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Egg Safety Tips, Recipes, and Eggcetera

Everything you need to know about cooking and serving eggs -- just in time for the Easter bunny

Healthy Cooking With Eggs

Are eggs "good" or "bad" for your health? It depends on how you look at it.

On the upside, the egg white is a "complete" protein and the yolk portion contains fat-soluble vitamins (like vitamin D and vitamin A) plus other vitamins and minerals the body needs. And if you buy the new eggs that are higher in healthy omega-3 fatty acids, they contribute more omega-3s and vitamin E than regular eggs.

On the downside, each large egg yolk contains 5 grams of fat (2 grams of which are saturated) and around 213 milligrams of cholesterol.

The American Heart Association recommends that healthy adults limit cholesterol intake to less than 300 milligrams a day, and says an egg a day is OK if you don't have elevated cholesterol. If you eat just one egg yolk, you're quickly approaching this limit. Most egg-based dishes and egg breakfasts have at least two eggs' worth per serving. That means you've gone way over 300 milligrams and you haven't even finished your morning coffee! And let's not forget that we get cholesterol from other animal-food sources in a typical day.

For people with coronary artery disease, high cholesterol levels, or other cardiovascular risks, the cholesterol limits may be even stricter -- often, 200 milligrams a day.

Egg Safety Tips, Recipes, and Eggcetera cont.

So the trick to healthy egg cookery is cutting fat and cholesterol when possible while retaining flavor. Here are some ways to do that:

1. One egg goes a long way. When I'm creating or lightening bakery recipes and batters, I use only one egg whenever possible. That's because the emulsifying power of one egg yolk goes a long way. And if I can get away with one egg yolk instead of two or three, then why not? I usually add egg substitute or egg white to make up the difference so I'm still getting the protein from the eggs.

2. The half-and-half rule of thumb. In egg-based dishes like quiche or frittatas, I use half eggs and half egg substitute. That means there's enough real egg in the dish to pull it off, yet I've cut the fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol from the eggs in half.

Several brands of egg substitutes, which are made from mostly egg whites, are available in markets. I personally prefer the EggBeaters brand because it seems to perform better in recipes. Each 1/4 cup (the equivalent to 1 egg) of EggBeaters contains:

  • 30 calories
  • 6 g protein
  • 1 g carbohydrate
  • 0 g fat
  • 0 g saturated fat
  • 0 milligrams cholesterol
  • 115 milligrams sodium
  • 15% Daily Value for vitamin A and folic acid; 10% for Vitamin D; 4% for vitamin E

3. Whites can sub for substitutes. If you don't want to buy egg substitutes, you can use regular eggs without the yolks. Substitute 2 egg whites for each whole egg (or 1/4 cup of egg substitute) your recipe calls for.

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