Chicken Nuggets: Which Are Healthiest?

by in Healthy Tips, September 12, 2013

chicken fingers

As a mom of two young kids, I certainly have the need to pop a batch of frozen nuggets into the oven from time to time. As a dietitian, I want to make sure those nuggets aren’t filled with junk! Here are some sensible options, three store-bought and one homemade.

What’s Inside A Nugget?
Nuggets come in all shapes and sizes but the majority contain numerous processed ingredients including fillers, excess water and thickeners. As for the nutrition facts, chicken nuggets average 30 to 50 to calories and 2 to 4 grams of fat per piece. A serving will pack in 400 to 500 milligrams of sodium, or about 20 percent of the daily recommended allotment.

Better Nuggets
There are some smarter options out there. Here’s what the nutrition labels reveal.

•    Bell & Evans
A beautifully simple ingredient list and chicken raised without antibiotics. It’s nice to see a chicken nugget that actually tastes like chicken.

•    Applegate Farms
Available in both traditional and gluten-free varieties, these well-seasoned nuggets have high quality ingredients and a sensible amount of calories, fat and sodium.

•    Veggie Patch

Made with a soy-based protein, these faux chicken nuggets are comparable to the all-stars mentioned above in calories, protein, fat and sodium, plus they’re cholesterol free.

•   Homemade

When you do have the time, try these homemade chicken fingers (above). Make extra and store in the freezer.

Tell Us: What’s your choice for a healthier nugget?
Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »

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Comments (6)

  1. Jamie says:

    Morningstar Chik'n Nuggets are addictive!

  2. [...] View Original Article Filed Under: Articles · [...]

  3. thymetraveler says:

    I like Perdue Simply Smart Nuggets:At least 50% less fat and 40% fewer calories than USDA data for breaded fried boneless chicken.
    I add these to a helping of romaine lettuce and a chopped boiled and I have a tasty crunchy cobb salad!

  4. @TysonFoods says:

    Tyson® Fully Cooked Breaded Chicken Breast Chunks are a great addition to any healthy meal.
    Check out our entire line of "Better For You" products: http://www.tyson.com/Products/Our-Products/Better

    Susan Beebe
    @TysonFoods

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