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159 easy homemade chicken nuggets recipe that kids love. can be made gluten free same texture as the frozen ones!

Healthy Homemade Chicken Nuggets Recipe {video}

Have you been looking for a healthy homemade chicken nuggets recipe that compares to the texture of the frozen ones? If so, you’ve got to check this one out! Over 1  million people already have. 

This post has been updated here.

It’s safe to say chicken nuggets are a favorite of most North American kids.  They are found in many restaurants’ “kids menu” and in nearly every freezer.  They are also served in most American schools and found, of course, in the boxed lunch section.  The ingredients alone will scare any semi-health conscious person.

easy homemade chicken nuggets recipe that kids love. can be made gluten free same texture as the frozen ones!

Why are they so popular? Is it the shapes? I’m not sure but they are simple to make!  So why buy them ready-made? Our comparison of store-bought vs. homemade will have you wondering the same thing. 

Related: Top 5 Lunchboxes We’ve Tested

Round 1 : Contents
Our store bought chicken nugget lunch was quite a disappointment! The first thing I noticed was how little food it contained. This is a lunch? 4 processed nuggets, ketchup for dipping sauce, and 2 sandwich cookies. It lacked nutrition and quantity.

The MOMables remake also contains 4 fresh chicken nuggets (homemade-recipe below), dipping sauce (barbecue instead of ketchup), and 2 sandwich cookies. In addition, ours has the fruit & vegetable servings missing from the boxed lunch; crunchy carrot stick “fries” and juicy grapes. Better! The MOMables lunch includes more food groups!

Round 2 : Nutrition
Nutritionally, the chicken nugget portions size is similar… though our homemade ones do have almost 40% more protein – my guess is probably because they contain real chicken and less filler. Our homemade nuggets also have less sodium than the processed and even less depending on your seasonings. With the boxed lunch, you get sodium, preservatives, nitrates…

The cookies I chose for the MOMables lunch do have as much sugar, calories, and fat as those that come with the boxed lunch, but they are made without high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, artificial flavors, or preservatives.

Round 3 : Appeal
The boxed lunch may come in a colorful package, but out of the box, it looks lacking, it’s nuggets pale. The MOMables chicken nugget lunch, packed in EasyLunchboxes, gets it’s color from fresh flavorful ingredients rather than packaging.

Which would you rather send your child to school with?
THIS chicken nugget lunch?…Or THAT one?

The winner, by freshness & appeal… the MOMables lunch!

Check out this easy video on how they are made:

MOMables meal plans provide you with healthy, fresh meals you can make to add variety to your family’s lunches and meals. Unlike store-bought lunches, they allow flexibility in portioning and choice of sides so you can customize each lunch to suit your family’s tastes and appetites.

Tip: Bake a whole batch of these chicken nuggets ahead of time, then store in the freezer in an airtight bag or container. Warm a serving in the microwave for 20-30 seconds to thaw before packing lunch. Fast & delicious!

Homemade Chicken Nuggets

easy homemade chicken nuggets recipe that kids love. can be made gluten free same texture as the frozen ones!

4.7 from 19 reviews

  • Author:
  • Yield: 24
  • Cuisine: Lunch

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 teaspoon Creole Seasoning, divided or paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine chicken, oatmeal, half the grated parmesan (1/8 cup), half of the Creole seasoning (or paprika), (1/2 teaspoon), garlic powder and pepper. Knead dry ingredients into ground chicken.
  3. Moisten hands to prevent sticking and form 1 tablespoon of chicken mixture into a ball. Press into a cookie cutter for shaped nuggets or flatten with fingers for a basic nugget shape.
  4. In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs with remaining Creole seasoning and grated parmesan.
  5. Press nuggets into bread crumb mixture and turn over, patting crumbs into the surface to coat evenly, place on to the cookie sheet.
  6. Place nuggets onto the cookie sheet and spray them with cooking oil spray cor a crispy crust (optional).
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, flipping them over halfway through. Remove from oven.

Notes

These baked nuggets don’t brown but will dry out if you cook them too long. Check for doneness around minute 18.

To Freeze: freeze the breaded nuggets on a cookie sheet, then transfer them to an airtight bag or container and store them in the freezer until you’re ready to bake as few or as many as you like for up to 3 months. Add about 3-5 minutes to your usual cooking time if baking from frozen.

 

 

 

Lunchbox Wars: Sub Sandwich

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This is a MOMables™ version of a packaged convenience lunch that kids get to “assemble” themselves. 

homemade and healthier version of lunchables with sub sandwich

Our version: fresh whole wheat roll, nitrate free turkey, real cheddar cheese, fresh apple slices, a juicy plum and a pickle.  What’s a fresh sandwich without a pickle?

We know making a sandwich is not rocket science, so why anyone would purchase the packaged version below… we are not sure.  If you’ve wondered what exactly comes in a packaged lunch… check out this post.

