tuna Salad

An easy recipe to cook with toddlers: 3-Ingredient Tuna Salad. No raw ingredients, so your child can mix to their heart's content to make this delicious healthy tuna salad!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 (5-oz) cans tuna, drained
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup salsa (see notes)

Instructions

  1. Thoroughly drain the canned tuna through a colander. (Do this step yourself, open cans are so sharp!)
  2. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well. (Have your child help with this!) Serve chilled on crackers or in a sandwich.

Notes

  • If your child doesn't like spicy foods, make sure to use a really mild salsa, or a homemade salsa without spice
  • Add the salsa to taste - start with 1/4 cup and add more if you want more flavor
  • This recipe makes enough for 4 small toddler-sized sandwiches or 2 large adult sandwiches

Additional add-ins to try:

  • Salt and pepper
  • Squeeze of lemon or lime juice
  • A teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • Finely diced celery
  • Diced hard-boiled egg
  • Finely diced cucumber or tomato
  • Diced scallions, parsley, or dill
  • Paprika or smoked paprika

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 123Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 156mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 6g

The nutritional information provided is just an estimate and will vary based on the actual ingredients you use. If you are tracking nutrition for yourself or your child, check with a nutritionist, dietitian, or pediatrician about whether this recipe is right for you or your child.

 

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