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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Jenna Smith, Extension Educator brings you helpful tips to make meals easy, healthy and tasty!
easter egg basket

Egg-cellent Nutrition

I'm pleased to introduce guest blogger and dietetic intern at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Krystle Zuniga!

With Easter just around the corner, nearly every grocery store has eggs on sale, and I love it! I love eggs because they are inexpensive, packed with protein, and are very versatile in the kitchen. Eggs are not only a great source of protein, they also contain many nutrients such as folate, Vitamin, A, Vitamin D and choline.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Heart Association recommend consuming less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol a day. Cholesterol is found in animal products such as dairy, meat, poultry, pork, and seafood. Although eggs are high in cholesterol (186 milligrams in 1 large egg), eggs can still fit into a healthy diet. On days that you enjoy eggs, you may want to reduce your consumption of other animal products.

If you love eggs like I do, try using just the egg white. Egg whites do not contain fat or cholesterol but still contain protein and other nutrients. Make an omelet with 1 egg and 2 egg whites. You can also cut the fat and cholesterol in recipes by using 2 egg whites or ¼ cup egg substitute for 1 egg. In baking, consider adding 1 teaspoon of oil for each egg replaced to help keep baked goods tender.

Food Safety Tip!

Raw eggs can be contaminated with Salmonella, so it is important to cook and store eggs properly. Hard cooked eggs and foods made with eggs (casserole, quiche, baked goods, etc.) should reach an internal temperature of 160°F and be stored at 45°F or below.

When dyeing and decorating eggs, hard boil the eggs first. Use only food-safe dyes and return eggs to the refrigerator within 2 hours. Using hard-boiled eggs for your traditional egg hunt? Make sure that there are no cracks in the shell because bacteria can enter through the cracks and contaminate the egg. Do not leave eggs out for more than 2 hours and refrigerate immediately after the hunt. If stored properly, these colorful eggs are safe for consumption for up to 7 days.

For a quick and nutritious breakfast, try these homemade breakfast sandwiches. These sandwiches can also be frozen and quickly reheated for an easy breakfast on the go!

Breakfast Sandwich

1 egg or 1/4 cup egg white or egg substitute

1 whole grain English muffin

1 slice 2% American cheese (optional)

Chopped veggies of your choice (spinach, peppers, onions, mushrooms, etc.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray muffin pan with non-stick spray. Add 1 egg or 1/4 c egg white and veggies to each muffin tin! Cook for 10-15 minutes or until egg sets. Toast muffins. Assemble egg and cheese onto toasted muffin and enjoy!

Yield: 1 serving

To enjoy later: Let sandwich cool in freezer for 1hour. Individually wrap tightly and store in freezer. To reheat, wrap muffin in damp paper towel and defrost in microwave for 1minute; then reheat again at 100% power for 1-2 minutes.

Sources: Egg Safety Center:

Nutritional analysis per serving: Egg White Version - 175 calories, 3.5g fat, 28g carbohydrate, 8 g fiber, 15g protein. Whole Egg – 210 calories, 8g fat, 28g carbohydrate, 8g fiber, 15g protein

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