Calories in a Cup of Chicken Salad

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A cup of chicken salad on a bed of lettuce makes a healthy low-calorie lunch.
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Chicken salad integrates a few vegetables with precooked chicken. Your chicken salad's calories, nutrition and serving size will all vary, depending on how you've cooked your chicken.

The amount and type of vegetables you've incorporated into your dish also matter.

Read more: 15 of the Best Lean Animal Proteins

Chicken Salad Serving Sizes

Chicken salad can be made in a wide variety of ways. The recipe you use determines both your chicken salad's serving size and its nutrition.

The USDA suggests making a chicken salad using chicken, celery, onions, sweet pickle relish, ground pepper, mustard powder, and mayonnaise or salad dressing. A standard serving is about half a cup, which is the equivalent of 2 ounces of chicken and 1/8 cup of vegetables.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans lists a simpler chicken salad recipe. This type of chicken salad only contains skinless chicken, celery, lemon juice, onion powder, mayonnaise and salt. The serving size for this recipe is larger, at 3/4 cup.

In general, the more plant-based products you integrate into your chicken salad, the better. The Cleveland Clinic lists a recipe for mayo-free chicken salad — it's primarily made with salad greens and chicken breast, but it is rich in flavoring. This recipe uses lemon, lime, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper, brown rice vinegar, tahini, cilantro, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to make the dressing.

Each 1/2-cup serving of this chicken salad is served in a halved avocado alongside a side salad, making this meal low in carbs and rich in healthy unsaturated fats and dietary fiber. A meal-sized plate consists of 2 cups of salad, half an avocado and 1/2 cup of chicken salad.

Read more: 18 Fat-Rich Foods That Are Good for You

Chicken Salad Calories and Nutrition

As you might expect, there will be variation in caloric content depending on the ingredients you choose to incorporate into your chicken salad. However, based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recipe, a serving of chicken salad's calories is around 176 per 3/4-cup serving.

It's unlikely that you'll eat chicken salad on its own, though. You're more likely to create a whole meal, like in the Cleveland Clinic's recipe. This recipe states that the complete dish, including chicken salad, has a total of 431 calories.

This type of chicken salad is one of the healthiest types you can consume. As you're mainly eating plant-based products and lean meat, chicken salad's nutrition contains a variety of essential vitamins and minerals, as well as:

  • 27 grams of fat, only 4 grams of which come from saturated fat
  • 20 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of which come from dietary fiber
  • 31 grams of protein

Chicken salad is also often consumed as part of a sandwich. This type of chicken salad's calories is likely to be similar to that of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recipe, along with about 160 additional calories in the two slices of bread. This chicken salad dish would have a total of 336 calories.

You'll still get a large amount of protein (27 grams per serving of chicken salad) from this recipe. Unfortunately, you won't obtain nearly as many other nutrients from a chicken salad sandwich, especially if you choose refined, white bread for your meal.

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