It’s safe to say chicken nuggets are a favorite of most North American kids. They are found in many restaurant’s “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.
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.
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 of 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!
MOMables menu plans provide you with healthy, fresh meals you can make in 10 minutes or less, but 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.
MOM 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!
- 1 lb ground chicken
- ¼ cup old-fashioned oats
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1 tsp Zatarain's Creole Seasoning, divided (optional) sub paprika
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ¾ cup breadcrumbs
- In large bowl, combine chicken, oatmeal, half the grated parmesan (1/8 cup), half the Zatarain's seasoning (or paprika) (1/2 tsp), garlic powder and pepper. Knead dry ingredients into ground chicken.
- Moisten hands to prevent sticking and form 1 tbsp of chicken mixture into a ball. Press into a cookie cutter for shaped nuggets or flatten with fingers for a basic nugget shape.
- In small bowl, combine breadcrumbs with remaining Zatarain's seasoning and grated parmesan.
- Press nuggets into bread crumb mixture and turn over, patting crumbs into surface to coat evenly.
- --At this point you can freeze-- or
- To bake: Preheat oven to 375° F. Arrange nuggets on cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray or lined with parchment paper. Lightly spray nuggets themselves with cooking spray or olive oil for a crispier coating (optional). Bake 15-20 minutes, turning once, and checking - don't overcook! These baked nuggets will not really brown (unless you pan fry in oil) - if browning is desired, place under broiler for a couple of minutes at the end of cooking.
MOM tip: These nuggets don’t have to be baked right away; you can 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.