Eggs. Yep, they’re incredible and edible

I buy brown eggs from a local fellow who delivers them to me at work. Not only are they beautiful to look at, and extra fresh (they didn’t peel well at Easter time), but I’ve read that free range eggs rate high in nutritional value. No matter where you get your eggs they are a wonderful food.

The American Egg Board has proclaimed May as National Egg Month. States across the country will be joining in the celebration of “the incredible edible egg” and there are many reasons why the egg should be so honored.

The news about eggs and heart disease has never looked better. Three-fourths or so of Americans don’t need to be seriously concerned about dietary cholesterol. They can consume eggs and other cholesterol-containing foods without increasing their serum cholesterol levels. Individuals should consult with their physicians and dietitians to base dietary decisions.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations lists whole eggs as having a biological value (a measurement of protein quality) of 93.7 percent. This rating places eggs above milk (84.5 percent), fish (76 percent), beef (74.3 percent), soybeans (72.8 percent) and dry beans (58 percent). Due to their high-quality protein, eggs are classified with meat in the food categories with 1 egg equal to 1 ounce of lean meat, fish or poultry.

Varying amounts of 13 vitamins and many minerals are supplied by eggs. Eggs do not contain vitamin C, though this is easily remedied by serving eggs with orange juice, a tomato sauce or broccoli.

Foods which supply significant amounts of one or more nutrients compared to the calories they supply are called nutrient dense. Eggs have a high nutrient density because they provide high-quality protein and a wide range of vitamins and minerals in proportion to their calorie count. For all the nutrients it contains, a large egg has only 75 calories — a relatively low calorie count for a protein food.

Americans are eating eggs again. From a 1991 yearly low of 233.5 eggs per person, egg consumption rose to 245 per capita in 1998.

While other foods have skyrocketed in price, eggs are still a bargain. When a dozen large eggs are $1.05 a dozen (average U.S. retail price for 1998), they’re 70 a pound. That’s less than 9 an egg or a little more than 4 for each ounce of high-quality protein.

Eggs can be stored in their cartons, in the refrigerator, for about 4 to 5 weeks from the pack date without significant quality loss. In fact, properly handled and stored, eggs rarely “spoil.” If you keep them long enough, they’re more likely to simply dry up!

Many egg dishes can be prepared with little or no added fat. Combine them with low-fat dairy products and add vegetables and whole-grain products whenever possible.

We all want meals in minutes. That’s where eggs shine. A single-pan scramble, omelet or frittata can be prepared in less than 15 minutes. Depending on the ingredients you choose, these dishes can contain something from every group of the Food Guide Pyramid — making them a complete meal. Also, leftovers can be made into a delicious new meal by using them as a base for eggs.

Whether you’re concerned about a healthful diet, your food budget or your time schedule, eggs can help balance your meal plans. Eggcellent!

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