Food of the Week: eggs

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEggs were a mainstay of breakfast when I was growing up, and I admit I didn’t much like them.  Especially fried eggs.  Then I discovered omelets and quiche, and started eating more eggs.  At about the same time, thanks to misplaced hysteria over cholesterol, eggs became pariah foods, shunned by everyone.  The author of one cake recipe even bragged that a chiffon cake was healthier because it only used egg white, and didn’t have any cholesterol.  Never mind that the recipe was loaded with butter.

The same factoids are driving the current craze for egg whites, used on (greasy, fatty) breakfast sandwiches, in baking (cakes and cookies loaded with shortening and sugar) and in omelets (gah!).  These fake eggs are pimped up with additives, flavorings, colorings, texturizers and salt to try to make them taste sort of like real eggs.  But at this point, so many people have never eaten a real egg, they think these processed egg whites are the real thing.  Not to mention, most of the nutrition from eggs is in the yolk.  Sad.

Enter real eggs: no additives needed.  Just real flavor and real texture.  Nutritionally, eggs are powerhouses:

  • very high quality protein, 6-7 grams depending on egg size
  • modest calories, 70-80 per egg depending on the size
  • no sugar
  • significant source of iron, zinc and vitamin A
  • one of the best sources of choline, on a per serving basis

The choline content is critical.  Diet surveys show that people aren’t meeting daily choline intake requirements.  Recent research hints that poor choline intake in pregnancy can affect infant brain development.  Time to ditch the processed egg white?

Not just for breakfast anymore

Real eggs have another benefit: they’re extremely easy to prepare, and a great high protein choice for quick meals.  You can put together a fast and healthy dinner with eggs and some fresh vegetables:

  1. Heat some olive oil in a sauté pan.
  2. Sauté vegetables of choice, such as onion, peppers, mushrooms, fresh spinach/kale/chard, potatoes, summer squash or tomatoes
  3. Whisk 2 eggs per person and add to the pan
  4. Cook over low heat until the eggs are cooked through (or finish cooking the top under the broiler).  Sprinkle with grated cheese, salt, pepper and a dash of your favorite herbs.

Other ideas for using eggs:

  • omelet
  • hard boiled eggs added to salads
  • scrambled egg added to a burrito
  • poached eggs on English Muffins.  If you don’t want the complication of making hollandaise sauce for Eggs Benedict, you can just have plain eggs.  Or use artichoke bottoms, or cooked greens or a thin slice of smoked salmon.

Whatever you do, take advantage of egg nutrition and use the whole egg.  Forget those fake egg white substitutes.

Copyright: All content © 2010-2018 Nutrition Strategy Advisors LLC. Photographs © Donna P Feldman, unless otherwise attributed. Reproduction or use without permission is prohibited.