Plant-based proteins are one of the most affordable options for people on a budget, but eggs come in a close second. One egg costs about $0.17 compared to an equivalent serving of beans (¼ cup), which costs about $0.06 for dried beans or $0.08 for canned beans. Not only are eggs affordable, they’re one of the most versatile foods to cook with. And despite shifting views over the past several decades, eggs are a good source of nutrition. So in honor of National Egg Month, let’s learn all about eggs!
Egg Nutrition Facts
Since we are the Family Nutrition Program, let’s start with the nutrition quality of eggs. Each egg has 6 grams of high-quality protein, with about half in the white and half in the yolk. An egg has 6 grams of total fat. Two of these grams are saturated fat, which we should limit in our diets to prevent heart disease. Eggs tend to get a bad rep because of the amount of cholesterol they contain. Studies have found that for generally healthy people, eating one whole egg a day (and as many egg whites as you want) is not associated with increased risk for heart disease. Eggs are a good source of phosphorus, selenium, vitamins A and B12, riboflavin, and choline. Eggs also provide some vitamin D, zinc, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids. Overall, eggs are very nutrient dense, meaning they provide a lot of important nutrients for the amount of calories they contain.
Eggs in Virginia
Eggs are the 13th largest agricultural product produced in Virginia. In 2012, over 700,000,000 eggs were produced by Virginia farmers. Chickens tend to lay more eggs in the spring and summer, but they’re available year-round. If you’ve ever visited a farmers market, you know that local eggs are a very popular product, one of the first things to sell out on busy days. Eggs at the farmers market a probably a little more expensive than the grocery store, but many farmers market offer matching funds for SNAP shoppers (see map), making them more affordable.
Eating Smart with Eggs
There are many different ways to cook and cook with eggs. Check out these Basic Egg Dishes from The American Egg Board. Eggs are also important ingredients for baking and holding mixed dish recipes together (like meatloaf or casseroles). My favorite part about cooking eggs is how quick most egg dishes are to prepare and cook. That’s why breakfast for dinner is always a hit on busy nights. Here are some tasty recipes featuring eggs that your family will enjoy.
- Arugula Scramble
- Avgolemono Soup
- Baked Eggs and Spinach
- Banana Pancakes with Apple Topping
- Breakfast Egg Burrito
- Broccoli and Cheddar Omelet
- Crustless Spinach Quiche
- Egg, Broccoli, and Rice Stir-Fry
- Egg Nests
- Egg Salad Sandwiches
- Eggs over Kale and Sweet Potato Grits
- Fried Rice
- Frittata Muffin
- Heavenly Deviled Eggs
- Huevos Rancheros with Fresh Salsa
- Microwave Egg and Veggie Breakfast Bowl
- Mini Breakfast Casseroles
- Migas “Crumbs”
- Spanish Omelet
- Sure to Please Baked Eggs and Cheese
- Vegetable Frittata
- Veggie Skillet Eggs
- Zesty Spinach Omelet
A note on food safety – as much as I love an over easy egg with a runny yolk, eggs should be cooked until both the white and the yolk are firm or to 160°F for mixed dishes like quiche. You can find more information on safe handling of eggs here.
What’s your favorite egg recipe? Personally, I don’t think I could decide because I love eggs in many different recipes.