Dietitian reveals the fascinating reasons why children are obsessed with chicken nuggets – and it’s not because they are full of sugar

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Dietitian reveals the fascinating reasons why children are obsessed with chicken nuggets – and it’s not because they are full of sugar

It's a familiar battle for millions of parents: you serve up a nutritious dinner full of fresh vegetables - but the children push it away and demand f

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It’s a familiar battle for millions of parents: you serve up a nutritious dinner full of fresh vegetables – but the children push it away and demand frozen chicken nuggets instead.

The much-loved processed food is adored by children and adults alike, with Americans eating 2.3 billion servings of chicken nuggets annually.

Childrens’ nugget obsession became clear in early November, when Tyson Foods recalled about 30,000 pounds of dino-shaped chicken ‘Fun Nuggets’ due to traces of metal found in the patties.

Parents on social media were fraught with panic, worrying about how their children would cope without their favorite battered treat.

It has long been thought that the sky-high levels of sugar, salt and fat that’s packed into nuggets makes them irresistible to young palates. However, dietitians now say this isn’t the case.

Children and adults alike adore chicken nuggets, with Americans eating 2.3 billion servings of the food annually

Children and adults alike adore chicken nuggets, with Americans eating 2.3 billion servings of the food annually

Ali Bandier, a registered dietitian and founder of Senta Health, said the biggest factor is their bland taste.

‘Chicken nuggets do not have a strong flavor profile and can often be considered bland,’ she told Yahoo Lifestyle

‘Bland foods such as chicken nuggets, pasta and bread often appeal to kids who are sensory-sensitive, hesitant or picky eaters.’

Diana Rice, a registered dietitian from Oklahoma, added that nuggets are ‘easier to chew than other sources of protein’, such as a tough steak or chicken breast.

This is important for children, who are still getting to grips with the mechanics of eating.

Children might be cautious of more complex, multi-faceted meals, but they can ‘navigate’ nuggets, Ms Rice told Yahoo Life.

And nuggets are familiar to children.

‘Kids are acclimated to [nuggets] because we start serving it to them so young.’

Ms Bandier added: ‘Children are more accepting of the foods they are offered most frequently.

‘Chicken nuggets are usually offered much more often than meatballs, for example. This repeated exposure of chicken nuggets makes them feel safe for children.’

Some children may only eat one specific brand of nuggets, due to ‘sensory loyalty’, Ms Rice said.

‘With kids, there’s a little bit of neophobia [the fear of anything new]: What’s going to happen if I try this new thing and it’s an experience in my mouth that I don’t enjoy?’

Chicken nuggets, meanwhile, are ‘predictable.’

The experts say parents shouldn’t feel guilty for turning to the freezer on busy days. Ms Bandier says that even in nugget form, chicken, can leave kids feeling full and satiated and are a good source of protein. 

She adds that air-frying nuggets or looking for baked options with lean chicken meat may be healthier choices worth considering. 

Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk

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