The Healthiest Chicken Nugget Is…

Nuggets are no health food, as we discussed yesterday in our McDonald’s vs. Burger King Nuggets post. Some of you asked us if Chick-fil-A is any better?  Wendy’s? What is a healthy choice for fast food nuggets?

None! Here are 5 of our favorite community recommended options (see our facebook page) that are a good choice when you are on-the-go. They are quick to prepare, don’t make much mess, are not too expensive, and have a decent set of nutrients for you.

Still convinced chicken nuggets are a good choice?

They’re not!  When you order nuggets, you’re eating meat, breading mix and a lot of added oil, no matter what sign is on the door you walked through. True, for those of us who grew up eating them, nuggets are tasty and even a bit sentimental, but it’s time to kiss our breaded (and non-breaded) friends goodbye.

Here’s what to do next time you’re short on time and on the road:

  1. Try and locate a supermarket instead of a fast food restaurant.
  2. If you’ve got 3 kids strapped into the car and a drive through is your destination, stick to the side salads with fruit.
  3. For protein, go for a bunless burgers. Unlike nuggets they are not fried and usually have just one ingredient; meat.
  4. Mexican fast food tends to be a tiny bit healthier than burgers & fries fast food because so little of it is fried and there are more veggies and vegetarian options. (If you can find a taco truck or home-style restaurant even better.)

For those of you still wondering what is in your chicken nugget, here is the breakdown:

Wendy’s NuggetsChicken Breast, Water, Sodium Phosphates, Salt, Whey Protein Concentrate. Battered And Breaded With: Wheat Flour, Water, Bleached Wheat Flour, Salt, Modified Corn Starch, Spices, Dextrose, Leavening (sodium bicarbonate, sodium aluminum phosphate, sodium acid pyrophosphate, monocalcium phosphate), Yellow Corn Flour, Yeast, Garlic Powder, Citric Acid, Natural And Artificial Flavor, Spice Extractives, Xanthan Gum. Cooked in Vegetable Oil (soybean oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, natural flavor [vegetable], citric acid [preservative], dimethylpolysiloxane [anti-foaming agent]).

Chick-fil-A Nuggets100% natural whole breast filet, seasoning (salt, monosodium glutamate, sugar, spices, paprika), seasoned coater (enriched bleached flour [bleached wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid], sugar, salt, monosodium glutamate, nonfat milk, leavening [baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate], spice, soybean oil, color [paprika]), milk wash (water, egg, nonfat milk), peanut oil (fully refined peanut oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness and Dimethylpolysiloxane an anti-foaming agent added).

McDonald’s Nuggets: White boneless chicken, water, food starch-modified, salt, seasoning [autolyzed yeast extract, salt, wheat starch, natural flavoring (botanical source), safflower oil, dextrose, citric acid], sodium phosphates, natural flavor (botanical source), Battered and breaded with: water, enriched flour (bleached wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), yellow corn flour, bleached wheat flour, food starch-modified, salt, leavening (baking soda, sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate, calcium lactate), spices, wheat starch, dextrose, corn starch, Prepared in vegetable oil (Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness), Dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent.

BK Nuggets: Boneless chicken breast with rib meat, water, isolated oat product, potato starch, seasoning (modified corn starch, salt, maltodextrin, yeast extract, chicken stock, flavors, wheat starch, dextrose, propylene glycol and citric acid), salt, sodium phosphates. BATTERED WITH: Water, yellow corn flour, wheat flour, wheat starch, salt, leavening (sodium bicarbonate, sodium aluminum phosphate, sodium acid pyrophosphate), dextrose, spice. BREADED WITH: Wheat flour, leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate), spices, salt.  Breading set in vegetable oil.

That’s it. No more nugget posts for the near future…

  • Kimberly Doster

    Chick-fil-A has a grilled nugget kids’ meal, but adults can get them too. Chicken and seasoning (100% natural chicken breast, seasoning (salt, monosodium glutamate, sugar, spices, paprika). Add fruit, salads (which CFA has a lot of) milk, or unsweetened tea as desired.

    • anonymous

      no thanks on that, since there is still MSG in that!

  • vegan

    I make gluten-free tempeh nuggets. They are wonderful and truly hit the spot!

  • Shirley Y

    Thanks for this! I find that if I plan ahead then there is no need to stop at the local fast food restaurant.

  • Guest

    Um thank you capt obvious. We can eat a side salad with boneless skinless chicken breast as a healthy alternative to anything, anywhere. And eating that on the run? Yes, I would enjoy driving while eating a salad with canned tuna on it(gross btw). I also assume you dont have kids? Good luck getting them to eat salads all the time.

    You didnt answer the question. I googled healthiest chicken nuggets and your site is the first to come up. The question is not asking IF theyre healthy, the question is which is the least of the evils.

  • Disgusted

    They are processed…I had three kids grown and it was no excuse to stop at any fast foods junk drive through…today’s young parents are lazy..that’s an excuse…plan and take something from home…it’s better…but if you want excuses you will have a lot….look all the junk the nuggets have…go look for an excuse and eat away….whose stopping any one…but you have been educated

  • Adonna

    Chik-fil-a grilled chicken nuggets, 8 count, 140 calories and 3g of fat (1g saturated fat, 0 trans fat), 530 mg sodium VS Chik-fil-a regular chicken nuggets, 8 count, 270 calories and 13g fat (3 g saturated fat, 0 trans fat), 1060 mg sodium source: