What’s packed with protein, vitamins, minerals and nutrients and are cheap and easy to use? Eggs! Many nutritionists call eggs a “super food” because of their health benefits. But not only that, eggs are economical. With a serving of eggs costing less than 30 cents a meal, they can’t be beat for their powerful punch.
Everyone knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day but more often than not, many of us are more likely to pour a bowl of cereal than to eat anything else. Eggs, however, can be a better breakfast choice both nutritionally and economically, whether fried, scrambled or hard boiled.
Health experts point out at that the best foods to help with all-day productivity are high in protein and low in refined carbohydrates. Eggs fit this bill. Even if there were no price difference, eggs would be a much better choice over a bowl of cereal (especially the sugar-sweetened variety). However there is a substantial price difference between eggs and boxed cereal. Say you can scrounge five bowls from one box—that’s 90 cents a meal (without the milk). The current market price for eggs is 15 cents each (as of 10/15/10). A dozen eggs, though, makes six meals—for an average of 30 cents per meal for two eggs. By eating cereal over eggs, you’re spending three times as much money on a meal that’s not as healthy.
You can whip up a Tortilla Quiche (recipe from FillYourPlate.org) using Hickman’s Family Farm eggs and mix in some veggies and cheese for a healthful breakfast; scramble some eggs – again with veggies and cheese – and wrap them in a tortilla for an on the go breakfast treat; hard-boiled eggs are also a great on-the-go snack. Spend some time on the weekends to cook up a frittata, store in individual serving sizes and during the week they can just be reheated for a quick, easy meal.
In addition to being nutritional powerhouses, the protein in eggs is considered the gold standard when it comes to protein. There is the misinformation that eating eggs raises the level of “bad” cholesterol, but it is saturated fat that raises the bad levels and eggs contain very little saturated fat. Eggs contain the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, yellow/orange carotenoids that reduce risk of cataracts and age related macular degeneration. Eggs are an excellent source of choline, essential for function of all cells in the human body. Medical research also shows that women who eat at least six eggs a weak can lower their risk of breast cancer by as much as 44%.
When it comes to egg colors – white versus brown – is there a difference? According to the The American Egg Board, the answer is “no.” The color of the shell has nothing to do with the egg’s quality, nutritional value or flavor. The breed of hen determines the color of the shell. Among commercial breeds, hens with white feathers and ear lobes lay white-shelled eggs; hens with red feathers and ear lobes lay brown eggs. The reason we see more white eggs is because that’s what shoppers prefer to buy.
Do you really know how to boil an egg? Many people boil eggs for too long which leads to dry, green-tinged yolks. Here’s how to make perfect hard boiled eggs.
Arrange a dozen eggs in a saucepan, cover with 1 to 1 ½ inches of cold water, cover the pot and bring to a rolling boil. Cook for only 30 to 60 seconds; remove from heat and let eggs rest in the covered pot for 15 minutes. Drain, cover eggs with ice water for 10 minutes then drain and refrigerate them in the shell. Store the eggs in the refrigerator in a tightly covered container.
Here’s some cool facts that you might not know about eggs:
- To tell if an egg is raw or hard cooked, spin it. A hardboiled egg will easily spin.
- Double-yolked eggs usually come from young hens whose egg production cycles are not completely synchronized or by hens that are old enough to lay extra large eggs. Genetics are also a factor.
- It’s said an egg will stand on end during the spring equinox – around March 21 – one of the two times of the year when the sun crosses the equator and the day and night are equal.
- Before refrigeration, the ancient Chinese stored eggs up to several years by immersing them in a variety of mixtures such as salt and wet clay; cooked rice, salt and lime; or salt and wood ashes mixed with a tea infusion. The treated eggs bore little similarity to fresh eggs, some exhibiting greenish-gray yolks and albumen resembling brown jelly. Today, eggs preserved in this manner are enjoyed in China as a delicacy.
- You really can have egg on your face as egg whites have long been used as a facial. Egg yolks are also used in shampoos, conditioners and soaps.
- Senior National Representative for the American Egg Council, Howard Helmer, is known as the Omelet King. He holds three Guinness World Records for omelet making; fastest omelet maker (427 omelets in 30 minutes); fastest single omelet (42 seconds from whole egg to omelet); and omelet flipping (30 flips in 34 seconds).
Egg nutrition fact: Serving size: 1 large egg; Price per serving: 15 cents
Nutrition per serving: whole egg: 70 cals, 4.5 g fat, 6 g pro, 6 percent Vit A, 2 percent Calcium, 4 percent DV Iron; egg white: 17 calories, 0 fat, 3.6 g pro
Here’s a delicious recipe from the files of Hickman’s Family Farms. Their recipes demonstrate the egg’s unique ability to “move around the plate” as an ingredient in appetizers, snacks, desserts, soups, and salads – and as the star of a variety of entrees.
Tuscan Dinner Omelet
3 Jumbo Eggs
½ cup fresh zucchini
½ cup feta cheese
½ cup jack cheese
½ cup fresh tomatoes
½ cup grilled eggplant
½ cup sun dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons fresh garlic
margarine to coat non-stick pan
2 teaspoons fresh basil
(Grilling eggplant: slice eggplant and grill on barbeque about 2-3 minutes; omelet mixture: whip 3 jumbo eggs and 3 tablespoons water)
Over high heat, coat non-stick pan with butter, pour egg omelet mixture, on one side of mixture put eggplant, cheeses, sun dried tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, garlic, and zucchini tilt pan scraping and scooping egg mixture to allow cooking. Fold top over fresh ingredients, place in broiler for about 2 minutes, plate it, and for topping add more sun dried tomatoes, fresh basil, and more cheese. Serve with Arizona White wine for a delicious dinner omelet.