I’m letting my pregnancy cravings guide the way…
I hope you don’t mind. Out of the many things this pregnancy has been good for, cravings for old, almost forgotten recipes has been one of my favorites. This Protein-Packed Healthy Chicken Waldorf Salad is one such out-of-rotation recipe that I’m so glad I remembered I had in my back pocket.
Being the balanced foodie that I am, when I first found out I was pregnant, I wanted to be sure to keep my diet as in-check as possible (keeping the pregnancy weight gain in between a healthy 25-35 pounds) while still allowing myself to succumb to the nearly inevitable cravings whenever they hit. One of the best tips I received from my doctor was to be sure to get some sort of protein in with every little meal or snack I ate.
I’ve tried really hard to achieve this but, especially working from home, it’s pretty easy to run out of “healthy” protein-packed snacks over the course of a day. With cold cuts out of the question (in less I feel like microwaving them to make them “safe” and subsequently being forced to eat warm lunch meat if I need a snack ASAP), I found myself turning to cheese and peanut butter as my main sources of protein during the day.
After even getting sick of these things at times (which is quite the feat for a peanut butter and cheese lover like me!) I started racking my brain for other quick-and-easy protein-filled snacks that I could just grab out of the refrigerator at a moment’s notice. It was then that I remembered this Protein-Packed Healthy Chicken Waldorf Salad that I made ALL the time when I first moved back from Hawaii, and I knew it was just the thing I was looking for.
If you’ve been following along with the blog for a while (or if you’ve just happened to view my most popular post on Pinterest for Spicy Poke Bowls), then you’ll know that I used to live in Hawaii. What you may not know is that, while I lived there, I actually worked as a Line Cook/Pastry Assistant in a cute little French bistro for a period of a few months. While working there, one of my primary jobs was to come up with snacks/dishes/baked goods that did not require any cooking that they could serve out of their deli case in the “grab-and-go” section.
You can probably guess where this is going. One of my go-to recipes for this deli case was a Chicken Waldorf Salad (which was a huge hit, I might add) and I made it more times than you can count on both hands in the few months I worked there. So much that the recipe became pretty second nature to me!
When I returned home, and was back to cooking for just myself and my loved ones, I did what I love to do with typically Mayonnaise-laden dishes like the Chicken Waldorf Salad, and made a “healthified” version that I could enjoy whenever I wanted, without the guilt.
Just like my favorite Crunchy Pea Salad with Prosciutto, the secret to lightening this Protein-Packed Healthy Chicken Waldorf Salad up is subbing out the mayo for Greek yogurt. Sometimes (as with the Pea Salad) I like to keep in just a little bit of mayo for the creamy, savory flavor, but since most Chicken Waldorf Salad recipes call for lemon juice anyhow, I felt like the mayonnaise really wasn’t needed at all. And I was right! Adding the Greek yogurt also means that this salad is even MORE loaded with healthy protein, which is just what this hungry preggo mama needs.
Plus, the requisite chicken, walnuts, celery, apples and grapes are all full of healthy nutrients that are great for anyone, not just those of us who are expecting.
Aside from the dressing substitute, the only other little touch that really makes this Protein-Packed Healthy Chicken Waldorf Salad stand out from the rest is a pinch of ground cinnamon and nutmeg. Don’t skip this! The spices round out the dish so nicely, it’s really a wonder why more people haven’t discovered it already.
Finally (says she sitting in her kitchen with her air conditioner blasting), as long as you have some cooked chicken breasts on hand (a must for any meal-prep situation) this is another no-cook recipe that will keep you away from the stove and enjoying the outdoors as much as possible in this sweltering summer heat.
Let’s take this week by the horns with some Protein-Packed Healthy Chicken Waldorf Salad in hand!
A typically mayonnaise-laden dish gets a healthy makeover with the substitution of Greek yogurt and delicious cinnamon and nutmeg. The perfect no-cook meal!
- 15 ounces cooked chicken breast, diced (about 2-3 breasts)
- 3/4 cup halved red grapes
- 2/3 cup walnut pieces, toasted
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 Granny Smith apple, diced
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.
Serve alone, with crackers, chips or spread onto sliced bread as a sandwich!