Although that ad campaign came and went, my love for eggs has never wavered. Not only because they taste so good and can be prepared in myriad ways, but also because of their protein. Protein makes up about 20 percent of a healthy body, including everything that has structure, such as our hair and skin, the enzymes that enable essential chemical reactions in the body, and the neurotransmitters that transfer information in our brain. Protein also provides about 10 percent of the body’s energy.
One egg has six grams of protein, including all of the amino acids in the proper ratios so our bodies can make full use of these nutrients. (The recommended daily allowance is 46 grams for women, 56 for men.) Eggs also offer vitamins, minerals, healthful fats and antioxidants. They are free of sugar and carbohydrates.
These are the reasons I am an egg enthusiast. Some people are never without their chocolate or their coffee; I am never without a few dozen eggs in the fridge, usually one dozen hard-boiled.
Did you know?
• The yolk and the white both have protein.
• The United States produces 75 billion eggs a year. I must not be the only person who plows through carton after carton.
• Eggs provide long-lasting energy because of the mix of protein and healthful fat.
• Fresh eggs will last in the fridge for six to eight weeks.
• Pastured eggs tend to be the most healthful, as the birds spend time outside in a pasture instead of being constantly caged in a barn. They have access to a varied and natural diet of seeds, grains and plants. Pastured eggs have been shown to be higher in vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, and lower in cholesterol and saturated fat.
Here are our favorite ways to make an egg the star of a last-minute dinner:
• Top a plate of spaghetti with sauteed garlic, breadcrumbs, a squeeze of lemon, chopped parsley and a few runny fried eggs. This is a quick weeknight meal.
• Adding an egg to a rice bowl adds extra protein and a richness of flavor.
• Top a plate of roasted vegetables with a chopped fried egg and mix together.
• Roasted potatoes pair wonderfully with a fried egg.
• Add a fried egg to polenta and sauteed greens.
• Fried eggs, sliced tomato and toast is an easy way to feed the kids on a rushed school night.
• Top a pizza with a fried egg.
• Mix chopped hard-boiled eggs into a salad.
• Add chopped hard-boiled eggs to a bowl of beans and avocado.
• Garnish a baked potato with chopped hard-boiled egg.
• Mix some avocado into egg salad.
• Wrap up beans and eggs in a burrito.
• Make a scramble with leftover veggies.
• Try a savory frittata.
• Bake a frittata in muffin cups. These make an ideal portable snack.
Seidenberg is co-founder of Nourish Schools, a Washington, D.C.-based nutrition education company.