November 06, 2020
Healthy eating is easier when it’s unscrambled, so let’s take a good yolk at the facts about eggs. Are eggs good for you? Here’s the geeky details (you’d expect from me), including lots of scientific facts about eggs, including whether they’re an egg-cellent nutritious choice for you and your family. Below, enjoy egg-straordinary facts about eggs, time-saving cooking hacks, and easy recipes – plus, a few puns that may crack you up.
An egg is packed with an egg-ceptional array of nutrients, including:
*An ideal protein contains all of the essential amino acids your body uses (like Lego blocks) to build proteins, such as hormones, muscles and enzymes needed to perform everything from digestive and immune functions, to muscle strength.
**Egg yolks from chickens who eat fed enriched with marigold extract have greater lutein content.
***By enhancing the feed of hens, the eggs can be up to a 30 fold increase in omega-3 fatty acid alpha linoleic acid (ALA) content.
As a nutritionist, I am commonly asked, “Are eggs good for you?”. With all of the mixed messages out there, some say eggs are good for you, while others say eggs are bad for you. Here’s 3 myths unscrambled by research. It’s important to know the facts about eggs so you know egg-actly whether it’s a good idea for you to eat eggs.
As an egg yolk contains cholesterol it has been regarded by previous generations as a food that’s bad for your heart. This myth stems from fact: blood that contains higher levels of LDL-cholesterol, the bad cholesterol, increases your risk of heart disease. However, research has shown that the liver produces most of the cholesterol in the blood – what we eat doesn’t affect it as much as we thought. As eggs contain many healthy nutrients (discussed more below), Harvard Medical School researchers wondered how eating eggs affected people’s heart health. After following the diets of thousands of adults for decades, researchers concluded that eating up to one egg per day did not result in an increased rate of heart attacks, strokes or other cardiovascular diseases. Eggs are not bad for your heart. Ultimately, what is bad for your heart is what you put with the egg. White toast or pastries, commonly served with eggs, are a source of highly refined carbohydrates. According to researchers, these “bad carbs” cause greater damage than saturated fat. Health experts advise, to reduce your risk of heart disease, eat a diet that is rich in plants (vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, beans, whole grains), and healthy fats, while keeping your intake of saturated fat and highly refined, sugary, carbohydrate-rich foods low.
Crack some eggs open and take a look for yourself. Have you ever noticed that the colour of one farm’s egg yolks are a different colour than the next? From pale straw yellow, to a deep orange, the colour of an egg’s yolk can vary. In general, if a chicken eats plants that contain more healthy compounds, called carotenoids (red and orange pigment), their eggs will have a richer colour. In fact, when one American chef wanted a red-yolk egg to feature on his menu, local farmers were successful when their hens ate red peppers. Closer to home, I’ve found Conestoga Farms Free Run Omega-3 eggs have rich, yellow coloured yolks – their hens are fed marigold enhanced fed. The egg-spression, “You are what you eat” appears to also work for chickens and their eggs. (Sorry, that what always cracks me up).
The colour of eggs, brown or white, doesn’t determine which is the best eggs to buy. Brown eggs contain the same nutrients as white eggs. The best eggs are the fresh ones – they have the most nutritional value. The easiest way to get fresh eggs is to buy local. Why not put the chicken before the egg? (This egg-hausted dad joke is just a reminder to can keep up with your goals of eating a planet-friendly diet when buying eggs – buying local is always a planet-friendly choice.) If you’re in my neighbourhood, we are lucky to have small farms all over Ontario where you can buy fresh, local eggs. Plus, most stores carry locally produced eggs, such as Conestoga Farms too.
A lot of store eggs come from chickens living in battery barns. If this isn’t your choice, look for Free Run, Free Range, or Organic eggs. Free Run eggs come from indoor roaming hens. Free Range eggs are from hens with access to outdoor pastures. My personal favourite, are free range organic eggs. Certified Organic eggs come from free range hens who eat organic fed.
Some of these facts about eggs might make your head egg-splode. (You’ll be egg-cited to know that’s the last pun for today). Here are 5 surprising facts about eggs from how to determine if an egg is fresh, to insider tricks that will save you time when baking.
Try the float test! It’s super fun for kids of all ages (us big ones too). In a bowl of water, place your egg. If it floats, it’s fresh. (We tried this with a batch of Conestoga Farms eggs – it floated). If an egg stands on one end in water, it’s a couple of weeks old. If your egg floats, it is no longer fresh.
