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Easy Cold Lunch Ideas for Work: Grilled BBQ Chicken Tenders with Healthy Potato Salad & Cold Asparagus Salad

Nix the greens and redefine ‘salad’ with these cold BBQ salad bowls! A deliciously simple combo of grilled BBQ chicken tenders, healthy potato salad, and asparagus salad that can all be enjoyed cold—or warm, if you prefer!

I hear from SO many people looking for healthy lunches for work, who are craving something—anything—other than salads… But, there are loads of cold lunch ideas (beyond just leafy salads) that you can enjoy without reheating. These grilled BBQ chicken bowls are just one option, and just one of the many ways that you can rethink boring old salads!

I love that I can fit a healthy balance of protein, carbs, and veggies all in the same bowl, in a meal that I really enjoy eating. And, it’s such an EASY healthy meal prep lunch to throw together, made with super affordable ingredients! Very minimal cooking is involved, and you’ve got meals ready for the week once the prep work is done.

Healthy Aldi Meal Prep for the Week & Haul!

For Endless Meal Prep Lunch Ideas, Follow Your Taste Buds

If, like me, you are NOT a fan of eating salads with leafy greens, that’s okay. You can either train your taste buds to tolerate greens more, or you can seek out other healthy foods that your taste buds really enjoy! Ultimately, a ‘salad’ is just a big mish-mash of different ingredients on the same plate. So, use that freedom to craft the kinds of ‘salads’ that YOU like!

You can opt for a cold vegetable salad that’s totally leafy-green-free, like the cold asparagus salad in these BBQ bowls. Or, go a heartier route with a protein-packed tuna salad, or a carbohydrate-rich salad like my healthy potato salad with egg. Then, put together a mish-mash of healthy components that you like to create simple, healthy meals.

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Which is exactly what I did in crafting these BBQ plates: combined a few salads that I like, paired with grilled BBQ chicken tenders for an easy protein option, and BOOM! Deliciously nutritious cold lunches, designed for MY taste buds. So, feel free to change up the components here and get creative crafting YOUR ultimate BBQ plates!

Swap out the asparagus salad and/or potato salad if you’ve got other healthy side dishes that you love. Use this grilled BBQ chicken tenders recipe to make grilled BBQ chicken breast. Or, swap out the chicken entirely and grill strips of steak, or even tofu, instead! Bottom line: you’ve got endless options to make these BBQ bowls your own.

How to Make Grilled Chicken Tenders the EASY Way

Full disclosure: I am neither a barbecue expert nor an experienced griller. BUT, I do have an indoor grill pan that I love to use! It’s such a quick, easy cooking method that locks the flavors into my proteins, and I am a huge fan of those gorgeous grill marks. So, these are technically pan grilled BBQ chicken tenders, a.k.a. grilled the EASY way!

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First, heat your grill pan over medium-high heat and brush with a high smoke point oil, like avocado oil. Make sure your grill pan is HOT, then place your chicken tenders onto the pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Now, if you want those great grill marks, it’s best to place your chicken tenderloin strips down and LEAVE THEM alone until you flip!

Let those tenders grill for about 5 minutes, then brush the tops with oil before flipping and cook another 5 minutes or so. If you want your grilled chicken tenders a bit more done/charred, you may want to grill them for a bit longer! But, just be warned: that added doneness will make for a tougher, less tender texture.

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Once they’ve cooked on the both sides, that’s pretty much it! Remove from your grill pan and allow those tasty grilled chicken tenders to cool. You can serve them as full tenders if you like, or slice into bite-sized strips like I did for these BBQ chicken meal prep bowls!

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Putting the BBQ in your Grilled BBQ Chicken Tenders

It’s not just the pan grilling that makes these grilled chicken tenders so easy—it’s also the flavoring. No need to marinate your chicken tenders, no complicated blend of spices or a spice rub necessary. Because, in my opinion, healthy meals have to be nutritious, tasty, AND convenient if we’re going to stick with a healthy lifestyle.

One of the easiest ways to pack in flavor with minimal effort is with sauces. Luckily, there are tons of BBQ sauces that you can choose from! Sweet, savory, or even spicy—choose the sauce that suits your taste buds. Plus, to add variety, you can always split your plain meat into portions and make some grilled BBQ chicken and flavor some with another sauce!

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But, I do recommend READING the nutrition label and ingredients lists before choosing a BBQ sauce brand. Many sauces (BBQ sauces in particular) are hiding tons of sneaky added sugars. So, be vigilant, choose wisely, and look for options with 6-7g of sugar or less.

Of course, you could always make your own low sugar BBQ sauce at home, but let’s be real: I don’t always have time for that… If you’re unsure of how to cook chicken tenderloins, I HIGHLY recommend giving these easy grilled BBQ chicken tenders a try!

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Pan Grilled BBQ Chicken Tenders

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A deliciously simple protein option for healthy BBQ lunch bowls, served with healthy potato salad and cold asparagus salad!

Entire BBQ Bowl Lunches Meal Prep:

  • Prep Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

Pan Grilled BBQ Chicken Tenders:

  • Author: Alyssia Sheikh
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

Grilled BBQ Chicken:

~½ cup BBQ sauce of choice, to taste
1 lb chicken breast tenders
drizzle of avocado oil
salt & pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Heat grill pan over medium-high heat and brush with avocado oil.
  • Place chicken tenders onto hot grill pan and season with salt and pepper. (Once you’ve placed your tenders, I recommend leaving them alone and not moving them until you flip. This will make for the best grill marks!)
  • Grill tenders for about 5 minutes on each side, brushing tops with oil before flipping.
  • Remove from grill pan, allow to cool slightly, and slice into strips.
  • Toss with BBQ sauce of choice.
  • Serve as desired immediately, or portion and store for later!

Notes

Nutrition per BBQ Bowl

With 2 oz grilled BBQ chicken, ~1 cup healthy potato salad, & ~⅔ – ¾ cup cold asparagus salad:

437 calories | 29g fat | 26g carbs | 4g fiber | 6g sugars | 22g protein

Grilled BBQ Chicken Tenders Nutrition

Provided below, per 2-oz serving grilled chicken tossed with Chris’ & Pitts’ Original BBQ Sauce:

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2 ounces
  • Calories: 90
  • Sugar: 3g
  • Fat: 3g
  • Carbohydrates: 4g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Protein: 13g
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