Powerful proteins offer big health benefits

As consumers increasingly seek out functional foods on menus, offering superfood ingredients with claims such as high protein or antioxidants can be a way to cater to health-conscious diners.

salmon egg salad sandwich

For example, there’s no doubt that tuna and salmon are superfoods. Both proteins are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been associated with all kinds of health benefits and are also low in calories and fat. Take a look at how operators are menuing these proteins.

Appealing to consumers, increasing business

The American Heart Association recommends that Americans eat fish at least twice a week as part of a healthy diet. Almost half of consumers, however, fail to eat fish on a weekly basis because of the limited access to fresh or frozen items, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.

Eating canned tuna or canned salmon is a convenient and easy way to consume more of these nutrient-rich foods. Operators can help consumers make healthier choices by menuing sandwiches made with these versatile proteins, which can also help grow business. For instance, Technomic’s MenuMonitor reported that menuing a salmon salad sandwich can boost an operator’s per-sandwich profitability by 16%, making this a considerable area of opportunity.

Making sandwiches healthier

Despite the health benefits that seafood offers, including less sodium and higher protein than deli meats, many dishes where it’s featured are weighed down by heavy dressings, cheese and sauces. To menu healthier options without sacrificing flavor, try these tips:

  • Skip the mayo: Try hummus or a few slices of avocado instead of mayonnaise.
  • Look for fiber: Choose bread labeled “100% whole wheat” or “100% whole grain” to avoid refined carbohydrates and to keep diners feeling fuller longer.
  • Hold the cheese: Fatty, salty processed cheeses can turn a light lunch into a calorie bomb. Replace cheese with more veggies (hummus and avocado work as replacements here, too), or opt for lower-fat cheeses like Swiss or part-skim mozzarella.
  • Cut the salt: Pickles, canned olives and jarred peppers are high-sodium toppings that add up fast. Try replacing them with leafy greens, tomato slices and fresh onion for more flavor without the added salt.
  • Panini pa-no-no: Grilled sandwiches are very popular, but they’re often slathered with oil or butter to achieve their crispy texture. Simple, lightly toasted bread will do just fine.

Tuna and salmon menu ideas

For consumers who are looking for a nutrient-dense, great tasting fish, tuna and salmon are both great options. Low in saturated fat and calories, these two fish are also both high in omega-3s, with salmon being the highest. Here are a few examples of healthier sandwiches:

  • Albacore tuna with a tomato and balsamic vinaigrette, topped with baby spinach, feta cheese, cucumber, roasted red pepper and served on a multi-grain bread (at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri).
  • Grilled salmon burger with shallots, red bell pepper and dill, topped with lettuce and tomato on a whole-grain bun (at Boston’s Children’s Hospital).
  • Tuna with capers and lemon aioli, topped with shaved radishes and mixed greens and served on a ciabatta roll (at Harvard University Dining Service in Cambridge, Massachusetts).

Menuing tuna and salmon are not only a great way to ensure that diners get what they’re looking for, but it’s also a great way to boost profits, since seafood can be sold at a slightly higher price than turkey or chicken options. Additionally, these seafood sandwiches offer the opportunity to menu new and exciting flavors. For operators and diners alike, it’s a victory at lunchtime.

To learn more about the benefits of menuing tuna and salmon, sign up for Chicken of the Sea’s free CE course, Seafood Savvy, located at

This post is sponsored by Chicken of the Sea