Spring Chicken Salad

Being a professional pencil pusher, by the time lunch comes I’m super hungry and really needing a pick me up from the lack of occupational inspiration.  I want a filling, satisfying meal but I don’t want something that’s going to weigh me down and make me tired and useless for the rest of the workday.  I also try to eat well during the week so I can splurge a bit on the weekends without completely ruining my fitness routine.  So by some means of random inspiration I devised this incredibly delicious, filling and even refreshing chicken salad that’s on the light and healthy side that gives me that very necessary energy boost to last until 5 p.m. It has everything: sweet, salty, savory, crunchy, soft, and creamy!  Everything I used was organic, but you can use what you want. And the good thing about this is you can make it at the beginning of the week and have it for lunch every day!  I love meal planning, especially when it’s this easy!

What You’ll Need

  • 1 cup plain fat-free European-style yogurt, I used Straus organic (but if you can get your hands on Icelandic skyr do it! The texture will be thicker but it is also slightly more beneficial for you.)
  • 1 ripe avocado, small
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced thin
  • 1 large or 2 small celery stalks, diced small
  • 3/4 cup carrots, julienned (I bought a pre-cut bag at the store)
  • 1/2 cup reduced sugar craisins
  • 1/2 cup seedless white grapes, quartered (I happened to have monster grapes, if they are small, just halve them)
  • 1/2 Fuji apple, diced small
  • 1/2 cup slivered raw almonds
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked, cooled and cubed small (lemon rosemary recipe below)
  • Salt, pepper, and garlic powder, to taste. I personally am light handed with these, especially salt.
  • Whole-grain bread. I use Ezekiel bread with flax.  It can be found in most grocery stores in the frozen or refrigerated sections.

Process

1. Preheat oven to 350.  Season chicken breasts with salt, pepper, fresh rosemary chopped roughly, and fresh squeezed lemon juice.  Bake covered for 45-50 minutes depending on the size of the chicken breasts.  Set aside to cool and let the meat rest to retain juices.  Once it has completely cooled, cut into small cubes. Note: Can be done in advance and refrigerated, which makes it easier to cut.

2. Chop the green onions, celery, grapes, and apple. Set aside.

3. In a mixing bowl beat together the yogurt and avocado.  Season with the salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  This is so much better than using mayonnaise or anything like that, and the avocado has good fats and tastes delicious

4. Add all of the ingredients into the mixing bowl with the avocado/yogurt mixture and stir well, until everything is evenly coated and distributed.

5. Toast one slice of bread. I like to do open face sandwiches so I am filling up on the good stuff and not on bread.  Although I use healthier breads, it is still bread.

6. Optional: Top the bread with a piece of butter lettuce and sliced tomato.

7. Spoon about 3-4 generous spoonfuls of the chicken salad onto your toasted bread

Makes 6-8 servings, depending upon how big your servings are!

Dig in and enjoy it! Let’s be real, it’s hard not to! It’s so surprisingly refreshing and filling.  It’s great fuel for my 5 o’clock work-outs; put good in, get good out.  I also enjoyed mine with a “dessert” of an ounce of 72% dark chocolate and a small handful of fresh pomegranate seeds, for the win! Tip: This is great for packing your lunch for work too, just keep the bread separate.

Just another helpful tidbit:  A lot of times you think you are hungry when your body is just thirsty.  Try to drink one bottle of water each lunch break with your meal.  It will keep you hydrated, full and focused for the rest of your work day, or at least until dinner time!

LM

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