Fans of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit may remember the scene in the underground cavern where Gollum challenges Bilbo Baggins to stump him with a riddle. One riddle he tries describes a golden treasure inside a box with no door. The answer is an egg: the golden yolk hides inside the smooth egg shell. Until recently, eggs were criticized for their high cholesterol content and eating whole eggs was discouraged. While it’s true they do contain a large portion of the daily recommendation for cholesterol (one large egg contains around 200mg), new research has shown healthy adults can eat an egg a day without increasing their chances of developing heart disease. This is good news as, despite their humble appearance, eggs are nutritionally speaking…well…incredible.
Just like soy, eggs are an inexpensive source of high quality protein. One egg contains about 7g of protein, half of which is in the albumen or egg white. All of an egg’s fat is found in the yolk, along with a number of vitamins and minerals. Eggs are good sources of B vitamins—specifically B12 and riboflavin (Vitamin B2)—which help the body use fat, protein and carbohydrates for energy. Riboflavin is also necessary for healthy skin, hair and nails, while B12 is used in creating red blood cells. Eggs also contain choline, a nutrient that may help improve memory, and are natural source of Vitamin D—essential for healthy teeth and bones (many dairy products have Vitamin D added in).
Phew, there certainly is a lot bundled into that small package. Know what else is impressive? One egg is only 75 calories. Oh, and the idea that the quality or freshness of an egg can be determined by the color of the shell is a myth. Brown eggs are just as fresh and nutritious as white eggs (and vice versa). The shell’s color is determined by the breed of chicken that laid the egg: chickens with brown feathers typically lay eggs with brown shells, while white eggs are laid by chickens with white feathers.
Scrambled, hard boiled or mixed with veggies in an omelet—what’s your favorite egg-based dish?
Individual Zucchini Frittatas
(Recipe adapted from Gourmet Magazine)
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
3 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into thin 1/8” slices
¼ tsp salt and ¼ tsp black pepper
9 eggs, beaten
½ cup scallions, sliced
2/3 cup parmesan cheese, divided
½ cup sundried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
Notes: -You will need a muffin tin for this recipe.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat a sauté pan on moderately high heat; add 1½ tbsp olive oil to pan and then add zucchini slices; season with salt and pepper. Cook zucchini, stirring occasionally, until tender (about 5 minutes). Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, scallions, ½ cup parmesan cheese, and sundried tomatoes in a bowl. With remaining ½ tbsp olive oil grease 6 muffin cups of a muffin tin.
When zucchini is finished cooking, add to egg mixture; stir to combine. Pour the mixture into a greased muffin tin and bake about 10-15 minutes; sprinkle remaining parmesan on top of each frittata and broil until cheese is melted and golden, about 1-2 minutes. Run a knife along the edges of the muffin cups to loosen the frittata.
Yield: 6 frittatas
NUTRITION INFORMATION PER SERVING (per frittata):
CALORIES: 255 calories
PROTEIN: 16 g
SODIUM: 400 mg
CARBOHYDRATE: 9 g
FIBER: 2 g
FAT: 18 g Sat Fat: 5 g
(Post content reviewed by MGH Nutrition Department. Photo credit: Alessandro Paiva)