When you have a kid complaining about that night's dinner, it can be oh, so tempting to pop a few chicken nuggets in the oven. But results of a Consumer Reports Health investigation might make parents think twice before doing so: according to the publication's release, most brands of nuggets - even ones made from soy - are high in fat and sodium and offer little nutritional value:
With claims like "Whole Grain," "Organic," and "100% All Natural," parents might easily assume that chicken nuggets, available frozen and refrigerated, are a healthy dinner choice. But the labels can be misleading. For example, Perdue Baked cites "whole grain breading" when in fact a single serving contains just one gram of fiber. Consumer Reports Health gave the Perdue nuggets a "Good" Rating for nutrition. Tyson's chicken nuggets use the claim "100% all natural," which is true; however, this brand of nuggets contains 17 grams of fat and 470 milligrams of sodium. Consumer Reports Health gave Tyson's nuggets a "Fair" Rating for nutrition.
Only one of 14 brands scored a “very good” rating for nutrition, but, as reported by WebMD, "it didn’t pass muster" with its panel of (6- to 17-year-old) taste tasters.
Gayle Williams, deputy editor of Consumer Reports Health, told WebMD it "wouldn't be realistic" to recommend that parents stop feeding nuggets to their children. But she wants parents to know "there probably are better food choices," and she's urging consumers to carefully read nutritional information on the packaging:
“Busy parents who are trying to get dinner on the table really do have their work cut out for them,” Williams says in the news release. “You want to feed the kids something they’ll like - and kids do like chicken nuggets - but you don’t want to overwhelm them with fat and sodium. The best you can do is keep an eye on those labels and try to round out the meal with some fruits and vegetables."
An overview of the study, which appears in the June issue of the magazine, can be found here.
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