Related: Top 5 Lunchboxes We’ve Tested

 

Boxed Sub Sandwich Lunch ContentsRound 1: Contents

The boxed sub sandwich lunch contains a small loaf of “made with whole grain” bread, pressed turkey luncheon meat, and processed cheese slices, all individually wrapped in plastic, plus a squeeze packet of mayonnaise and a marshmallow crispy rice dessert treat. That’s all.

All I see is processed foods wrapped in plastic = more garbage.

Winner: The MOMables lunch, for being a complete lunch!

I could have included a crispy rice square if I’d made some ahead of time – MOMables™ has a recipe for a healthier version!

Round 2: Nutrition

The boxed lunch, which lacks a vegetable or fruit serving, is not at all what I’d call a good example of a healthy lunch. However, it’s packaging (not shown), boldly advertising it as “made with whole grain”, is an excellent example of misleading terminology. “Made with whole grain” just means there is some whole grain in it. The box claims 8g per serving – which works out to only about 15%. In fact, the first ingredient listed is “enriched bleached wheat flour”, which is just another way of saying white flour.

My MOMables™ remake contains more food groups. The turkey is 100% turkey breast and the cheese is 100% cheddar, not just made with those things. The bread is 100% whole wheat.  And of course, the fruit is 100% fruit. I didn’t measure and weigh this lunch, and the bread came from the bakery, so I’d have to guess about the nutritional content of everything, but to be honest, I’m not as concerned about the numbers with fresh whole foods. If what I pack in my family’s lunches is all good stuff their bodies need, and not fillers, artificial ingredients and preservatives, I feel good that they’ll feel good.
Winner:  The MOMables™ lunch, 100%.

Round 3: Presentation

In the case of food, looks do matter! We eat with our eyes first. The boxed lunch is visually disappointing. It doesn’t look like much – because it isn’t! The MOMables™ lunch on the other hand, full of colorful, fresh, real food, looks much more appetizing.
The MOMables meal looks like a winner!


Bonus Round:  Waste Not

Each ingredient in the store-bought lunch is individually wrapped in plastic. All that trash for one little sandwich, and what a waste of time as well! Kids don’t get a lot of time for lunch these days, they don’t need to waste any of it struggling with excess plastic packaging.

The trash-free homemade lunch is packed in a reusable Laptop Lunches bento box, ready to eat. Winner: the no-waste lunch, no contest.

 

MOMables for the Win!

14

Lunchbox Wars: Nachos

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Kids love chips and they love dips.
What parents like are fresh and real ingredients -the MOMables®way. 

I reviewed a store bought boxed nacho lunch and made my own MOMables version. Which do you think can be called nutritious? Get the MOMveeta (cheese dip) recipe here.

Related: Top 5 Lunchboxes We’ve Tested 

Round 1: Contents
The boxed lunch comes with tortilla chips, salsa, and “cheese” dip. I put cheese in quotations because cheese is not even one of the first 3 ingredients listed. It also includes a sugary fruit-flavored drink and a candy (which was prominently advertised on the front of the box, but thankfully, actually quite small – you can just see it peeking out from the chips).

My MOMables nacho lunch, packed in a Laptop Lunches bento lunch box,  contains Newman’s Own salsa, all-natural, gluten-free, non-GMO Better Chip tortilla chips, low fat natural refried beans (no lard), real & homemade sharp cheddar cheese dip, and fresh juicy strawberries. Winner: the MOMables lunch made with real food.

Round 2 : Nutrition
The boxed nacho lunch lacks protein, fiber and fruit. The first 3 ingredient of the “cheese” are water, oil, & starch. The salsa, made from tomato paste and seasonings, does count as a vegetable serving, but it has a lot of additives such as high fructose corn syrup and preservatives. The artificially flavored and colored drink contains less than 2% fruit juice – let’s call it sugar+water+color+2% juice.

The MOMables lunch includes a whole fruit portion, and beans for fiber and protein. The cheese dip is made from real cheddar cheese. The all-natural salsa in the MOMables lunch is full of vegetables. Winner: the MOMables™ lunch. 

Boxed Nacho LunchRound 3 : Appeal
The only appeal the boxed lunch had was the colorful box. It also lost points for being difficult to open. The plastic seal was difficult for even me to peel off without sending the contents flying, I doubt a child could have managed it.

My kidlet didn’t want to try the packaged nachos – well, except for the candy – but she ate the MOMables nacho lunch. She loved the sharp cheddar cheese dip, and I loved that I knew it was made with real cheese. When you make it yourself, you know exactly what’s in it!  Winner: The MOMables lunch!

With MOMables lunch menus, putting together a healthy lunch is easy, and you get to choose your own ingredients.

Fresh vs Packaged – Which nacho chip lunch would you rather your child dip into?

The MOMables lunch is a winner!

8

Lunchbox Wars: Bean & Cheese Burritos

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It’s hard to beat a burrito when you’re looking for a simple, complete and portable meal to go.  Sadly, the “insides” never look like the picture in the ad.  Today, we are going to show you exactly what you are not missing and how much cheaper making your own can be!

Homemade bean & cheese burrito compared to a popular drive-thru fast food version.

