Mary Saph Tanaka by Mary Saph Tanaka

Chicken tendersThey’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!