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Chicken tenders (or fingers, take your pick) are a kid (and adult) favorite, at least at our house. As with all of our favorite foods, I’ve found healthier alternatives to the traditional versions as we’ve adopted a healthier diet.
Can Chicken Tenders Be a Health Food?
The first step to making fried chicken healthier is to use healthier chicken. I wrote extensively about the importance of choosing excellent protein sources in this post. The gist of it is, if the animals that you’re eating are healthy, your food will be healthier too. Chicken is an important source of B vitamins, minerals, and iron. Since I don’t have a great local source I usually order mine from Wellness Meats or Butcher Box.
The second step is to use healthier breading ingredients. Since our family usually avoids most grain products, I use seasoned almond flour to coat the chicken for these chicken fingers. It gives the chicken a nice nutty flavor, without sacrificing the crispiness essential to fried chicken.
The third step is to use a healthy fat source for frying. I prefer not to use peanut oil or canola oil, so I usually use tallow (rendered beef fat) or coconut oil. Both contain healthy fats and have a high smoke point, making them excellent for frying.
All the Ways to Enjoy Homemade Chicken Tenders
Most obviously, chicken fingers are meant to be dunked in a delicious sauce and eaten just like that. My family’s favorite dipping sauce is homemade honey mustard. But since I make a lot of my own condiments, we’ve tried a lot of different combinations and enjoyed them all. Try:
You really can’t go wrong!
The other excellent way to enjoy chicken tenders is chopped up and tossed on top of a salad. Using them in a salad lets me combine the veggies and protein all in one dish, so I don’t have to worry about cooking separate sides.
I specifically designed my Spring Salad with Berries to be topped with homemade chicken strips and drizzled with honey mustard dressing. It’s pretty delicious.
If your family loves traditional chicken fingers, give this healthier version a try! I promise, it’s easy and delicious and you won’t be disappointed.
Healthy Chicken Tenders Recipe
Delicious chicken fingers made with healthy almond flour for a grain-free, gluten-free, healthy meal that kids and adults both love.
Turn the oven on warm and place a baking sheet inside it.
Cut the chicken into strips or nuggets.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and water.
Add the chicken strips, mix well, and set aside.
In another bowl, mix together the almond flour, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
Heat the tallow or coconut oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
Once the oil is hot, remove the chicken from the egg mixture and dredge it in the almond flour mixture.
Place the chicken in a single layer in the pan of heated oil.
Cook 3-4 minutes per side or until golden brown and cooked through.
Remove from pan and place on the warm baking sheet in the oven while additional batches are cooking.
Continue cooking chicken until it is all done.
Once everything is cooked, sprinkle with additional salt and pepper and serve with honey mustard sauce.
If you don’t like to fry foods (or just don’t want the mess), you can modify the recipe by breading the chicken as you would to fry, and just placing on a well-oiled baking sheet and drizzling with olive oil before baking. Bake at 400°F for about 25 minutes.
Serving: 3chicken fingers | Calories: 386kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 45g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 190mg | Sodium: 519mg | Potassium: 670mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 171IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 82mg | Iron: 2mg
Ever made a healthy version of chicken tenders? Share below!