Some hens are fed marigold enhanced fed so that their eggs are a source of lutein. Evidence supports that lutein is good for your eyes – it improves, or may even prevent, age-related macular disease. Eating lutein looks good! This nutrient is a great antioxidant: it helps your body fight free radical damage that can disrupt structures in your body, including your skin! Researchers in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology reported that when lutein is present in skin before it’s exposed to sunlight (UV-B radiation), it offers some protection from damage.
The ultimate chocolate chip cookie requires a room temperature egg – a trick I’ve learnt after more than a few dozen disastrous cookie baking attempts. Yet, the forethought of setting eggs out on the counter so they are room temperature never seems to happen in my busy mom life. Here’s a great egg hack that saves time in the kitchen. Put your cold egg(s) into a glass of warm tap water for a few minutes. This will quickly bring them to room temperature. You’ll know it’s at the right temperature when it no longer feels cold when touched. Happy baking!
When it comes to cooking the perfect soft-boiled egg, the size of the egg matters. Typically, 6 minutes in a covered pot of 1” of lightly simmering water will give you a perfectly gooey, soft-boiled egg. However, if your egg is big, you will find you need to leave it in the hot water for an extra 30 seconds. Hard boiled eggs are usually perfect when they are left in the simmering water for 10 minutes. No matter how long you boil your eggs, if you quickly cool then in a cold-water bath it helps prevent any grey colour forming around the egg yolk. Hard boiled eggs are an awesome protein option next time you’re filling a lunch bag. There’s even prepackaged eggs, like Conestoga Farms Free Run On the Run hard boiled and peeled eggs.
Serving up eggs more often may make your kids happy. Not only are eggs inexpensive, easy to cook, and ready within minutes, they contain nutrients known to be important for children’s brain development. Eggs contain a nutrient called choline that is known to have brain health promoting effects. Choline is needed for parts of the brain involved in learning and memory. More importantly, in my house, we agree with researchers who found a protein-filled egg breakfast reduces kids’ hunger factor. We love how protein-rich meals help us keep the kids feeling fuelled, happy and avoiding any miserable ‘hangry’ moments. Omelettes are one of this mom’s favourites. From my family to yours, here are some tips and tricks for making a Kid-Approved Omelette…
Omelettes simply don’t get the crack of the credit they deserve. Omelettes are the best breakfast: simple, quick, cheap, and one of the best source of protein! When cooked perfectly, they are absolutely gorgeous. Here’s how:
1. On a medium heat, warm up a medium sized, non-stick or cast-iron pan with a bit of extra virgin olive oil in it.
EGGHACK: Cooking eggs at too high a heat can make them brown and crispy. Don’t rush an egg, my friends.
2. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whip together 2 eggs (when both of my kids are eating it, I’ll use 4 eggs so I can simply cut the omelette in two and save time in the kitchen).
3. Make sure the bottom of the pan is coated with oil.
4. Pour the whipped eggs into the heated pan. Using a fork, you can pull the eggs from the edges of the pan inward for the first 20 seconds, and then gently tip the pan so the runny part of the egg fills in the wholes created by the fork.
5. Turn the heat down a bit. Grate some cheese over the omelette. Sprinkle on some vegetables.
6. On lower heat, let the omelette continue to cook for about 30-45 seconds, just until the softness of the eggs change into a more solid, yet still fluffy texture.
7. Go around the edges gently with a broad, flat spatula to dislodge it.
8. Tilt the pan, slip your spatula under one edge, and flip it over in half. Let sit for another 15-30 seconds in the pan to finish cooking.
9. Remove from pan. Optional additional flip creates a fun triangle shape.
10. Top the omelette with your kids’ favourite plants: chives, herbs, fresh tomatoes, or chopped green onions. Serve with a side of fresh fruit, and whole grain bread.
NUTRITION HACK: Add in finely chopped vegetables (yellow beans, bell peppers, mushrooms, green onions) or, cooked green peas to boost the nutritional diversity of this meal. For a crunchy texture, add them onto the eggs with the grated cheese. For a softer texture to your vegetables, sauté the vegetables first in the pan for 5 minutes, remove and then start cooking the omelette.
This post was in paid partnership with Conestoga Farms.
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