Chicken nuggets and fries, a healthier take on a fast food favorite

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By: Jena Demerly

Andrea Parrish-Geyer/Flickr

An almost universal kid-pleaser in the fast food world is a meal of chicken nuggets served with French fries. At first glance this beloved meal may seem like a relatively healthy choice for kids when a busy schedule encroaches on time to prepare dinner, but the truth is that these meals may not be as wholesome as they at first appear.

The chicken nuggets you purchase through the drive through or in the frozen food section of your grocery store are both highly processed and loaded with preservatives. Additionally, although chicken itself is a low fat food, the fast food version is deep fried in artery-clogging, calorie-laden oil, making it less than suitable for parents who want to feed their kids healthy, nutrition packed foods.

However, these negatives do not mean that the chicken nugget and French fries combo need be scrapped completely. The alternative I have for you, which can be cooked in nearly the same time as the prepackaged frozen version (and takes only slightly longer than a drive through run), trims the fat and calorie content while drastically increasing the nutritional value, all while maintaining that ever important kid-appeal.

The primary component of the dish, the chicken nuggets, are to be prepared from boneless skinless chicken breast which will be dipped in egg white and then coated in Shake N’ Bake for chicken. If you’re not a big fan of Shake N’ Bake, the dish can also be made using bread crumbs seasoned with whatever your family likes (suggestions include parmesan cheese, rosemary and thyme among others). I personally like to use the Shake N’ Bake since it is a quick and inexpensive way to get a flavor I know my kids will enjoy.

Homemade Chicken Nuggets

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 eggs, whites separated
  • Shake ’N Bake or seasoned breadcrumbs

Directions

  1. Cut a pound of boneless skinless chicken breasts into nugget-sized pieces (about 2 inches by 2 inches or so, it doesn’t need to be perfect) and dip the pieces into a bowl of the whites from three large eggs.
  2. Place the chicken bits into a plastic bag filled with the Shake N’ Bake. Give the bag a few good shakes, ensuring that the chicken is fully coated, and place the chicken on a baking dish sprayed with a no-stick cooking spray (don’t forget the spray, or things may get a bit difficult when it comes time to clean up).
  3. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Serve with your family’s favorite dipping sauce, baked sweet potato fries and apple slices for a healthier version of your kids’ favorite fast food meal.

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