Round 1 – Convenience

A burrito doesn’t take long to make.  You order it at the drive-thru window, pay for it and thirty seconds later they hand you one at the next window.  Or, you buy a frozen box promising deliciousness in 30 microwavable seconds. Tada! No bueno.

MOMables Tip: Get a whole pack (or two) of flour tortillas and make a bunch yourself, ahead of time. They’ll keep in the freezer 3 months. A few minutes in the microwave and you have the perfect on the go dinner for busy activity nights. No more drive-through and no boxed ones!

Round 2 – Contents

I opened up the fast food burrito (at right) expecting to see just beans & cheese. I didn’t know there would also be some kind of sauce, and a lot of chopped onions. There wasn’t much cheese that I could see, but maybe it was just smothered by the sauce.  Slightly unidentifiable, don’t you think?

There were also a few pieces of lettuce. I suppose this was an unintended “freebie” courtesy of assembly line fast food.  When you make your own you know exactly what goes in your burrito.

I only put beans & cheese in my version (at left). No sauce – the seasoned beans and sharp white and cheddar cheeses have enough flavor for me .  If you are using plain re-fried beans or black beans, I’d suggest a dash of salt free taco seasoning.

Round 3 – Cost

The fast food bean burrito costs $1.29.
While the ingredients for the bean burrito were quite a bit more than that, broken down to the cost per burrito, the homemade one is only $ .79That is nearly 40% savings!

Bonus Round – Is Lunch Complete?

As filling as a bean & cheese  burrito is, it doesn’t make a very well-rounded lunch on it’s own. What about fruits & vegetables?  Can you get those at the drive through window?  You can have any fruit or vegetable sides you like if you pack your own lunch ahead of time.

 

I packed my  burrito in an EasyLunchboxes container, adding bite-sized tomatoes & sliced strawberries on the side. For a school lunch, warm the burrito in the morning, then wrap in parchment paper or foil paper before packing. Since avocados are in season, I also added some fresh guacamole & organic blue corn tortilla chips. The guacamole is homemade too. I jazzed it up with some lime juice, diced red pepper, and Zatarain’s Creole Seasoning = Cajun guacamole!

Which would lunch you rather feed your family?

The “MOMables™” burrito lunch is a winner!

This challenge shows that convenience foods often seem cheaper; but in reality, they  actually cost more per unit and  are often nutritionally incomplete. What fast food saves me in time, it costs my family in health.

It makes more sense to pack  my own meals to go, with fresh, healthy ingredients from all the food groups. MOMables menu plans make that easy, by taking the guesswork out of making a nutritionally complete lunch.


31

Lunchbox Wars: The DIY Pizza Lunch

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Today we put ones of those boxed Do-It-Yourself pizza lunches to the test. It’s easy to see the appeal of this lunch – mini pizzas the kids get to make themselves – fun! Food and interaction? definitely a plus.

What’s In The Box?

Our boxed lunch came with 4 mini pizza crusts, a portion of rubbery mozzarella (that I had to break apart), a pouch of sauce, a stack of pepperoni slices and a Capri-Sun drink. There was also supposed to be a chocolate treat – but ours was missing! How disappointing that would have been for a child.

Round 1 – Contents

Do the contents match the DIY picture?  It’s always a disappointment to watch my kid open something and when they do… it doesn’t look anything like what’s in the box.  In this case, it holds true.

My version, (shown below, packed in EasyLunchboxes),  has the same ingredients as the boxed lunch, but better quality: nitrate-free pepperoni, whole wheat bread rounds, real shredded mozzarella (not prepared cheese product), and all natural low-sodium marinara sauce.

Related: Top 5 Lunchboxes We’ve Tested

The boxed lunch sauce comes in a squeeze pouch – mine is in a recycled condiment cup, so I packed a spoon for spreading. I also added some grapes – the boxed lunch has no fruit serving.

Round 2 – Nutrition

As with the cracker lunches, the boxed pizza lunch has 30% more fat. It’s also 20% higher  in sodium and 35% higher in carbohydrates, probably because it has 55% more sugar! My lunch is higher in one thing – it has 20% more fiber. The boxed lunch does have 10% more protein than my remake, probably from the peanuts in the chocolate bar. Winner by an average of 30% less of what kids don’t need : the MOMables lunch!

Round 3 –  Overall Appeal

My girls had no interest in trying the boxed pizza lunch; primarily because the ingredients looked bland, colorless (the pizza dough) and the cheese felt rubbery.  I can’t really compare taste in this round. Both girls pointed to my lunch and shouted “I want that one!” Winner, by kid’s choice: the MOMables lunch!

The all-around winner: homemade MOMables!

Wouldn’t you rather send your kid to school with a lunch like this one?
Fresh and delicious in 10 minutes or less.

This challenge showed me that my kids know good food when they see it! Both the 3 & 5 year old chose the homemade lunch over the boxed, on sight. And the homemade version only took a few minutes to put together. You too can make your own fun, fresh & healthy “MOMables” like these, and more, with the help of MOMables menu plans!

Too busy to make school lunches? We’ve got you covered.  Lunches like this one & more in 10min!
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