Chicken Nuggets

What are you passionate about? For me, it’s the growing childhood malnutrition epidemic.

My daughter has been raised in a way that she finds food from a box to be “weird.” When asked what she wants to drink in a restaurant, she chooses water. By no means is she perfect in her food choices – she is 12, after all – but more often than not, she makes good choices, and for that I am very proud of her. As a mom, I feel confident that she will be a healthy adult because of the choices she is making as a child. One less thing to worry about, right?

I was raised differently; not because my parents set out to hurt me (to the contrary!), but because 40 years ago our mothers were leaving the home and entering the work force in huge numbers. Convenience foods were the “way of the future.” The introduction of highly processed convenience foods were acclaimed as time-saving and “healthy solutions” for busy families, and, as such, we ate them in copious portions.

Many of us have carried on these habits to our adulthood and introduced these same convenience foods to our families. It’s no coincidence that, in those same 40 years, obesity rates in the United States have skyrocketed. Childhood obesity in kids age 6-11 has more than quadrupled in that period of time, and we are facing an epidemic where nearly one third of our kids are at risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and even stroke.

When we change ourselves, we are also changing our families and teaching our children. My daughter did not learn to order water while I was drinking a soda. She learned to order water because I was drinking water. We truly teach by example, and your life can be a great teaching opportunity. With these recipes, I also encourage parents to get your kids into the kitchen to help you with meal preparation. As you’ll see, these dishes are not only friendly for kids to eat, but also friendly for kids to make.

Enjoy!

Healthy Chicken Nuggets Recipe

  • 12 oz. chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into nugget-sized pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp. skim milk
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. Tabasco® sauce (more or less to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp. Morton® Lite Salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. whole wheat flour
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 Tbsp. water
  • 3 slices of light whole wheat bread, toasted lightly and processed into fine crumbs

Place chicken nuggets in a zip-top bag.

In a bowl, combine the yogurt, milk, lemon juice, Tabasco and half of the salt and pepper. Whisk to combine and add to chicken in bag. Seal, squeezing out as much air as possible, and massage to coat chicken. Refrigerate for one hour.

Arrange three bowls on your counter top next to a sheet pan covered in foil and coated with cooking spray. In the first bowl, combine the flour with the remaining salt and pepper. In the second bowl, the beaten egg with water. In the third bowl, the breadcrumbs, which you can season with a pinch of dried herbs, garlic powder or salt-free seasoning blends for different flavors. Try it without first, and then get creative.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Remove chicken from marinade and place on paper towels, gently patting to remove excess liquid. Discard marinade. With just two or three pieces at a time, dredge chicken in flour (shake well to remove excess), dip in egg wash, then breadcrumbs. Coat them well in each step. End by placing coated chicken nuggets on baking sheet.

Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.

Serve with a Honey Mustard or Greek Yogurt dipping sauce.

Makes 2 servings

4th of July, Entrees, Foodie Flavor, Snacks and Sides

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