Ok, so let’s face it, chicken nuggets are a creation. That few can turn down. Done properly, you have a great vehicle to deliver a healthy dose of protein and important nutrients. Done improperly they are loaded with inflammatory compounds and void of nutrients. But, is it reasonable to expect busy mamas to make their own chicken nuggets when you can so easily dump some out of a bag and bake them in the oven or hit up the “healthy” fast-food chicken restaurant? I say a resounding... YES! Now it is!
This recipe took me a total prep time of...10 minutes, and 25 minutes of baking time! You can double the recipe and freeze them for a quick heat-and-eat after-school snack or even serve them cold for a lunchbox treat!
The beauty of making nuggets at home is you avoid inflammatory ingredients!
Here are two ingredients found in Chick-Fil-A Chicken Nuggets:
Refined peanut oil: has been bleached and deodorized, which removes the allergenic parts of the oil. It is typically safe for those with peanut allergies. It is commonly used by restaurants to fry foods like chicken and french fries.
The high amount of omega-6 fats that peanut oil contains may not be a good thing. These fats tend to cause inflammation and have been linked to various health problems.
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG): MSG is derived from the amino acid glutamate, or glutamic acid, which is one of the most abundant amino acids in nature. Some people claim that MSG leads to excessive glutamate in the brain and excessive stimulation of nerve cells. For this reason, MSG has been labeled an excitotoxin. In one study, a mega dose of MSG increased blood levels of glutamate by 556%.
Here are some yucky ingredients found in McDonald’s chicken nuggets:
Tertiary Butylhydroquinone (TBHQ)
This powerful petroleum-based preservative (which is also found in varnishes, lacquers, pesticide products, cosmetics, and perfumes) may be used to help the chicken and other ingredients maintain their distinct shapes.
Eaten in high doses, it can be toxic. The question is how much accumulates in body tissues. That is, if you eat chicken nuggets a couple of days per week, how much sticks around in fat stores? Possible side effects of toxicity include nausea, delirium, collapse, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and vomiting. Some studies have linked it to hyperactivity in kids, asthma, rhinitis, dermatitis, aggravated ADHD symptoms, and restlessness.
If you travel to the UK, you will not find this ingredient in their version of McNuggets! You also will not find the next one.
This is a silicone-based anti-foaming agent. This same chemical is found in silly putty, contact lenses, medical devices, shampoos, lubricating oils, heat-resistant tiles, and breast implants. Although there are no toxic effects attached, it is still gross to think about!!
Autolyzed Yeast Extract (aka, MSG)
This ingredient found in the McNuggets’ seasoning allows you to think that you are getting more protein with each bite! Typical side effects are headache, nausea, and heart palpations.
Knowledge is power!
Now that you know about these ingredients the key is to decide how frequently if at all you will feed them to yourself or your kids. I really think the bigger picture here is the hyper-palatablehyper-palatable, synthetic flavor combinations that shut down the brain signal of being satisfied. It also drives the taste for more hyper-palatable food and makes whole food ingredients less satisfying.
Onto the recipe!
2 pounds chicken breast, cut into 2-inch pieces 1 cup rice flour 1 cup gluten-free crackers (I used Simple Mills) 1 cup Epic Pork Skins 1 cup olive oil
Putting it together:
Preheat the oven to 425F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Grind the crackers and pork rinds to a fine powder in a food processor. Then pulse in the rice flour.
Add the flour mixture to one bowl and the olive oil to a separate bowl.
Dip each chicken piece in olive oil, then in the flour mixture. Shake off the excess and place it on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake the nuggets for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
These nuggets are amazing because... The breading does not fall off, it coats them evenly and leaves the nuggets moist and tender. They freeze well and are also delicious on a bed of mixed greens!
Here you don’t have to worry about oxidized oils, hyperstimulating ingredients, gluten, or egg allergies!
You also get a great source of clean protein that your kids will LOVE!!