An easter d-look at chiccy eggs

Guest Post Sally Marchini, Dietitian

As it’s Easter next weekend I thought a good topic to talk about might be eggs – not choccy eggs but chiccy eggs 🙂

Reason being that many people choose to avoid meat over the Easter period for religious reasons and eggs are an eggcellent way to help you meet your protein another nutrient requirements.  We’ll look at what nutritional qualities they contain, how many you should eat in a week and why (from a diabetes point of view), safety concerns as well as pointing you in the direction of some delicious and easy recipes.

Nutritional qualities

Did you know that eggs contain good quality protein and omega-3, 11 different vitamins and minerals (including the range of B vitamins, the fat soluble vitamins A, D and E, as well as calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron)?  Have a look at the table on the Eggs.Org.Au website for full breakdown – it’s quite awesome!

 

A myth busted

Eggs used to get a bad rap as a contributor to cholesterol problems, but we know so much more now.

The Australian Heart Foundation tells us:

“One egg has about 5 grams of fat – but most of this is the ‘good’ unsaturated fat that you need to be healthy. An egg contains only about 1.5 grams of saturated fat and no trans fat at all.

“The cholesterol in eggs has only a small insignificant effect on LDL cholesterol, especially when compared with the much greater effects that saturated and trans fats in our diet have on LDL cholesterol.

“Some people are more sensitive to dietary cholesterol. This means that their LDL cholesterol levels rise from eating foods containing cholesterol more than other people’s do. If you want to know your cholesterol level and how to manage it, talk to your doctor or an Accredited Practising Dietitian for individual advice.”

Eggs and diabetes
The main issue relating to our diabetes with eggs is that additional risk we have of cardiovascular disease (CVD).  CVD is recognised as the major cause of death for people with diabetes, and in 2012 it was estimated that about 65% of all CVD deaths in Australia were in people with diabetes or pre-diabetes. I hope the points outlined above by the Heart Foundation on cholesterol will put your mind at rest in this respect, but it pays to be aware and remember that if we follow the Australian Dietary Guidelines with a focus on fresh foods in preference to processed ones, we should be in a good place with our heart health and overall wellbeing.

How many can I eat?

The Heart Foundation advises: “All Australians, including people with diabetes or metabolic syndrome, who follow a healthy balanced diet low in saturated fat can eat up to six eggs each week without increasing their risk of cardiovascular disease. You can eat one egg most days of the week or eat a serve of eggs (two eggs) in two or three meals a week (ideally boiled, poached or scrambled using reduced, low or no fat milk).”

However, it’s also worth bearing in mind that while long-term clinical trial data is lacking, evidence from epidemiological studies suggests that people with diabetes or those at risk of diabetes shouldn’t eat an egg a day. Therefore, based on the available evidence, no more than 3 eggs a week is prudent advice for people with diabetes. So please eat them in moderation just to be on the safe side.

You’ll notice too that a large (60g) egg is only half a protein serve, so is a great addition to breakfast or lunch when you’re aiming to keep hunger at bay while managing your energy intake. Have a read of our recent blog on Protein  for more information in this respect.

Safety concerns

The Food Standards Association of Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) published a really helpful explanatory document on egg safety that you can access here.

It tells us that “Salmonella is the principal microorganism of human health concern associated with eggs and egg products. While the frequency of Salmonella-contaminated eggs in Australia is very low, there is a potential risk of illness from consumption of raw or lightly-cooked eggs, or consumption of uncooked foods containing raw egg.”

This is the main reason that eggs are required to be thoroughly cooked for people who are at risk of associated dangers such as pregnant women, the very young and the elderly.

The Victorian government’s Better Health Channel reminds us that “to enjoy eggs safely, buy clean, uncracked eggs that are within their ‘best before’ date, store them in the fridge in their carton and cook until hot all the way through. If you follow these basic food safety tips, you can significantly reduce the chances of you or your family becoming ill from bacteria in or on eggs.” This page has some really helpful tips if you have any concerns about eggs and food safety issues, including a list of foods that may contain raw egg that might surprise you!

Recipe ideas

Eggs are really one of the most perfect, versatile, quick and easy ingredients to cook with.

The Heart Foundation website makes an excellent point in telling us that “They are an essential part of any healthy eating plan and also provide a quick delicious snack when time is short. Eggs make great lunchbox fillers for adults and children and are very portable when hard boiled.”

Easy ideas that spring to mind include:

–          Poached eggs on multigrain toast

–          A veggie and legume filled omelette for a meal in a pan

–          Frittatas that are so tasty and versatile

–          Perfect boiled with a bit of curry powder and finely chopped onion as a sandwich filler

–          The old favourite of a boiled egg with wholegrain toast soldiers

–          Soft boiled eggs as part of a Salad Nicoise – my favourite!

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And there are so many pages of delicious egg recipes. Here are a few of favourites:

–          Australian Healthy Food Guide

–          Taste.com.au

–          The Heart Foundation

–          Eggs.org.au

How will you be having your eggs this Easter?  We’d love to hear you ideas, so please add them to the comments section below 🙂

Sally is owner of her private practice (Marchini Nutrition), and has had type 1 diabetes for close to 40 years and coeliac disease for many years too.

