Eggs — and their yolks — are making a comeback after being banished to the nutrition naughty list for their fat and cholesterol content. For years, we believed that egg yolks raised cholesterol levels, as well as the risk of heart disease. As a result, health nuts diligently tossed the yolks, along with most of their amino acids, all of the healthy fats, and vitamins A, D, E and K that the whites are devoid of. Fortunately, scientific research has helped clear their name and, in some cases, up to an egg a day is recommended as part of a healthy diet and weight-management program.
For starters, it has long been known that protein — such as the six grams of complete protein found in one whole egg — helps prevent snacking and overeating. One study showed that subjects who consumed an egg breakfast versus a bagel not only ate fewer calories at lunch and over a 24-hour period, they were also more satisfied and less hungry than those who noshed on bagels.
The Whole Truth About The Whole Egg
If you’re still feeling uneasy about the cholesterol content, here’s the deal: while eggs are high in cholesterol, containing 212 milligrams of the recommended 300 milligrams per day, studies have shown that cholesterol in food has little to no effect on cholesterol levels in healthy individuals. The truth is, saturated and trans fats are the real bad guys, as they can have a profound impact on blood cholesterol levels and heart disease risk.
In fact, the USDA has declared that eggs actually contain 14 percent less cholesterol than reported in the past. Plus, you’re getting 26 percent of your daily value of choline, an essential nutrient that supports brain health, as well as other key nutrients, such as mood-regulating tryptophan and immunity-boosting selenium. What’s more, it was recently reported that eggs now pack 64 percent more vitamin D. However, if your LDL (bad cholesterol) is high or you have diabetes, substitute egg whites for yolks until you chat with your doc or heart specialist.
Spinach, Mushroom, Onion Mini-Frittatas Recipe
Ready in 20 minutes • Makes 3 servings (1 serving = 2 frittatas)
- 3 whole eggs
- 3 egg whites
- ½ cup nonfat milk
- 3 tbsp Parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp onion, chopped
- 3 tbsp mushrooms, chopped
- ¼ cup spinach, chopped
- 6 tsp cooked quinoa
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a muffin tin with cooking spray or line with paper cups.
- Whisk together eggs, egg whites, milk and 2 tablespoons of Parmesan. Pour into 6 muffin tins and add 1 teaspoon cooked quinoa to each.
- Divide vegetables evenly among the muffin cups, then top each with an additional sprinkle of cheese. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool before serving.
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 134, Total Fats: 6 g, Saturated Fat: 2 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 185 mg, Sodium: 235 mg, Total Carbohydrates: 5 g, Dietary Fiber: 0 g, Sugars: 3 g, Protein: 14 g, Iron: 1 mg
Tip: Two frittatas with a side of mixed greens makes for a delicious lunch that’s under five bucks.