Chicken nuggets: tasty treat, cardiac nightmare

Here’s a news flash for you.  Those deep-fried chicken nuggets your kids love have “minimal nutritional value”, according to a new investigation by Consumer Reports Health.  UK chef and food activist Jamie Oliver justifiably calls these chicken nuggets “fake food” – a creepy concoction of mechanically processed carcass, chicken skin and bread crumbs. Watch Jamie explain to a group of school children just what’s inside chicken nuggets in this must-see two-minute video.

Whether purchased in frozen packages at the grocery store or hot from fast food chains like McDonald’s, chicken nuggets pack a wallop of coronary artery-damaging fat and sodium, Consumer Reports Health says in a news release about their study.  And the brand of nuggets that ranked lowest in fat and sodium ( ‘Health is Wealth’) rated dead last in taste.

What’s more, many brands make claims that are misleading, using terms like “whole grain,” “all natural,” or “organic” –  a trick that makes some people think of the little chicken bites as healthy dinner choices, the report says.  

For instance, Consumer Reports Health claims that while one of the 12 brands of chicken nuggets insists that its chicken nuggets are “100% all natural,” one serving of its nuggets (about 3 to 4 ounces – a snack-size amount you could inhale in 20 seconds) has 270 calories, 17 grams of fat and 470 milligrams of sodium.

Even two soy-based nuggets, ‘Boca Original Meatless Chik’n’ and ‘Morningstar Farms Chik’n’, contain “a heaping” of sodium, according to Consumer Reports Health.

Read the news release from PR Newswire about this report.

Not ready to give up chicken nuggets entirely? Try this heart-healthy recipe for making your own:

Easy Low-Fat Baked Chicken Nuggets


  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup low fat buttermilk
  • 1 cup crispy cereal like Rice Krispies or corn flakes, crushed


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.Prepare three bowls: one with flour and seasonings, one with egg and buttermilk stirred together, and one with crushed cereal.

Cut chicken breasts into 1 to 1 1/2-inch pieces. Roll pieces in flour mixture. Then, piece by piece, and shaking off excess flour, dip the chicken into the milk mixture, then coat the pieces with cornflakes.

Place chicken on baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes until golden, turning them half way through.

Serve with low-sodium barbecue sauce or a fat-free ranch dressing. Or simply combine 1/4 cup of honey and 1/4 cup of mustard for a honey-mustard sauce.  Serves 4.

Per Serving: Calories 182, Calories from Fat 15, Total Fat 1.6 g (sat 0.5g), Sodium 178 mg, Carbohydrate 12.9 g, Fibre 0.4 g, Protein 28.9 g

2 thoughts on “Chicken nuggets: tasty treat, cardiac nightmare

  1. Pingback: Healthy Recipes
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