Eggs to the res­cue

A ‘crack­ing’ idea for solv­ing those daily din­ner dilem­mas.

The New Zealand Herald - Bite - - Bite & Nz Eggs -

They’re ver­sa­tile, they pack a whop­ping nutri­tional punch and they’ve come to Claire Turn­bull’s res­cue on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions. Eggs make tasty, healthy and fill­ing meals, and there’s been many a time Healthy Food Guide nu­tri­tion­ist Turn­bull has cracked open a few to solve her din­ner dilem­mas.

“They’re a great so­lu­tion for busy peo­ple be­cause they make very quick, easy and nu­tri­tious meals,” says Turn­bull. “They are cheap and eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble and while a lot of peo­ple have this idea you’ve got to have meat for din­ner, there is ab­so­lutely noth­ing wrong with hav­ing eggs, es­pe­cially if you have next-to-no time. Whip­ping up an omelette with lots of veges is quicker and cheaper than go­ing out to get a take­away, and much bet­ter for you.

“Eggs have saved me many times, es­pe­cially when my three-year-old son is re­ally hun­gry and needs to eat straight away.”

Not only do we tend to think of eggs as breakfast food, but many of us still sub­scribe to the out­dated be­lief that eggs are bad for us be­cause they can raise lev­els of un­healthy choles­terol in the blood.

“We used to think foods con­tain­ing di­etary choles­terol, like eggs, af­fected blood choles­terol,” says Turn­bull. “But that was an as­sumed link, and more ex­ten­sive re­search has shown us di­etary choles­terol ac­tu­ally has very lit­tle im­pact on blood choles­terol. It’s sat­u­rated fat that has that neg­a­tive ef­fect.

“For the av­er­age healthy Kiwi, it is ab­so­lutely fine to en­joy eggs ev­ery day.”

There are some who do have to watch their in­take in­clud­ing those hy­per-re­spon­sive to di­etary choles­terol and an in­creased risk of heart dis­ease. The New Zealand Heart Foun­da­tion says based on cur­rent ev­i­dence, Ki­wis with in­creased risk of heart dis­ease – such as those with type 2 di­a­betes – can eat up to six eggs a week.

One of the great ben­e­fits of eggs is that they are rich in pro­tein, which can help with weight man­age­ment, says Turn­bull.

“Pro­tein-rich foods help you to feel sat­is­fied and full, so if you have eggs for breakfast you can hold out for longer be­fore you feel the need to eat again. You’re not munch­ing on a lam­ing­ton at 10 o’clock be­cause you’re hun­gry.”

As well as pro­tein, eggs con­tain a va­ri­ety of es­sen­tial vi­ta­mins, min­er­als and an­tiox­i­dants, in­clud­ing se­le­nium, fo­late, cal­cium, zinc, iron, io­dine, phos­pho­rus, bi­otin and vi­ta­mins A, B5, B12, D and E.

While the health­i­est way to eat them is to add lit­tle or no fat – such as boil­ing or poach­ing – there’s noth­ing wrong with hav­ing eggs fried in but­ter as long as it’s not ev­ery day, or you eat a lot of food fried in but­ter, Turn­bull says.

“You have to bal­ance out how you have your eggs with what the rest of your diet is like,” she says. “I fry my eggs in but­ter be­cause I don’t have them like that ev­ery day and I hardly have but­ter any­where else.

“If you eat your eggs fried with a plate full of sausages and ba­con then it’s not the health­i­est of meals. But if you have an omelette with lots of veg­eta­bles then that is much bet­ter for you.”

Some of her top sug­ges­tions for en­joy­ing eggs in­clude:

• Mak­ing omelettes. These can eas­ily be adapted for one per­son or for six. They are a great way to use up left­overs and work well with all kinds of veg­eta­bles. “I make one with grated cour­gette, le­mon zest, a bit of feta cheese and chopped mint, which is de­li­cious,” says Turn­bull. “I also make what we call pizza omelette for my lit­tle boy. I put in all sorts of veg­eta­bles and even bits of pineap­ple, then I put in a swirl of tomato paste and cut it into wedges. He loves it.”

• Boil­ing a bunch of eggs and keep­ing them in the fridge ready to go as a snack – not for­get­ting to mark the shells so you can tell the boiled eggs from the raw ones.

• Adding sliced or chopped boiled eggs to sal­ads. “I’ll make my hus­band a tuna pasta salad to take for lunch, and chop a cou­ple of eggs over the top. Adding egg to a salad is a great way of get­ting ad­di­tional pro­tein.”

• Hav­ing poached eggs with corn frit­ters. “We have toma­toes on the side, and the frit­ters are nice dipped into the eggs.”

• Mak­ing egg fried veg­eta­bles. “A friend whose dad owned a Chi­nese restau­rant showed me how to make egg fried rice and I do it with ex­tra eggs, so they are the pro­tein source rather than meat. You can then add lots of veg­eta­bles.”

• Adding herbs, spring onions, spinach, peas or corn to scram­bled eggs. “Mush­rooms also go very well with eggs.”

• Mak­ing a very thin, crepe-like omelette and us­ing it as a wrap.

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