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Healthy Chicken Nuggets

If I were to say chicken nuggets, what would you start thinking about?

You may have slight nostalgia, remembering the good old days when you’d dunk those bad boys in a variety of sauces (or just one if you were super picky).

It may have been the only food you liked to eat.

It may even be your kids’ favorite food (if you have kids that is).

For many of us, chicken nuggets are a comfort food, something we eat when we want something familiar. They are a kid staple and a parent go-to.

BUT, most chicken nuggets leave little to be desired when it comes to nutritional value. Instead, they are high in saturated fat (the unhealthy kind), contain a measly amount of protein (which is a shock for chicken!) and virtually no micronutrients.

A four-piece Chicken McNugget from Mcdonalds contains 11 grams of fat, 11 grams of carbohydrate and 10 grams of protein. If you pair them with a small order of fries, you’ll have almost enough calories from one meal to make up a small child’s total calorie demands for just one day. Shocker right?

Being unhappy with chicken nuggets led me on a mom mission to create my own healthy chicken nuggets. I wanted to create them so my kids would be able to remember their chicken nugget experience as a comfort food that mom made at home when they become parents themselves.

My biggest goals were to increase the protein and bring down the saturated fat. But as a bonus, these healthy chicken nuggets are also gluten-free! You read that right. They have no outer breading, and they will still rock your sock off.

 

Want to know some alarming information?

The ingredients for a very popular brand of chicken nuggets is listed first as “Chicken”.

At first, you would think, yes, that’s good isn’t it Amanda?

Well, not always.

Not when it is an unspecified source.

When the source is not listed that means the chicken can come from anywhere on the bird, like anywhere.

EEEwwww.

And chicken nuggets are a staple of many kids’ dinners and are such an easy go-to for busy parents.

 

And they aren’t just for kids.  Parents and non-parents alike can jump on the chicken nugget wagon because this recipe requires whole ground chicken breast, an egg and a few seasonings and one MAGIC ingredient and can be made in under 15 minutes.

These healthy chicken nuggets are made from just a few simple ingredients. No junky oils were used in the making of this recipe, and they still taste amazing. What really up levels their taste is the finishing touch in the GoWise Air Fryer if you have one. If not, I’ve left you a simple stovetop method that works well too!

If you haven’t bought into the air fryer craze, this recipe may change your mind. You can check out my review of the GoWise Air Fryer HERE. I break down the review in real-world circumstances in a kitchen where I cook all the time with small children around.

You can also check out the GoWise Air Fryer review because I share my experience with twenty-five days of air frying (basically anything I could) along with ten recipes that I fell in love with along the way.

At the end of the day, the Air Fryer produces what many people are after. A quicker, more convenient way to cook food. I am constantly helping clients find ways to bring more real-food options into their diet in a way that is simple, and convenient. Any tool, including an air fryer, that increases the willingness and likeliness to eat more real food is a WIN in my book.

With that said, let’s get to the recipe!

5 from 1 vote
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Healthy Chicken Nuggets

Turn this childhood staple into a healthy option your family will love.  Make them in the Air Fryer or stovetop for a quick and fun weeknight go-to.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 11 minutes
Total Time 21 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 2 Pounds Ground chicken breast
  • 1 Egg
  • 4 Tbsp Bragg's Nutritional Yeast

Instructions

  1. Preheat your air fryer to 370 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Pour the ground chicken into large, clean bowl.

  3. Mix in one egg, nutritional yeast, and seasonings until well blended.

  4. Lay parchment paper on the bottom of the air fryer’s fryer basket, spray with a light coat of olive oil.

  5. Using a cookie scoop (or round spoon) place a level scoop of the ground chicken mixture onto the parchment paper.

  6. Repeat this process as many times as space will allow, leaving ½ inch in between chicken scoops for cooking.

  7. Turn the air fryer on. Select the “chicken” setting (if your fryer allows it) and allow to cook for 6 minutes.

  8. At 6 minutes, turn the nuggets over to allow a crisp layer to form around the entire nugget.  * Note: If you don’t have a chicken setting, continue to cook at 370 degrees fahrenheit until cooked through (10-15 minutes, flipping once).

  9. Pull the nuggets out at a total time of 12 minutes.

  10. Serve with your favorite dipping sauces.

Stove Top Method

  1. Pre-heat a medium or large skillet over medium heat.

  2. Spray lightly with olive or avocado oil to lightly coat the pan

  3. Pour the ground chicken into a large, clean bowl.

  4. Mix in one egg, nutritional yeast and seasonings until well blended.

  5. Using a cookie scooper (like this ONE) scoop the mixture into rounded ball shapes and add to the hot pan.

  6. Allow the underside to cook from roughly 1 minute to 90 seconds. It should start firming up and losing the pink color.

  7. Using a spatula, turn each nugget over and then press the ground mixture into the pan (raw side down) into nugget shapes.

  8. Allow each nugget to cook for 2-3 minutes. Then turn them back over to cook for an additional minute on the initial side.

  9. Be sure that each nugget is cooked thoroughly throughout. There should be no pink, and if you were to use a thermometer, it should read at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

  10. Remove nuggets from the pan and serve with your favorite dipping sauces.

This recipe for healthy chicken nuggets is guaranteed to be a family favorite. Another bonus is that these healthy chicken nuggets can be “double prepped” (read my post on meal prep here to find out what I mean by double prep) so that you have enough to pack in the kids’ lunches the next day too.

I have a thermos trick to keep them warm too. You can view those in my IG story highlights under “Lunchbox Ideas HERE. All you do is bring a cup of water to boil, pour the hot water into a thermos, and allow it to stand for 5 minutes to heat the thermos.

While the thermos heats, reheat nuggets in the microwave for 90 seconds. Dump the water from the thermos out and dry it quickly. Place the nuggets inside and they will stay warm until lunch time. #winning

I hope this recipe helps you add another healthy option to your weekly menu that maintains quality, is super simple and will be a crowd favorite.

I’d love to hear from you:

What recipe would you love for me to create a simple and healthy version for you to add to your weekly menu?

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

Amanda

4 replies
    • awalkmacros@gmail.com
      awalkmacros@gmail.com says:

      Hi Kellie,

      I usually use salt, pepper, and garlic powder. If I have it, I also throw in Trader Joe’s All Seasoning or Primal Palate’s Meat and Potatoes (this one is my favorite). I hope you enjoy the recipe and I’d love to hear what you think once you make them!

      Reply
    • awalkmacros@gmail.com
      awalkmacros@gmail.com says:

      You can buy ground chicken breast in the butcher section. If they don’t have it out, ask the butcher to ground up the fresh chicken breast for you. I can’t wait to hear how it goes for you!

      Reply

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