The nutritious rockstar you may be overlooking

  Nov 20, 2015  |  #Healthy Living

Good morning to you! I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather the last few days so I’m more than ready for the weekend. Today, the future dietitian in me wants to chat about some of my favorite healthy, little powerhouses. They are eggceptionally delicious. 🙂

I’ve been eating all my meals at home lately and I can’t believe how much I’ve used eggs. I can’t even control it. My eyes and hands have just been gravitating towards them as soon as I open the fridge. I’m like the egg monster. Between my husband and I, we’ve gone through more than two dozen this week. So, because of how much I’ve been eating eggs in all the ways, I thought it would be nice to talk about all the good things about eggs. Ready?

egg quote

I’ve written about eggs before here, but I feel like they deserve a whole post to themselves because they are amazing. And so nutritious – they contain nearly every essential nutrient we need! I’m in no way, shape or form being paid to promote eggs; this girl just loves her eggs, for many reasons. Why don’t ya grab a cup of coffee and make yourself some eggs for this post. You’ll thank me later.

Nutritional Quality of Eggs

These guys are pretty much the gold standard for biologic value and nutrient density in protein. One egg has only about 70 calories. More importantly, you’re getting so much more, but only if you eat the yolk (where all the vitamins are)! The fat (only found in the yolk) is so important in helping you absorb the fat-soluble vitamins in the egg, like A, D and E. Our culture is slowly learning to embrace healthy fats into our diets again…finally! Do not fear fat.

Let’s talk about egg nutrients:egg nutrition

  • 6 grams of high biological protein (meaning your body can utilize it easily)
  • 5 grams of fat
  • TONS of micronutrients, like iron, B-vitamins including folate, selenium, phosphorus
  • Antioxidants (lutein, zeaxanthin) which are great for eye health

Have you ever heard of choline? It’s super important for brain development and cell functioning (especially during pregnancy!) Eggs offer nearly 1/3 of your daily value. Soooo, basically, they make you smarter.

I’ve definitely noticed that I feel fuller longer when I eat eggs for breakfast. Rightfully so because they have been linked to weight loss. That’s because they help decrease your hunger hormone, ghrelin. Therefore, you feel more satisfied and are inclined to eat less later. Good stuff, right?  And, you can’t beat the nutrition in eggs for their price. Let’s say you buy a carton for ~$3.00..the price is just a whopping $0.25 per egg.

I have questions. I mean, there are so many options to choose from – cage-free, free-range, organic, Grade A, omega-3, brown, white…what the heck? Sometimes I just want the cheapest eggs, ya know? But what’s better? There are so many labels which makes shopping pretty overwhelming. So friends, I did what any curious normal person would do to investigate some differences…and went to the grocery store to look at prices and labels. And took pictures. Boo yah.

Just an FYI, grading (A, AA, B) by the Dept. of Agriculture is completely voluntary, and if companies want to pay for it, they can include it but I don’t really consider it when buying eggs. 

Okay, so let’s decipher between terms:

  • Cage Free – This really doesn’t mean too much (sadly). Cage-free just refers to hens having access to walking around inside and not being confined to cages. They may still never go outside though (poor hens!) and they can still be packed in pretty tightly (as in 1 square foot each), just not in a cage. 
  • Free Range- While this is a step up from cage free, it still doesn’t translate to ideal conditions. It just means hens have access to the outside (but this may only be for a few minutes/day). Or, the hens may not even go outside and just walk around the barn, grass, etc. Nothing is really guaranteed.
  • Organic – These actually have to abide by strict label regulations from the USDA. Because of this, I usually purchase organic eggs. These chickens are fed diets without antibiotics, synthetic pesticides and/or fertilizers. They come from uncaged hens, who have access to the outdoors but note that it doesn’t necessarily mean they go outdoors (aka free range). 
  • Omega 3 eggs – These eggs do have higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids (up to 600 mg compared to a typical egg’s 30 mg). The way they increase the omega 3’s is by adding fish oils, flax and/or algae to feed. These eggs are more expensive and in my opinion, it’s not worth it if you can add/or are already eating sufficient fish, nuts, seeds, or flax in your diet. Also, just because you see the word Omega 3, don’t assume there’s a ton in there. These hard boiled eggs, for example, only contain 70 mg, only 40 mg more than the normal egg. 

Omega 3 Omega 3 back of egg

  • White vs Brown – There’s no nutritional difference. The color is moreso determined by what the chickens are fed, and different breeds lay different colored eggs. No need to worry about this. 
  • Don’t worry about “All Natural” or “Farm Fresh” – these terms mean pretty much nothing (all eggs fit this criteria). 

As you can see, prices are quite varied depending on what you’re looking for. The cheapest was $2.00, and they were as high as $6-$7.00. [And this is at a general grocery store chain; not your typical Whole Foods or specialty, organic grocer]. I would recommend spending a couple dollars more for the organic brand. It’s more than worth the difference to me knowing there can absolutely be no pesticides or antibiotics used in their feeds.

Interested in More information?

How else can you incorporate eggs?

Eggs are so versatile and should not be limited to breakfast only. If you love breakfast for dinner, that’s a happenin’ place to throw some eggs, but also mix them in through lunches and dinners. Some ideas for eggs:

  • Hard boiled – over salads, mixed with beans/grains, or as is (snack form)
  • On/with toast or mixed with veggies

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In a high protein pancake (Check out this filling recipe from Anne). I made it for breakfast yesterday! I topped it with yogurt, cookie butter, blueberries and coconut chips, then topped it with real maple syrup. YUM. 

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Mix one in with oatmeal to thicken it up!

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Stuffed into avocado or in a sweet potato (I used this recipe)

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Or, get some egg lovin’ from frittatas or omelets!

I’ll get off my soapbox about eggs, but they are just one example that shows healthy eating doesn’t have to be costly or time consuming. I hope you find this post helpful!

 

What are your favorite egg recipes?

What kind of eggs do you buy?

 

8 responses to “The nutritious rockstar you may be overlooking

  1. I’m on the same page with you- I love eggs! I usually have them everyday and I like them in all forms! As a kid, deviled eggs were my favorite dish at any pot luck.
    I am sad to say I buy the eggs from unhappy chickens, but once I get out of school (and have a big girl income) I plan to.

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