You’re dying for some crisp-tender fried chicken fingers, but could do without all the fat and calories. Don’t worry — we’ve got two delicious ways to slim them down. Our nutritionists Dana and Toby are going head to head, dishing up their lightened-up versions of this famous finger food. Weigh in on your favorite!
RECIPE #1: Toby’s Honey Chicken
Toby says: “Chicken fingers are a fave among my kids and husband. Instead of serving up the fried version, I whip these crispy, honey ones with crisp panko-sesame breading instead. My son couldn’t resist eating one this morning before school!”
- Panko breadcrumbs help give them that a light, airy crunch without extra fat. You can find panko in more mainstream markets though I typically buy mine at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s or my local Asian market.
- Honey contains loads of vitamins and minerals like iron, niacin, riboflavin, potassium and zinc. It adds a sweet flavor to the chicken that you can taste in every bite.
- Apricot preserves add an additional splash of flavor that isn’t overpowering. Look for brands without high fructose corn syrup. I can usually find a homemade jar at my local farmers’ market which is made from only apricots and sugar.
- Toasted sesame seeds add crunch and flavor to the crust. They contain healthy unsaturated fats and a slew of minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium and copper.
Toby’s Honey Chicken (pictured above)
Yield: 24 pieces
2 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into small strips
2 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons apricot preserves or jam
4 tablespoons raw sesame seeds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place sesame seeds in a frying pan over medium heat and toast for 3 to 5 minutes or until seeds are golden brown. In a small bowl, combine honey and apricot preserves. Stir to combine. Brush honey mixture on both sides of chicken strips, dredge in bread crumbs and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Line coated chicken on a baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake 20 minutes on each side until slightly browned.
Nutrition Info Per Piece
Total Fat: 4.5 grams
Saturated Fat: 1 gram
Total Carbohydrate: 12 grams
Protein: 11 grams
Sodium: 45 milligrams
Cholesterol: 30 milligrams
Fiber: 0.5 grams
RECIPE # 2: Dana’s Crispy Coconut Chicken
Dana says: “These chicken fingers have it all — they’re crispy, salt and juicy, with a flavor boost from toasted coconut. The coating keeps lean chicken breasts moist. Serve them with your favorite dipping sauce, or on top of a salad with homemade dressing.”
- Beaten egg whites give the crunchy coating something to stick to. With less than 20 calories each, they won’t weigh down the chicken.
- Whole grain cereal isn’t just for breakfast – get a crispy crust with extra vitamins, fiber and a nutty flavor. Experiment with different types to find your favorite.
- Shredded coconut sets these chicken fingers apart. Baking at high heat toasts it for extra flavor and crunch. Coconut does add a touch of fat, but it comes out to less than 1 gram per serving.
Dana’s Crispy Coconut Chicken
Yield: 14 Pieces
2 egg whites
3 cups whole grain cereal (corn flakes or brown rice cereal recommended)
1/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into strips
Nonstick cooking spray
Preheat oven to 400-degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray and set aside. Place egg whites in a bowl and beat until frothy. Place cereal and coconut in a resealable plastic bag; season with salt and pepper and crush well. Dredge chicken strips in egg white and place a couple at a time into the bag to coat with coconut mixture. Transfer to baking sheet. Bake for 6 to 7 minutes per side, until chicken is cooked through.
Nutrition Info Per Piece:
Total Fat: 1 gram
Saturated Fat: 1 gram
Total Carbohydrate: 4 grams
Protein: 8 grams
Sodium: 112 milligrams
Cholesterol: 19 milligrams
Fiber: 1 gram
TELL US: Which chicken finger recipe is your favorite?