Being a busy person, I’m always looking for ways to save time on the daily tasks of running a household. So even though I try to cook meals from scratch as often as possible, I have gotten to the point where I try to keep a couple of healthy ready-to-eat items on hand, too.
Chicken is one of my family’s favorite meats to have at meals. So when I was looking for a quick chicken entree that I could keep in the freezer–for those nights that I just don’t have time to cook and the leftovers are all eaten up–Tyson’s Chicken Nuggets looked like a great solution. According to the package, these nuggets are “100 percent natural, fully cooked breast nuggets” with “no artificial ingredients.” The package went on to say the nuggets contained no trans fats, no preservatives, and no fillers. All this, in addition to Tyson being one of the most well-known brands, convinced me that their chicken nuggets would be a great choice for my family.
I’m a person who would normally buy organic chicken, given the opportunity. But organic chicken selections are few and far between when it comes to ready-to-eat meals. Organic choices aside, I look for meals or entrees that are relatively low in fat, when possible, and with much higher meat and vegetable content than starch. (I’ve found that MANY ready-to-eat entrees are stuffed full of noodles–the white flour, devoid-of-nutrition kind. This lowers the cost of production for manufacturers, but is detrimental to the nutritional content of the meal, as well.)
With Tyson’s claim that their chicken nuggets are 100 percent breast meat and their claim of minimal processing, I expected the nuggets to be mostly chicken–go figure! But what I discovered was something quite different.
What I Discovered about Tyson Chicken Nuggets
With high expectations, I bought the Tyson chicken nuggets and stuck them in my freezer for about a week until I needed them. But when I finally cooked them up for my family, I was shocked to discover how little chicken was actually in them! Not to mention, the chicken was a peculiar texture–very bread-like, and filled with bubbles and air pockets as though the chicken had been liquefied before being squired into the nugget casing. There was no moisture (juiciness) to the nuggets–and the taste of the nuggets was not very chicken-like, either.
How I Determined the Chicken Content of the Tyson Nuggets
Carefully separating the breaded coating from the chicken mixture inside, I measured each on a food scale. Using this method, I discovered that only 1/3 of the nugget was chicken mixture–the other 2/3 was breading/coating. (I call the chicken a “mixture” because, according to the box, water and natural flavor have been added. And judging by the texture, it’s obvious that a fair amount of something other than chicken has been added.)
More proof: According to the nutritional info on Tyson’s package, 88 grams of nuggets–equivalent to 5 nuggets–is a serving, and contains 12 grams of protein. An ounce (28.3 grams) of cooked chicken breast should contain about 10 grams of protein: this is nearly as much as THREE TIMES the weight of the serving of chicken nuggets. These numbers indicate that Tyson’s chicken nuggets are actually as little as 25 percent chicken, judging by where the calories are coming from.
The Final Call
If you’re expecting to buy an entree with a high protein content, Tyson Chicken Nuggets probably aren’t your best option. Despite the fact that Tyson states that they’re 100 percent all natural, this should not be misconstrued as meaning the nuggets are made of mostly chicken. I personally would not buy these nuggets for my family again.
You can perform this protein test on any food your family commonly eats–just pick up a digital food scale and measure things out for yourself. You may be surprised by what you find.