Need high protein toddler meal ideas? Make these easy Tuna Nuggets! They are perfect for toddlers and kids, and super easy to make with kids!
Healthy protein for toddlers
So many parents worry about their toddler's and children's protein intake (in fact, I wrote a whole article about how much protein toddlers need). Well, this easy Tuna Nugget recipe is a great way for your kids to get more healthy protein in their diet!
Heck, even if your toddler eats just one of these tuna nuggets, they're getting a significant protein boost and healthy fish oils, which are essential for their brain development. Tuna is high in EPA and DHA essential fatty acids.
Tuna is also a great source of iron. See more high iron recipes for kids here.
Related recipe: 3 Ingredient Tuna Salad
Easy tuna nuggets
These tuna nuggets are SUPER easy to make and have just a few ingredients:
- Canned tuna
- Mayonnaise (or use vegan mayo or spread for an egg-free option)
- Lime juice (or lemon juice)
- Garlic powder
As you can see, there are no raw ingredients in this tuna nugget recipe, making it a PERFECT recipe for cooking together with your toddler! (By the way, if you prefer that your kiddo eats more salmon, then these salmon potato patties are a great easy recipe for kids!)
The ingredients are totally taste-safe if your child decides to lick their hands or try the tuna mixture straight from the bowl.
Related recipe: Air Fryer Carrot Fries
Egg-free tuna nuggets
My son has a mild allergy to eggs, so I made these tuna nuggets egg-free. I do use mayo because his egg allergy is mild, and the mayo helps bind the nuggets together so they don't fall apart while cooking.
If your child or anyone in your family has an egg allergy, just use vegan mayonnaise or spread (get it here)!
Related recipe: Mashed Potato Nuggets
Recipe for picky eaters
I am a big proponent of cooking with your kids, especially if you have picky eater kids. Here are two articles about cooking with toddlers that might be helpful:
Even if your child doesn't typically like tuna or seafood, try getting them involved in making these nuggets. Seeing the ingredients, forming the nuggets, and making these nuggets might help your child decide to eat these.
I've seen it happen with my son who refused to eat many foods until I got him involved in helping me cook those foods.
And of course, the small familiar nugget shape might convince some toddlers to give these tuna nuggets a try, when tuna salad or tuna casserole can look scary to them because they have no idea what to expect from the texture.
Related recipe: Air Fryer Carrot Fries
Variations for tuna nuggets
These easy nuggets can definitely be spruced up a bit, if you like. Feel free to add any of the following, if you prefer:
- Finely diced celery
- Finely diced bell pepper
- Smoked paprika
- A teaspoon of Dijon mustard
- Red pepper flakes (if your child likes things spicy)
- Minced fresh garlic instead of powdered garlic
- Finely diced green onion or shallot
Serve these tuna nuggets with ketchup or tartar sauce. Serve them as a snack or as part of lunch or dinner. Serve them warm, or enjoy them chilled.
However you decide to serve them, I hope you love them as much as we do!
Looking for more easy toddler recipe ideas?
- Instant Pot toddler recipes for picky eaters
- Kid friendly air fryer recipes for picky eaters
- Mashed potato nuggets
- Mini chicken quesadillas
- Mini broccoli quesadillas
- Hawaiian chicken salad
- 3-ingredient tuna salad
- Jello made with fruit juice (no artificial ingredients!)
Looking to add more veggies to your child's diet?
- Vegetable soup for picky toddlers
- Hidden vegetable recipes for toddlers
- Breakfast recipes with hidden vegetables
If you enjoyed this recipe, let me know with a comment and a star rating below. And don't forget to share it on Facebook and save it on Pinterest for later!
- 3 (5-oz) cans tuna, drained
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- 1 Tbsp mayonnaise (use egg-free vegan mayo or spread if allergic to eggs)
- 1 Tbsp chopped dill (or use finely chopped parsley or cilantro)
- 1 Tbsp lime juice (or lemon juice, about ½ lime or lemon)
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- Optional: salt and pepper, to taste
- Olive oil for cooking (1-2 Tbsp)
- Thoroughly drain the canned tuna in a colander, and press down with a spoon to remove all the excess liquid.
- In a large bowl, combine the tuna, breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, chopped dill, lime juice, and garlic powder. Break up any large chunks of tuna with a fork and mix well. Taste to see if you need to season with salt and pepper.
- Use your hands to scoop out about 1-2 tablespoons of the tuna mixture and form nuggets (press firmly when making the nuggets so they don't fall apart).
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, and cook the nuggets over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or until lightly browned. Use tongs to gently flip the tuna nuggets and cook for 2-3 minutes on the other side. Serve warm with ketchup or tartar sauce for dipping.
You can use water-packed or oil-packed canned tuna, chunk lite or albacore.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 135Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 206mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 25g
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.