All about EGGS!

With this week’s Nutrition Tip in mind (see below), I thought I’d write a little something about eggs, since every store gives us about 10 options when purchasing. If eggs are a part of your diet, it’s important to know the facts!

Nutrition Tip: Muscle builders! Incorporate these foods into your diet to help create strong, lean muscle during your workouts; Quinoa, spinach, broccoli, farm raised eggs, lentils, chick peas, wild rice and sweet potatoes.

I love eggs and personally feel full and satisfied after a workout when I make a big scramble. Eggs are high in protein and protein is known to help with soreness and quick muscle recovery.
However, I know that there are a lot of questions about eggs, which to buy and what their labels mean. And rightfully so! It’s important to know what all the labels mean so you can be a smart consumer and feel good about what you’re putting into your body!!

Here’s the scoop (as far as I understand it and have learned from my own research):

  • Regular eggs (no special labeling, basic grocery store eggs): Massively produced, hens in cages at all times without enough space to spread their wings, likely fed antibiotics.
  • Cage free eggsThese hens are not confined to a cage but access to the outside is not required. There are no specific regulations for what their standard of living includes or not.
  • Free range eggs: Hens are allowed access to the outside, whether they use it or not. Again, no specific regulations on how much time they are allowed outside.
  • Organic eggs: Fed only organic feed, no additives or antibiotics (unless infected). Being Certified Organic also usually requires higher standards of animal welfare.
  • Pastured eggs: These hens live on a pasture, usually free-roaming and all outdoors. Known to naturally contain more Omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Brown vs. White: Different hens lay different colors. Simply put, hens with brown feathers lay brown eggs, hens with white feathers lay white eggs. What’s inside is the same!

Just as confused as when you started reading this post?! Well, here’s my opinion. Stick to pastured and organic eggs. These terms usually mean the hens have a better quality of life and in turn, produce better eggs. The $2.00 difference is worth it! Not only are you getting more out of your eggs (usually a rich, orange yolk, higher in Omega 3s), but you can also feel good about where they came from.

You can often find eggs at local farmer’s markets where you can ask exactly how the hens are kept. I buy my eggs from a friend at work who raises hens on his property and they are the best eggs I’ve ever had! (And p.s., they come in all different shades of browns and whites!)

The final question, eggs or egg whites? Egg yolks are where the cholesterol is found. So, if you’re looking to cut down on this, egg whites might be the better option. However, if you aren’t eating a high-cholesterol diet otherwise, and are eating eggs in moderation, the yolk isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Check out this chart I found:

“As you can see from the chart, choosing straight up egg whites does lower the omelet’s calories, fat, and cholesterol content, but it also makes the meal void of vitamins B2, B12, D, and iron. If you’re concerned about getting enough of those nutrients, a good option would be to eat an omelet made of one whole egg and two egg whites. It’s still low in calories, fat, and cholesterol, but you’ll get some vitamins from the egg yolk.” (Read the rest of the article, here.)

The choices are yours! I hope this helped with some of the most frequently asked egg questions. For more detailed reading, check out these articles and websites:

“Eggs” – Organic Lifestyle Magazine
Pastured Egg info – Local Harvest.org
Interview about eggs on NPR.org

Happy eating!

-Megan

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