When it comes to packing healthy lunches for myself, I tend to stick to the same things week after week: Mason Jar Salads, my Greek Couscous Salad, and this Healthy Chicken Salad. This is so easy to make and it’s a delicious way to break up the monotony of lettuce-based salads.
Chicken salad is traditionally made with mayonnaise, which makes it thick and creamy. You probably know by now that mayo is high in fat, but oh how far mayo has come. There are so many new varieties of mayo now that are made with healthier ingredients. Traditional mayo is high in saturated fat, so I would definitely steer clear of that. New mayos are now made with healthier fats, like olive oil and avocado oil. The taste is slightly different, but I don’t even notice anymore. The best part is that you still get the thick creaminess you are looking for.
Plain Greek yogurt has become a popular substitution for mayo, which is a great way to healthify your diet. I use this trick myself for several things, but there are some instances where I just need mayo. And you know what? That’s totally okay! The mayo I use is made with avocado oil and it only has .5 grams of saturated fat, with the rest of the fats coming from healthy poly- and monounsaturated fats. Remember, our bodies need fat to function at its best. So if you were expecting a Greek yogurt-based chicken salad…surprise! Just pick your mayo wisely.
This recipe comes together so easily and quickly with just a handful of ingredients and a bowl. You will need to have cooked chicken breast on hand ready to go. The best meal prep trick I can ever give to you is to always have cooked chicken breast ready in your freezer. I buy a bulk package of chicken breasts at the grocery store, bring it home, and bake it in the oven. Once it is slightly cooled, I place the chicken in freezer bags and stick it in the freezer. I use the chicken for so many different things: to put in salads, soups, pasta dishes, casseroles, and so much more. When you have cooked chicken ready, it can save you 20-25 minutes when it comes time to actually make a recipe. If it’s a weeknight and I have to wait to put my casserole together for chicken to bake, it’s not happening.
I used a pretty small chicken breast for this recipe because it’s only one serving for myself. If you have a larger chicken breast, you can either just use a part of it or you can make a bigger batch of chicken salad.
I started by shredding the chicken with a fork. I like this better than chunks of diced chicken, but it’s up to you.
I put the shredded chicken in a bowl, and then it’s as easy as adding all of the other ingredients and mixing it all up. So in goes the mayo, lemon juice, chopped celery, dried cranberries, salt, and pepper. I usually make this the night before and store it in the fridge.
Now you can choose how you want to enjoy your chicken salad. Sometimes I put it inside of a whole wheat pita, or roll it all up in a flatbread wrap. I also like to eat it on Triscuit crackers. The combination of the creamy mayo, crunchy celery, and sweet, chewy dried cranberries will keep your taste buds hoppin.’
Add some fresh fruit and some veggies or a salad, and you have one delicious, easy, healthy lunch!