Back To School Lunches: Super Healthy Chicken Fingers

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Heide Lang, chef and owner of the Fig Cooking School in Hamden, will be visiting the Fox CT kitchen all week to show you how to spice up your child’s lunch and give them something different when they head back to school.

On Monday, Lang prepared a healthy version of a classic favorite: chicken fingers. Here’s the recipe:

Super Healthy Chicken Fingers (serves eight)

It won’t surprise anyone who knows kids that chicken fingers are one of the top three favorite choices for children on fast food menu and at restaurants nationwide. Unlike the fatty, fast food alternative, these chicken fingers are made with whole wheat bread crumbs but are loaded with flavor and texture. Your little ones won’t know the difference and will surely want seconds!


  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg slightly beaten
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 1 cup ready-made or home-made whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup ground parmesan cheese (preferably freshly grated)
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 ½ teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest or 1 teaspoon dried lemon zest


  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Prepare a parchment-lined cookie or baking sheet and place an oven safe, stainless steel cooling rack in the middle of the sheet. The cooling rack is optional, but it will assure your chicken fingers will come out nice and crispy and that they won’t stick to the sheet.
  3. Whisk together the buttermilk and egg until mixed well.
  4. Place the chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet or heavy spoon, pound the chicken until it is about ½ inch thick. Remove the plastic wrap and season well with salt. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  5. Combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, pepper paprika and lemon zest in a medium size bowl and mix well.
  6. Spread the breadcrumb mixture over a plate or small platter.
  7. Dip the chicken in the buttermilk mixture and then dredge each piece through the breadcrumbs.
  8. Place the chicken on the cookie sheet and bake for 20 to 30 minutes until the chicken browns. Turn the chicken over halfway if the chicken has not been placed on a rack so that it browns evenly.

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