This whole wheat flax baked chicken fingers recipe is a healthy twist on your childhood favourite. This delicious dinner is sure to be a hit with your whole family!
As a dietitian, I’m used to getting a lot of resistance to healthy eating.
“It doesn’t taste good.”
It’s then that I have to do a little deeper digging to find out exactly what their perception of healthy eating is – because healthy eating as I know it is far from boring! But it turns out a lot of people think healthy food means plain baked chicken with plain steamed vegetables, or something along those lines.
Well… that sounds boring to me too!
But luckily healthy eating doesn’t have to be like that. Healthy eating doesn’t even have to mean giving up your favourite foods – it just means tweaking them a little, like I did with these whole wheat flax baked chicken fingers.
I remember back in my university days I used to love the chicken fingers at the evening snack bar. So a few years ago I gave myself the challenge of creating a healthier version that still satisfied me like those cafeteria chicken fingers did. I swapped out the deep frying for baking, replaced the white breading with whole wheat breadcrumbs and flax, and probably cut down on the sodium by more than 75%! The result was these whole wheat flax baked chicken fingers that were a hit on all my taste testers!
On my chicken finger quest, I also discovered the secret to making them truly delicious: buttermilk. Buttermilk helps to tenderize the meat, giving it this wonderfully soft texture like all the best chicken fingers have. If you don’t have buttermilk, a combination of Greek yogurt mixed with milk works just as well. Either way, don’t skip this step.
The tender meat and crispy coating come together to make these whole wheat flax baked chicken fingers reminiscent of the fast food ones from your childhood but with a healthy twist. This is how I like to do healthy food – and it’s far from boring!
- Two 5-6 oz chicken breasts
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ½ cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup ground flaxseed
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp chili powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ⅓ cup all purpose flour
- 1 large egg
- Cut your chicken breasts into 3-4 long strips. Place in a large Ziploc bag with 1 cup of buttermilk and let soak in the fridge for about 3-4 hours.
- Mix together the bread crumbs, ground flaxseed, garlic powder, chili powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
- Whisk the egg in another bowl and put the flour in a third bowl.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F and get out a large baking sheet and spray it with olive oil, or whatever cooking spray you have on hand.
- Remove a chicken strip from the bag and shake off any excess buttermilk. Place in the flour bowl and turn it over so it gets coated. Then dip it in the egg and turn it over so that it gets coated. Shake off any excess egg then coat it in the breadcrumb-flax mixture. Place it on the baking sheet then repeat with the rest of the strips.
- When all the chicken strips are on the baking sheet, place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Flip over all the pieces then bake for another 10 minutes, or until a thermometer reads 165°F.
- Serve your chicken fingers with ketchup or your favourite dipping sauce!
What’s your favourite recipe that’s a healthier version of a not-so-healthy dish?