Taking fast food and making it in a healthier way is always possible and it's fun to experiment. Today's mission was significantly improving the health score of chicken fingers and fries. I am constantly working to put the best quality food possible into our daughters. It's so important to my husband and I to give the girls the best nutrition we can to build their health, bring out their best moods (oh yes, so needed!), their best focus, and their best performance.
I'm going off on a bit of a rant here however please bear (is it bare or bear - I never know!) with me.... Almost every single time that we eat out and they hand me the kids menu I hold my breath. Occasionally I've been pleasantly surprised, however, most often I see the same old chicken fingers, hot dogs, burgers, grilled cheese (all with fries of course!), spaghetti, pizza, blah blah... Most often these offerings are not prepared with our health in mind.
Why should kids health be less important than adults? It shouldn't be. Good nutrition and being active are foundational to the happy, healthy lives that we all want for our kids! People are eating out more than ever so how can we consistently feed kids these addictive, processed foods and then expect them to want to eat the veggies and fruit after their tastebuds become accustomed to the fatty, salty, sugary foods? This really gets under my skin (in case you didn't notice) as kids nutritional future is shaped early on.
There are so many small healthy shifts that can help to make these 'kids menus' so much healthier. Using higher quality cuts of meat, including vegetables sides and even pureeing them into the mains, using brown rice, whole grain or some of the legume based pastas available today and using whole grain buns/breads go a long way in making these less than healthy kids options healthier. I love it when I order salmon and my kids devour it. More often than not we take a pass on the kids menu and order some adult meals or appetizers to share.
With more and more information on the importance of whole foods nutrition we are starting to see some positive changes - there is hope! The buy in to get the entire family eating well starts with education - explaining the 'why' when it comes to why it's so important to choose food that enhances our health. We are always voting with our dollars. The more of us that choose to skip the processed foods on the menu and make healthy requests, the more the good choices will come.
Ok rant over! The most important health tool that we can have is home cooked meals using whole food ingredients. Every time we get our kids involved in the process we are giving them the tools to prepare their own health enhancing meals. We are constantly healthifying meals over here and I wanted to share our healthy chicken tenders & fries (with side green beans of course!) with you. I always do my best to get the kids involved in the cooking process whenever possible as it increases meal time buy in and keeps them occupied while I'm trying to get it done! We hope that you enjoy this one as much as we did!
Healthified Chicken Tenders & Fries
A quick, healthy, and delicious upgrade to take out chicken tenders & fries
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- 1 package of hormone free chicken breasts cut into strips or nuggets
- 1/2 cup ground flaxseed meal
- 1/4 cup shredded real parmesan
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp ground pepper
- 2 eggs plus 2 whites
- 4 russet potatoes washed & sliced into fry shaped strips (we also use sweet potatoes)
- 2 tbsp's of coconut or olive oil
- sea salt to taste
- *cayenne pepper if you want some spicy fries!
- Preheat the oven to Broil (low to start)
- Chicken: Start by making sure that the chicken is fairly dry. In a shallow dish, crack the eggs and whisk together with the egg whites. In a glass container with a sealing lid add the ground flaxseed, parmesan, salt & pepper and shake it up. Dip the chicken strips in the egg and then cover with the dry flax/parmesan/spice mixture and lay out on a lightly sprayed cooking sheet or baking dish. Toss the cut fries in the coconut or olive oil (I use a sealed dish or bowl for this as well) and lay them out in a single layer on a sprayed baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt and cayenne if desired. Broil on low for about 15 minutes and then flip both chicken & fries. At this point, if there is moisture from the chicken drain it so that it will crisp up nicely. Cook the second side for another 10-15 minutes and then blast on high broil for 5-10 minutes or until you see that it is crispy. We always serve up our meals with a hearty portion of veggies even if it's simply crudite. Enjoy!
- We have made this without eggs too!
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