Grain-free. Gluten-free. Low-carb. Kid-friendly. Paleo. OMG delicious. These six things rarely go together, but in the case of this Paleo chicken tender recipe, you can have your cake and…well, you get the point.
This recipe is so amazingly simple, in fact, that a caveman could make these healthy chicken tenders. And since I don’t know any cavemen, I asked my 6-year-old daughter to be my sous-chef.
I didn’t only ask my daughter to help me to show you how easy it is to make this delicious recipe. You see, I’ve found that the best way to get your kids to try new foods is by inviting them into the kitchen to help prepare the meal. While chicken tenders are not new to my children, this recipe was, and even though my daughter doesn’t like either eggs or nuts, they’re both used in this recipe.
Not only does getting children to help with cooking encourage them to try new foods, it helps build a sense of autonomy and empowerment, which can have a tremendously positive impact on nutrition behaviors, eating habits, and relationships with food. I’ve found that many battles over food and eating are really battles over individualization and autonomy. Get your kids involved—at the grocery store, in the kitchen, and during the clean-up process—if you want them to eat better and have a healthier relationship with food.
Fun fact: One of America’s favorite fast food chains, McDonald’s®, can thank Tyson® for giving it the funds to create what is now known as Chicken McNuggets®, which began to appear on the menu in 1980. Dr. Robert C. Baker is credited as the innovator who “reshaped” chicken (into nuggets, dogs, and various other shapes) and the inventor of the chicken nugget. Due to his array of contributions to the poultry sciences, Dr. Baker is a member of the American Poultry Hall of Fame.
Simple Paleo Chicken Tender Recipe
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and sliced into pieces/tenders
- ½ cup raw almonds
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp water
- 1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese (optional)
- Seasonings of choice (e.g., lemon garlic, Italian, chili powder)
- Preheat your oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with foil.
- Begin by finely chopping the almonds using a food processor, blender, or nut chopper. (I used a NutriBullet® and ground the almonds into large, coarse pieces.) Be careful not to chop for too long, or you will end up with almond butter.
- Place the chopped almond pieces in a bowl or plate with edges.
- To this mixture, combine the parmesan cheese (if you’re using it) and your preferred spices. (I like to use my tried and true Lemon Garlic Seasoning from FLAVORGOD®. If you like to eat, you need to check out FLAVORGOD’s line of spices. Uh-mazing!)
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg with the water.
- Set up three stations on your counter: 1. Chicken tenders, 2. The egg mixture, and 3. The almond mixture.
- Starting with the chicken strips, dip each one, one at a time, in the egg mixture, then hold above the bowl to allow the excess to drip off. Then place the chicken into the almond mixture and coat each side evenly.
- Place each chicken strip on your baking tray, evenly spaced.
- Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, turning over halfway through. Depending on the size of your chicken, you may need to bake them longer. You can either cut into them to make sure they’re no longer pink inside, or you can test with a meat thermometer. The internal temperature should be 165F.
- Serve naked or with your favorite dipping sauce. I like to make a honey mustard dipping sauce, using 3 parts Dijon mustard to 1 part honey.
- Enjoy your delicious Paleo chicken tender creation.
Nutrition Info: (per serving)
Servings size: 3-4 chicken tenders (about 1 breast)
Servings per recipe: 2
- Calories: 225
- Fat: 13g
- Carbs: 3.5g
- Fiber: 2g
- Protein: 22g
Paleo Chicken Tenders vs. Popular Food Chain Tenders
How do the nutrition facts compare to chicken tenders from a popular fast food chain? Good question. This Paleo chicken tender recipe has:
- Over a 1/3 fewer calories.
- No trans fats, unlike the fast food version, and let’s face it, no amount of trans fats is healthy.
- Over 7 times fewer carbs, and the carbs in the fast food version are highly refined to boot.
- Twice as much fiber.
- 10% more protein.
- 95% less sodium.
Not only are they better for you, this recipe tastes better too. In fact, my two taste testers agreed, with a unanimous 2 – 0 decision for this Paleo chicken tender recipe.