What’s really inside a chicken nugget?

IT'S A question as vexed as why did the chicken cross the road - how much chicken is in a chicken nugget?

A survey of frozen nuggets found in some of the children's mealtime staples, chicken made up just over a third of all the ingredients.

The nuggets with the most chicken were sold at Aldi, the Farmwood tempura nuggets, which are 66 per cent chicken.

There are no regulations that dictate a minimum requirement of chicken as an ingredient in a chicken nugget, and nutritionist and dietitian from Eat and Enjoy Nutrition, Rachael Bradford said some brands are confusing parents with claims on the packaging that they are made with 100 per cent Australian chicken.

Anna Wirth, 4, with a plate of nuggets. Picture: Jamie Hanson
Anna Wirth, 4, with a plate of nuggets. Picture: Jamie Hanson

 

"This is confusing for the shopper because it suggests that the chicken nugget is 100 per cent chicken, however this is not correct; 100 per cent chicken breast is used as one ingredient in the product, along with 16 other ingredients," she said.

"The amount of actual chicken in a chicken nugget ranges from 40-60 per cent."

But it isn't just the amount of chicken shoppers should be considering.

"Some supermarket brands are seven times the sodium content than fresh chicken breast, and would be double the sodium content than a homemade chicken nugget," she said. "And the fat content of supermarket chicken nugget is double the content of a homemade equivalent."

The Sunday Mail put store-bought chicken nuggets to the test.
The Sunday Mail put store-bought chicken nuggets to the test.

She recommends parents make their own nuggets.

"Using chicken tenderloins or chicken breast, coat in flour, egg and panko breadcrumbs, with a little lemon zest and fresh parsley," she said. "Place on lined baking tray and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and bake in oven."

But if you need to buy a supermarket brand, Ms Bradford said to look for at least 60 per cent chicken in the ingredients listing, preferably a mono-unsaturated oil (olive or canola), and salt content of less than 300mg per 100g.