Chicken Nuggets: Are The Ready-To-Eat Ones Actually Healthy?
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Before delving into the big question of whether a food item is healthy or not, it is important to understand what ingredients and methods go into the process of making it. Take ready-to-eat frozen chicken nuggets, for instance. Chicken is known to be packed with essential proteins, but processed chicken nuggets may be devoid of the very thing that makes it nutritious for consumption. For the unfamiliar, chicken nuggets are boneless pieces of chicken that are breaded and fried to be relished as a yummy snack. And the chicken nuggets available off the refrigerator shelves in stores or supermarkets are partially cooked and frozen before being packaged and sold as quick-to-eat foods.

All one has to do is shallow-fry them on a pan, and they are ready. This is because the meat that goes into the making of these nuggets is not completely raw but slightly cooked or browned before being turned into nuggets. Apart from the white meat, i.e., chicken, that goes into the making of these bites, there are certain fillers that are added to the mix too, which aren’t really the best things to be consumed in the long run. Preservatives like TBHQ (tertiary butylhydroquinone) and dimethylpolysiloxane are petroleum-based and anti-foaming agents, respectively, which do not harm health but, at the same time, do not contribute much to the nutritional value of the dish.

In addition, there is a thick layer of tempura batter as a coating on the nugget which is fatty and full of starch. The meat is also covered in huge amounts of starch and corn flour which doesn't contain any significant nutrients. 

High Risk Of Elevated Sodium Levels

Foods that come in packages are likely to have elevated levels of sodium, which can be detrimental to one's health. Consistently consuming excessive amounts of sodium can lead to water retention, elevated blood pressure, and various heart-related issues.

Low Protein Content

If you believe that consuming chicken nuggets means you are solely consuming protein, you are incorrect. Although chicken nuggets contain some protein, it is significantly lower than what fresh meat or plant-based alternatives can offer, which can easily be prepared at home. Typically produced using white meat, nuggets reportedly contain less than half the protein of a chicken breast, which is their primary ingredient. Conversely, chicken nuggets contain high levels of unhealthy fats.

In addition, chicken nuggets are commonly cooked in hydrogenated oils like soyabean oil, that are not recommended for regular consumption. This further increases the calorie count of the nuggets. It is advisable to consume chicken nuggets in moderation, and a healthier option is to make them at home using fresh chicken breast sans fatty fillers.