October 25, 2013
They’re a kid favorite, so it’s no surprise that chicken nuggets make an appearance on most children’s menus. Kids love the taste and it's an easy way to get them to eat some lean meat, right? Think again. A study by researchers at the University of Mississippi published last month in the American Journal of Medicine revealed what many suspected—that chicken nuggets are more than just chicken. In fact, they analyzed nuggets from two local fast food chains and found that less than 50 percent of the nugget was actual meat! So, what else did they find under the microscope? Blood vessels, nerves, bone, fat and cells that line internal organs made up the other half!
Skip those "chicken" nuggets and instead make these simple and delicious chicken tenders in your own kitchen. Not only are they healthier than the fried version, but you also feel reassured by the fact that you know what’s going into your children’s tummies!
Baked Crispy Chicken Tenders
2 boneless and skinless chicken breasts
3 cups cornflakes
1/2 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk with the salt, pepper and garlic powder and mix well. Cut the chicken breasts into four to five pieces. (If you would like to make "nuggets," cut into approximately eight pieces.) Repeat with the second chicken breast. Place chicken pieces into the bowl with the buttermilk mixture and mix so that all the chicken pieces are well coated. Cover the bowl and marinate at least 30 minutes.
Pour the cornflakes into a large freezer bag and crush the cereal into smaller pieces. Place the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the bag of cornflakes and mix well to coat the cereal pieces.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or foil. When ready to bake, remove the chicken from the refrigerator and place into the freezer bag with the cornflakes. Close the bag and toss the chicken pieces around and gently press the cereal to coat the chicken.
Place the chicken pieces on the baking tray in a single layer. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes.
Try these tenders on top of a salad or as a crispy chicken sandwich with whole grain bread for a healthy lunch or dinner option!
Mary Saph TanakaContributor
Mary Saph Tanaka, MD, MS, developed her love for cooking at a young age, with fond memories of planting and cooking vegetables from the garden with her mother. She regularly utilizes locally grown ingredients and her knowledge of nutrition and herbs to prepare nutritious meals for family and friends. She is completing her pediatrics training at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital as part of the Community Health and Advocacy Training program. She developed the recipes for the recently released book “’Eat Your Vegetables’ and Other Mistakes Parents Make: Redefining How to Raise Healthy Eaters” written by Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RD (Healthy Learning, 2012).