In the age of convenience and not-enough-time, frozen foods like chicken nuggets have become a staple – and that goes quadruple if you’ve got kids living under your roof. But convenience aside, people are starting to wonder about the effects that all the pesticides, preservatives, hormones and other modern chemicals are having on our bodies.
If you’re looking for healthy alternatives but aren’t ready to kick your chicken nugget habit (or don’t want your kid to starve), nutritionists may have some answers for you.
The absolute best chicken nugget you can put in your cart? Bell & Evans Breaded Chicken Breast Nuggets. Like every nugget on the list, they have a simple ingredient list and are made from chicken breast meat. Bonus? The company uses organic best practices on its farm, and its chickens are never fed antibiotics.
Those are the most important things, according to registered dietician Natalie Monson. And if you’re feeding kids, you don’t even have to worry about the fat.
“With kids, I don’t worry about fat content much. Kids are intuitive… They naturally listen to their bodies and stop eating when they feel full.”
Pediatric nutrition expert and founder of FEED Nutrition Consulting Lara Field agrees, adding that “fat is not only essential for growing kids, but it also makes us feel full and satisfied. I advise parents not to fear fat from chicken thigh meat, but rather check out the purity of the product.”
Also, steer clear of products labeled “natural” and not “organic.” Organic labels are reserved for products that contain a minimum of 95% organic ingredients and no artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, or genetically modified organisms. It also must be raised without antibiotics and fed without pesticides.
Natural means essentially nothing except a claim that foods are “minimally processed.
Other recommended products are Nature Raised Farms Organic Gluten-Free Chicken Breast Nuggets, Applegate Chicken Nuggets, Ian’s Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets, Earth’s Best Chicken Nuggets for Kids, and Trader Joe’s Chicken Breast Nuggets.
Steer clear of brands like Banquet and Pilgrim’s, because even though your kids might like the taste, they’re stuffed with fillers (which means less chicken) and make no claims about antibiotics or preservatives and the like.
Bonus tip: you should care about birds being fed antibiotics because scientists suspect that consuming too many through our meats could be leading to antibiotic resistant disease.
So, there you go. Every family is going to have to make the call on where they want to spend their money and how important it is to purchase organic meats, but if you’ve decided to pull out all the stops, now you’ve got a starting point!