This waldorf inspired macro friendly chicken salad recipe is the perfect high protein meal prep option if you are paying attention to your nutrition for body composition changes. Even if you’re just here looking for a healthy chicken salad recipe without focusing on your macronutrient needs – this one’s for you too! 🙂
Macro friendly chicken salad
Chicken salad is a great option for meal prepping. The longer is sits, the better it gets! Am I right?? It’s basically a meal prep miracle for those that aren’t a big fan of leftovers. You also don’t need to heat it up, so it’s a great recipe to have on hand for a quick work lunch or a light dish to prepare on hot summer days.
Why do I consider this chicken salad macro friendly? Well, it mainly comes from lowering the total amount of fat and it also serves as an excellent source of lean protein. Most classic chicken salad recipes use quite a bit of mayonnaise as a main ingredient. While there is nothing wrong with mayo, it can be a dense source of calories from fat. Therefore it can start to rack up in calories pretty quickly.
Now…there’s a lot of lighter alternatives to traditional mayo-based chicken salad out there that jump straight to fat-free plain greek yogurt. I’ve used non-fat greek yogurt in place of mayo in the past, but I’ve found that the overly tart and chalky taste of fat-free greek yogurt just isn’t my favorite mayo replacement in most recipes.
My solution: whole milk greek yogurt
I’ve found that whole milk greek yogurt is the BEST replacement for mayo when trying to reduce the calories from fat in a recipe. I use it all the time to create creamy sauces and dressings to jazz up the flavor of my meals…without all of the unnecessary calories!
While whole milk greek yogurt does have more fat and calories than 0% or fat free greek yogurt, it is significantly lower in fat and calories compared to traditional mayo. And unlike fat free greek yogurt…its still creamy! Check it out –
A single cup of mayonnaise contains about 160g of fat and about 1500 calories (um…ok wow!). But a single cup of creamy full-fat greek yogurt contains around 10g of fat and under 300 calories. You could reduce the calories from fat by using a light mayonnaise, but let’s not forget the ~20g of protein that we get from using plain greek yogurt! That’s a pretty significant improvement if ya ask me. 🙂
*For a dairy-free option, you could swap out the greek yogurt for mashed avocado (with some lemon juice to preserve the color). While mashed avocado is also an additional source of fat and calories, it is still significantly less than a cup of mayo…and will have additional vitamins, minerals, and fiber!
Healthy and easy chicken salad recipe
This chicken salad recipe is inspired by the classic waldorf salad made with celery, fruit, and chopped nuts – the perfect balance of sweet and savory. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl for a healthy chicken salad perfect for meal prep!
I prefer to cook my own simple shredded chicken in this recipe using 3 chicken breasts in a slow cooker, instant pot, or pressure cooker. You could also use leftover rotisserie chicken, leftover grilled chicken, or even canned chicken (drained) for a more budget-friendly option. My shredded chicken usually comes out to ~5 cups used in this recipe.
Fresh veggies add additional texture, flavor, and nutrients. My favorite is traditional sliced celery as well as onion (red onion, yellow onion, or green onion). I also love to throw in some finely diced radish as well!
I use either sliced red grapes or some chopped apples. You could even throw in some dried fruit instead of fresh fruit (like cranberries, cherries, or raisins) if you have some on hand that you need to get rid of!
Last, sprinkle in sliced almonds, walnuts, or pecans for some additional texture, crunch, and a little bit of healthy fat!
other flavor combos
- Buffalo chicken salad? Curry chicken salad? Southwest chicken salad? Dill chicken salad?
- Create your own spin on a healthy chicken salad with this base recipe:
- 5 cups of cooked chicken
- 1 cup of whole milk plain greek yogurt or mashed avocado
- 1 tsp of salt + 1 tsp of pepper.
- Next, add in your flavor combinations and use a variety of flavors and textures
- Veggies: carrots, celery, onions, etc
- Beans, nuts, seeds: chickpeas, walnuts, sunflower seeds, etc
- Fresh herbs: fresh dill, fresh parsley, fresh chives, etc
- Dried herbs or seasoning blends: garlic powder, curry seasoning, ranch seasoning, or taco seasoning
- Other pops of flavor: dijon mustard, lemon juice, buffalo sauce, etc
Macro friendly chicken salad serving suggestions
If following my meal structure, adding a whole grain or starchy veggie would transform this delicious chicken salad into a balanced meal suitable for athletes or active individuals. I suggest serving in a whole wheat pita, on whole grain bread, with crackers, or even on a croissant!
One of my favorite ways to use this recipe is in a protein box for lunch. I add some chicken salad, some crackers, and a clementine to an airtight container and store in the fridge in these three compartment containers for the perfect make-ahead lunch.
Of course you could keep this as a low carb chicken salad meal option or a high protein snack. Just serve in a lettuce wrap, over a bed of mixed greens, or with sliced red bell peppers for a pop of color!
Greek Yogurt Chicken SaladPrint Recipe
Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken
- 1.5 lb chicken breast 3 pieces
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup water if needed to fully submerge chicken
Greek Yogurt Mix
- 1 cup whole milk plain greek yogurt *for dairy-free, use mashed avocado with a bit of lemon juice
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1.5 cup chopped celery
- 0.5 cup finely chopped radish *optional
- 0.25 cup onion red, white, or green
- 2 cups red grapes, sliced or chopped apple or 1 cup dried fruit
- 1 cup sliced almonds or pecans or walnuts
Pressure Cooker Shredded Chicken
- Add 3 pieces of chicken breast + broth to slow cookerIf not fully submerged in broth…add additional water to cover
- Cook on low for 6-8hr (or on high for 3-4hr)
- Remove from juices & roughly shred*I highly suggest NOT over shredding or using a hand mixer/stand mixer for this recipe. I find it's best to leave some chunks. They'll break up further when you combine it with the greek yogurt mixture.
- Set chicken aside and allow to cool
Prepare Chicken Salad
- In a large bowl, combine greek yogurt, salt, pepper
- Add chopped celery, onion, radish (optional), fruit, and chopped nuts
- Add shredded chicken and mix until combined
- Store in airtight container in fridge