October 9 is World Egg Day! Why not celebrate by learning more about this fascinating and often misunderstood food?
When it comes to complete nutrition, you can’t do much better than an egg. Eggs contain most essential vitamins and minerals including protein, vitamins B12 and D, riboflavin, and folate. Eggs are also rich in choline, which helps promote normal cell activity. A single egg contains approximately 70 calories and 6 grams of protein, which makes this food a nutritional powerhouse–perfect for sustainable snacking and a great addition to a balanced meal.
Once thought to have a negative impact on heart health, eggs are now making a well-deserved comeback. Recent adjustments to dietary guidelines indicate that for most healthy adults, eating eggs in moderation—one per day—shouldn’t have a negative effect on overall blood cholesterol or increase one’s risk of developing heart disease. Just watch your preparation method and what you serve them with—skip the fatty breakfast meats and refined, buttered breads. Instead, add more veggies to complete your meal and promote a heart-healthy diet.
Here are some additional facts about eggs:
- Eggs can come in a variety of colors, brown and white being the two most common. The color of an eggshell indicates the breed of the hen that laid the egg and doesn’t change its nutritional value.
- There are several types of eggs you might encounter at the store. Here is the terminology you might encounter when choosing eggs:
- Grade AA, A, or B: Grades determine the interior quality of the egg: AA has firm whites, fuller yolks free from defects, and clean shells. A has slightly firm whites (otherwise similar to AA), and B has flatter yolks and thinner whites.
- Sizes like jumbo, large, and medium: Size is determined by the net weight per dozen eggs.
- Cage-free: This means hens who laid these eggs weren’t housed within a cage (living conditions may vary).
- Free-range: Hens are able to roam around outdoors (regulations as to how long they’re allowed outside aren’t established).
- Certified organic: Hens are fed an organic vegetarian diet that excludes pesticides and animal byproducts, plus they are given access to the outdoors.
- Eggs can keep for 3-4 weeks after their sell-by date if properly refrigerated, making them an economical staple for quick and easy meals.
- Don’t just eat the egg whites! Half the protein and most of the egg’s vitamins and minerals are in the yolk.
- There are endless preparation options for eggs—scrambled, poached, fried, boiled. Click here to learn about some popular egg cooking methods.
Try these quick tips to add eggs to your diet in moderation:
- Mix your favorite frozen veggies and/or lean meats into scrambled eggs for a healthy and filling meal.
- You can cook your eggs in the microwave to save time! Beat one egg and combine with a splash of nonfat milk, pour into a microwave-safe container, and heat for about one minute.
- Munch on a hard-boiled egg with cracked pepper for a protein-laden snack.
- Top a piece of whole wheat toast with a slice of avocado and a fried egg.
- Add some scrambled eggs, black beans, and salsa to a small corn or whole wheat tortilla for a quick wrap.
- Make an egg sandwich with a fried egg, a slice of low-fat cheese, spinach, and tomato on a whole wheat English muffin.
- For a savory and unique breakfast dish, top some plain oatmeal with an over-easy egg and grated cheese—add your favorite spices or some hot sauce for extra flavor.
Want to incorporate more eggs into your meals? Try these healthy, tasty recipes:
For Health Advocate Members
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