Why throw something away that’s perfectly good and nutritious? Reconsider how you’re using eggs in your dishes and recipes, and see why it’s not worth the waste.
BY: CARA HARBSTREET, MS, RD, LD
Imagine coming home from your routine grocery shopping trip. You walk through the door, drop the bags on the counter, and start unloading items to put away in the pantry, fridge or freezer. Now imagine you left half your purchases in the bag and instead of stocking them away, you put that bag in the trash bin to get rolled out to the sidewalk.
Seems crazy wasteful, right?
Well, that’s basically what happens when you only use half your eggs.
In years past, the low- or non-fat diet trends encouraged us to eliminate as much fat as possible from our meals and snacks. Fast forward to present day, and high fat diets have replaced them.
The truth is, there can be a happy medium where we don’t need to swing to such extremes. This all-or-nothing approach isn’t sustainable and sensational headlines about egg nutrition are often based on research that examines only one specific question that’s limited in scope. While this data may inform our decisions, it’s only one small factor to consider in the wider context of our eating pattern.
Let’s look a little closer at why yolks are the way to go.
1. Vitamin D
Eggs are a protein powerhouse, that’s no secret. A single large egg provides six grams of protein, nearly half of which is in the yolk! The yolk is also where you’ll find important nutrients like Vitamin D, choline, lutein and zeaxanthin.
Did you know eggs are one of the few foods that are a natural source for Vitamin D? One egg provides 6% of the Daily Value of this important nutrient. If you have low Vitamin D levels, it’s important to make sure to include as much Vitamin D-rich food sources as you can, along with enjoying time outdoors and adding a supplement, and eggs are a go-to source for quality nutrition.
Here’s something else that’s really special about eggs: they are one of the highest choline-containing foods available to us. Why is choline important? It’s involved in memory, mood, and other functions of the brain and nervous system. This is especially important for women who are pregnant because it impacts baby’s brain development. So it’s a really key nutrient, yet the vast majority (about 90%) of Americans don’t eat adequate amounts.
Two large eggs are enough to provide about half the recommended amount of choline for pregnant women. And although there are no specific recommendations for how many eggs you can have in a day, having two eggs per days has not been associated with any detrimental health effects.
3. Save money
Moving away from tossing the yolks in the trash or sending them down the garbage disposal doesn’t only mean that nutrition is no longer getting wasted, but also your money. It’s more expensive to eat the whites only because you need more eggs to get the correct volume for any recipe. While eggs are usually an affordable ingredient, that still hikes up the price and means your grocery budget doesn’t go as far.
4. Tastier satisfaction.
The fat and protein from eggs can also help with satiety during meals. It’s important to eat foods that are not only enjoyable and appetizing, but also provide the nutrition to fuel your busy days and an active lifestyle. Skipping out on that valuable nutrition just doesn’t make sense if you don’t want to be left hungry. Be sure to include a variety of foods in your meals and snacks, including eggs, to make it easier to prep simple meals that don’t take a lot of time.
Not to mention…that mouthfeel. Eating full-fat foods simply tastes better to some of us. It’s OK if you genuinely prefer the taste or texture of eggs whites but generally speaking, using the yolks in cooking creates a much tastier final dish.
As a dietitian, I have also had the fortunate experience of being able to meet some of the farmers and ranchers who produce our food. It’s been so enlightening and inspiring to hear their stories and learn how they manage their farms and treat their animals.
They put in so much care and concern to produce high-quality, safe foods, and feels like a huge disservice to them to waste such a significant amount of the end result of all their hard work.
So please go ahead, and enjoy your egg as a whole!
Adapted from the original article.
Cara Harbstreet, MS, RD, LD is a Kansas City-based Registered Dietitian helping individuals jumpstart their journey to wellness. By breaking the cycle of dieting, Cara focuses on creating sustainable lifestyle changes for people who are motivated to reclaim their health. Connect with Cara over at Street Smart Nutrition.