In the hustle and bustle of our busy daily routines, many of us have a tendency to make food choices that meet one or most of the following qualities: quick and easy to prepare, inexpensive and satiating. Sometimes, this causes you to resort to the snack machine at the office, the candy bar aisle at Walgreens or the leftover birthday cake in the office kitchen. While these things often taste good, they tend to present the following issues:
- They may fill you up temporarily but after a quick sugar high and crash, you find yourself energy deprived and hungry before long
- They provide minimal to no nutritional benefit
- They often leave you feeling guilty and derail you from your healthy eating goals
Worry no more my friends. Nature itself has provided a fantastic, inexpensive, satiating food choice that can easily be adapted to meet the needs of your palate. I present to you, the Egg. When the Caveman inside of you begins to creep out in your episode of Hanger, the Egg is your friend.
The potential benefits the Egg can provide to your nutrition routine are numerous. For one, eggs are a great, complete source of protein, containing all of the essential amino acids. In addition to this, eggs are relatively low calorie and low fat. One large egg provides 7g of protein and approximately 5g of fat. As a higher quality protein source, eggs have been found to promote fullness and curb cravings later in the day, making a great choice for breakfast or to hold you over as a snack. Eggs are highly nutritious as well providing several B-vitamins, needed for proper metabolism function, selenium, an important vitamin antioxidant in reducing free radicals, and zinc, necessary component to many enzymes in the body needed for cell growth, the body’s immune system health, regulation of hormone production and bone health as well as metabolism of protein. Eggs are also a great source of carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin, important for eye and brain health.
When it comes to the athletic population, eggs are an egggscellent pick. As a complete protein, they help promote muscle protein synthesis and faster recovery after a hard workout. In order for your body to adapt and get faster/stronger, muscle repair is absolutely necessary. Compared to many other sources of protein, eggs are rated very high in quality and absorption rate of the protein they contain. In other words, the human body is very efficient at digesting and utilizing the protein from eggs, even more than other protein sources like soy, wheat or beef. Eggs give you more bang for your buck.
Many people have concerns with eating eggs due to the thought that consuming eggs can cause high blood lipid levels and therefore increase one’s risk for cardiovascular disease and other related conditions. In a recent meeting of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, it was listed in the draft for to-be-released 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans that dietary cholesterol is not considered a nutrient of concern as it has been previously. For those of you with concern for heart disease, diabetes or high blood lipid levels, monitoring your intake of saturated and trans fats can be more effective in controlling or reducing your risk than dietary cholesterol intake. So despite their previous bad reputation for cholesterol levels, more recent research has led us to believe that eating eggs regularly and in moderation is okay even if you have concerns for these conditions.
Moral of the story is, eggs are a nutrient-dense, satisfying choice to add to your diet. Here are a few ways you can incorporate them into your routine.
- Boil several at the beginning of the week and stash in the fridge for a quick, on-the-go snack or breakfast
- Chop boiled eggs and mix with plain greek yogurt, mayo, chopped onions & celery, and spices for a delicious egg salad
- Toss eggs in a pan to fry, throw on top of toast or english muffin for a quick egg sandwich
- Add chopped boiled eggs on top of your salad for lunch
- Want a low maintenance, quick & easy meal at the end of the day? Whisk several eggs together with salsa or chopped veggies, low-fat cheese and spices, scramble in a pan for several minutes for a yummy omelet