Healthier Lunchmeat at Home

Happy Tuesday! Or is it Monday? If you’re like me and enjoyed a full four-day weekend, it sure feels like Monday today!

Hubs has a big test on Friday, so he spent most of Sunday and Monday holed up in the home office studying. I got the chance to dominate the remote (Tour de France! World Cup! Netflix!) for most of the day Sunday. On Monday, though, it was time to switch gears. I (finally) finished our wedding thank you notes, took care of some bills, and knocked out some food prep.

Confession: Any level of food prep is relatively new to us. When it was just me, it was easy to throw together a quick lunch of salad with some bagged lettuce, pre-packaged deli meat, and a few toppings in the mornings between my workout and the start of my workday.

When Hubs came into the picture, we blew through the pre-packaged deli meat in a matter of hours. Apparently, two people eat a lot more than one person. Whoops. To adjust for his appetite, I shifted to the deli counter. We each had a “go-to” meat: he loved Boar’s Head Buffalo Chicken, and I always got Boar’s Head Cracked Pepper Turkey. Then fate (in the form of the Defense Commissary Agency) intervened.

In January, the contract for the deli counters in all military grocery stores (aka “The Commissary”) expired. And, if you live at a small base like us, the supply of Boar’s Head was cut off entirely. WHAT NOW?????

Hubs and I tried a few different delis in the area. The problem was that a) No one carried Boar’s Head, b) No other brand satisfied our cravings, and c) We had to make special, separate trips just to use the other delis. So, we went to Plan B: Prep our own “lunch meat” every week.

Turns out, we made a good choice. Deli meat is a great option for quick, no hassle meals. However, it isn’t necessarily the most nutritious choice. According to registered dietician Leslie Beck, eating 160 grams of processed meat a week puts you at a 44% higher risk for premature death caused by cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other health issues. Just for your situational awareness: 160 grams is roughly equivalent to 0.35 pounds. When I went to the deli, I was buying a pound of deli meat for each of us, each week. That means we were eating THREE TIMES the baseline amount! Yikes!

So, here’s the happy ending: Erin & Hubs start spending 30 minutes a week prepping chicken, turkey, and pork at home. Erin & Hubs slash their saturated fat, sodium, and preservative intake without even knowing it. Erin creates easy, quick, and flavorful marinated grilled chicken tenders to share with you today!

Fast and Easy Chicken Tenders

Fast and Easy Chicken Tenders: Our go-to home made lunch meat!

And, last month, the Commissary delis re-opened, so Erin & Hubs can now occasionally purchase their beloved Boar’s Head…in extreme moderation.

But seriously, these chicken tenders have become our new weekly staple. They are perfect to eat alone with your favorite sauce, or add to salads or wraps all week long!

These tenders taste great with ketchup, mustard, or barbecue sauce!

These tenders taste great with ketchup, mustard, or barbecue sauce!

Fast and Easy Grilled Chicken Tenders

Serves: 3-6

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Marinate Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 20 minutes


  • 1 to 2 lbs chicken tenderloins
  • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
  • 1 TBSP dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp each salt, pepper, and oregano
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Directions: Whisk olive oil through red pepper flakes in a medium bowl.

Before...and after!

Before…and after!

Add chicken tenderloins, and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 4 hours.

Pre-heat grill to a medium-low heat. Add chicken tenderloins, and allow to cook for 10 minutes. Flip, and cook and additional 8-10 minutes. Serve immediately, or allow to cool and store for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

Dinner salad

What’s for dinner? Chicken tenders in a salad!

Tonight, I used these tenders in a delicious salad with spinach, arugula, cannellini beans, and parmesan, all tossed with an extra helping of the marinade!

What’s your favorite lunch meat? Do you have any weekday staples you can’t get enough of?



One thought on “Healthier Lunchmeat at Home

  1. Pingback: What I Ate Wednesday: Pizza Night! | Running Erins, Racing Home

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