Protein, Protein, Protein 😉
Getting enough protein in during the day requires many good high-protein snacks in addition to the protein we get in meals. I’m always on the lookout for good high protein and low carb/fat snack options to add to my rotation.
One of my favorite snacks is a light tuna salad but given the increasing concerns about the amount of mercury in tuna, I’m cutting way back and trying to find/create other options.
Naturally, chicken salad seems a good alternative though it takes a bit of extra effort to cook and shred the chicken. Though I recently found a super easy way to make shredded chicken using a stand mixer:
I’ve been using this shredded chicken method for a couple months now and I can’t get over how easy and how delicious it is. I don’t have an instant pot so I use the oven method with boneless, skinless chicken breasts and season with salt, garlic powder, and onion powder (and usually thyme), and the chicken always comes out delicious. So much lean protein so fast and so easy!
The Kitchenaid Stand Mixer (any version) is such a versatile kitchen tool and I highly recommend having one. They last for decades and are very minimal in design making them so easy to clean. There are also so many fun attachments!
For my first foray into low carb chicken salad, I went with a great Thai Peanut Cashew theme and it turned out so delicious and flavorful. It can be hard to add great flavor without adding tons of fat or carbs but great low-calorie, high-impact options are vinegar, soy sauce, mustard, chopped nuts, chopped veggies, and lots and lots of herbs.
I initially divided the prep into six but I think as a snack this does better divided into eight which I later did.
Macros (for 8 servings):
Again, it is commonly and falsely circulated that you can’t absorb more than 20g of protein per meal. This is a false myth and only applies to cases where you are consuming a modified, fast-absorbing protein like whey protein powder and not when you are consuming protein in its whole food form with other components slowing the movement through the gut. If eating whole food proteins, you are able to absorb 0.4g of protein per pound of body weight in one meal.
I am so happy with how this light chicken salad turned out and have many other ideas in line (like Mexican, Italian, Ceasar, etc.) so stay tuned for more flavorful, delicious, low-carb and high protein chicken salad snack options. Let me know in the comments below if you have other great low carb, low fat chicken salad recipes.
Meal Prep Tools I Use and Love
1. Meal Prep Containers (PBA-free with microwave-safe lids!) | 2. 8 oz Mason Jars (perfect to bring along toppings like cheese, nuts, herbs, etc.) | 3. Sauce Bottles (just the right size and easy to clean) | 4. Mixing Bowl Set (the vertical sides make spills a thing of the past) | 5. Food Processor (worth investing the money – SO many uses and built to last) | 6. Dutch Oven (versatile, durable, and beautiful color)
Thai Cashew Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing
For the chicken
- 2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast (thawed if frozen)
- ¼ cup chicken broth (or water)
- salt, garlic powder, onion powder
For the salad
- 1 bag 10-12 oz of chopped Asian salad mix (alternately 1/2 cup each shredded red cabbage, green cabbage, carrots and 1/4 cup sliced green onions)
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- ½ cup chopped mint
- ½ cup chopped cashews
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
For the dressing
- ½ cup peanut flour (alternately 1/2 cup peanut butter)
- ½ cup rice vinegar
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- ½ tbsp garlic powder
For the chicken
- Preheat oven to 375F. Pound the chicken to even thickness (about 1 inch).
- Place chicken in a large baking dish and pour ¼ cup chicken broth (or water) into pan. Top chicken with salt, garlic powder, and onion powder. Cover pan with tin foil or oven-safe lid.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes.
- Place chicken in stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until well-shredded. Alternatively, chicken can be shredded with 2 forks.
- Spread chicken out in large bowl or plate and cool in refrigerator for approximately 30 minutes.
For the dressing
- Mix all dressing ingredients in a medium bowl until smooth.
For the salad
- Combine cooled, shredded chicken with all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Pour over dressing and mix well.
- Divide equally into 8 containers.