In the last couple of years, there has been a dramatic increase in self-proclaimed vegans. In the U.S. alone, vegan consumers are up 600% since 2014! Such a significant increase has caught the attention of many companies, as people are demanding plant-based alternatives to some of their favorite products. One product getting some major buzz is the vegan “chicken” nugget.
Great For Adults And Kids!
A lot of kids get a bad rap for being picky eaters, but it’s true; some just want the basics for every meal. For many, this means chicken nuggets, and if you can manage to sneak something green on their plate, you’re a superhero!
Let’s talk protein for a second, as it seems to be a topic in question for many plant-based eaters. Protein is easily attainable on a plant-based diet through grains, lentils, beans, and broccoli. These, albeit processed, plant-based meat substitutes are often high in protein and fortified with vitamins and minerals, ensuring kids are getting all the vital nutrients they need. This does not mean ‘mock meat’ or plant-based substitutes are the healthiest options, but they offer a tasty solution.
It’s Not A Diet, It’s A Lifestyle
Beyond tackling the picky eaters, plant-based meat substitutes also aid in transitioning from a meat-based diet to a vegan lifestyle. Veganism isn’t just about the food; it’s a philosophy. It is recognizing that taking from animals is unnecessary. Obviously, a big part of the lifestyle is how you fuel your body. Sometimes we crave animal-based products. When you consume something every day for years, even decades, it’s hard to give up. Meat substitutes offer a way to curb cravings without harming the animal. In 2018, in the US alone, nearly 9.5 billion chickens were killed for the meat industry. These chicken live in horrific conditions, are cramped in cages, regularly get sick and get antibiotics to keep them alive. Choosing plant-based ‘chicken’ nuggets means helping reduce this number and saving lives!
Now that you’re convinced plant-based ‘chicken’ nuggets are the way to go, which brand is right for you? It is important to learn how to read labels. Macronutrients, protein, fat, carbs, sodium, cholesterol, sugar, and fiber, all play a unique role in how balanced your food is. Understanding ingredients is a big part of this as well. All of our picks are quite balanced and cholesterol-free!
Powered By Protein
Starting out, the top contender for protein is Nuggs Chickenless Nuggets. Five nuggets provide 25g of protein! Do be careful, however, as they contain 1130mg of sodium per serving, which earns them the saltiest position on our list. Nuggs offers a unique service. Instead of Deliveroo or Uber Eats when you’re craving that midnight snack, check out Nuggs. They’re delivered to your door and you can choose between 1 box (40 nuggets), 2 boxes (80 nuggets), or 420 boxes. Yes, you read that correctly: 420 boxes for a reasonable price of $10,000. Don’t believe me: Nuggs 420.
Fat Be Gone!
For the least saturated fat and lower total fat, 365 Everyday Value Breaded Chickenless Nuggets are the way to go. While the serving size is a bit smaller, only 3 to be exact, 365 nuggets are only 130 calories (the lowest on our list), contain 5g of fat, and 0g of saturated fat. These are a great option to add to a light lunch or enhance a hearty dinner.
For The Calorie Counters
Beyond 365, BOCA’s Original Chik’n Veggie Nuggets will satisfy your junk food cravings with big flavor and few calories. Four nuggets clock in at 160 calories with only 5g of fat and 14g of protein! The sodium (780mg) is a little steep with these though, so maybe save them special occasions.
Gardein’s Crispy Golden Chick’n Nuggets offer a crispy golden “skin”, making them perfect for pairing with your favorite ketchup, mustard, BBQ, or if you’re feeling really inspired, all three! These guys offer a serving size of 5, count ‘em, 5 nuggets for 190 calories. When they’re not on your plate, you can find them in the gym pumping iron. They offer the highest iron content out of our list, giving you 20% of your recommended daily value!
I’m Only A Little Salty
Alpha Chick’n Nuggets offer you a balanced option, without a lot of additives. Four nuggets are only 180 calories, 8g of fat, and only 280mg of sodium, earning them the title of ‘Least Salty’. They are also kid-approved! So no matter your picky eater’s age, Alpha’s got you covered.
Shoot For The Stars
Last, but certainly not least, is MorningStar Chick’n Nuggets! These golden-crusted nuggets are great for dipping and dunking! Lightly seasoned and crisped, these little guys are serving up 200 calories for every 4 nuggets. They are well balanced with 9g of fat, 370mg of sodium, and 12g of protein. They look shockingly similar to the meat-based product, sure to entice any kid (at heart). From this observer’s perspective, they could give the golden arches a run for their money!
The Wrap Up
There you have it!. Seven plant-based nugget brands you can find in stores and online. In case you’re still unsure which brand is right for you, check out our brand breakdown chart below. That way, you can see the nutritional values and be sure you are getting the best option for your health and tastebuds. Enjoy!