13 Comments

  1. Laurie on April 14, 2014 at 9:33 am

    Better cut back on my eggs have 2 each morning some good recipes
    Thanks Sally

  2. Sally on April 14, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Hi Laurie,
    Happy to hear it was helpful.
    Good on you for making an effort to learn about foods and your diabetes!
    Best wishes, Sally 🙂

  3. Mavis on April 14, 2014 at 11:58 am

    Great ideas for eggs for Easter. I used to have a lot of fun with our children decorating chiccy-eggs with lots of variations: e.g. hard boil the eggs and ‘paint’ with food colouring; draw on egg shell with crayon and then dip in food colouring. The traditional Greek Easter treat is red eggs – again easy with food colouring. Although a little colour may seep through the shell, the actual peeled egg will be essentially additive free.

    • Sally on April 15, 2014 at 1:04 pm

      That’s a great idea Mavis, and would keep the kids entertained for hours in the school holidays. A Win-Win! 🙂

  4. Ian on April 14, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    My favourite breakfast, as requested – unfortunately without my fantastic photograph. It takes about 10 minutes to prepare and cook:

    Oeuf en cocotte

    1) Chop 2 small rashers bacon finely (I use Götzinger American Style Rindless) and put into a microwavable bowl* with, optionally, a dash of olive oil;
    A grind of pepper, some herbs (I use an Italian mix), and some chilli (optional);
    Stir it all up so everything is coated;
    Cover loosely with a paper towel to stop spits & zap for 1 minute on high.

    2) Chop up a spring onion or 1/8th (or more) of an ordinary onion;
    Stir into the bowl till everything is coated;
    Cover loosely with a paper towel to stop spits & zap for 1 minute on high.

    3) Chop up 1/8th (or more) of a medium capsicum;
    Stir into the bowl till everything is coated;
    Cover loosely with a paper towel to stop spits & zap for 1 minute on high.

    4) Stir well and make a well in the middle;
    Break one (or two) eggs into the well – pierce the yolks with a sharp knife;
    Chop three cherry tomatoes in half and place around the edge;
    A grind of pepper and sprinkle some herbs on the egg and tomatoes;
    Sprinkle some grated parmesan cheese over the egg and tomatoes;
    You can also sprinkle a bit of smoked paprika or ground chilli on top of the cheese;
    Cover loosely with a paper towel to stop spits & zap for 2-3 minutes on medium (50%), while you go and make your cup of coffee.

    5) Let stand for a minute and, voila, oeuf en cocotte! enjoy!
    The only critical part of this is the timing for cooking the egg how you like it. It will depend on the power of your microwave. You can add/delete whatever you like – whatever is looking lonely in the vegetable crisper.
    If the egg yolk(s) break. Don’t worry. Add a dash of milk, stir everything together and cook on medium for about 2 minutes – ecco frittata! Or stir a couple of times during cooking, and, scrambled egg!

    The other day we had asparagus for dinner. I saved the ends that were chopped off, sliced them finely and added them in stage 2.

    Last week leeks were cheap and a couple of inches of leek was tossed in at stage 2.

    This week it’s got bok choy in it…. Just about the only constants are bacon (or salami / speckwurst), onion (of some sort), and eggs. Other possible additions: asparagus, aubergine, beans, bean sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, red or green capsicum, carrot, cauliflower, celery, ginger, leek, mushroom, snow peas, spinach, button squash, sugar-snap peas, tomato sauce instead of tomatoes, zucchini, … in other words, anything you like. This list only represents what I remembering adding in at various times. Depending on how quickly the added veges will cook, add them in at stage 2 or 3.

    You can also sauce it up (without the cheese) with garam masala / curry powder / turmeric to give it a sub-continental flavour, or go oriental with diced ginger / soy sauce / sesame oil / five spice powder.

    With 2 large eggs I estimate it to be about 340 Cals and 5 g carbs. Obviously more or less depending on what you chuck in.

    Your breakfast is limited only by your imagination. Enjoy!

    *I have a small 1 litre Pyrex bowl with vertical sides that I use for cooking in the microwave.

  5. Sally on April 14, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing your recipe Ian, and I can vouch for your comment that your accompanying photo in our ‘Diabetes & Food – let’s celebrate it!’ group is a fantastic photo 🙂

  6. Sandra Williams on April 14, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    Thanks Sallie – great information. Diabetes SA recently held an educational morning session and featured the virtues of eating up to 6 eggs each week eggs and eating 2-3 mushrooms each day.
    My idea if not for breakfast but as a light lunch or dinner. Simply boil 3-4 Carisma potatoes, mash them until smooth and then mix in 6-8 eggs and beat again till well mixed. Place in a well greased casserole dish, top with grated low fat cheese – low fat emmental cheese has a great nutty flavor – and bake till firm. Easy meal with crusty bread and a nice fresh salad. You could add vegies to this or nice fresh herbs but I like the simple flavors.

    • Ian on April 14, 2014 at 7:01 pm

      Sounds great Sandra. I would probably forego the bread, but I might have some of those mushrooms instead.

      • Sally on April 14, 2014 at 8:26 pm

        I love mushrooms too! They’re a magnificent vegetable 🙂

    • Sally on April 14, 2014 at 8:26 pm

      That sounds very tasty, thanks Sandra. How many serves does that recipe make?

  7. Sean on April 15, 2014 at 10:08 am

    I’m allergic to eggs so I can’t eat them.

    • Sally on April 15, 2014 at 1:03 pm

      Sorry to hear that you’re allergic to eggs Sean. Unfortunately they are one of those common foods that a surprising number of people are allergic too. Some people also choose not to eat them for other reasons, such as being vegetarian, so they’re not for everyone…

      • Sean on April 16, 2014 at 4:55 am

        When I eat eggs they make my throat swell up to the point where I can’t breath. It’s a allergy I’ve had since I was a child and 6 months ago I thought I would try one and I found out the hard way that it wasn’t just a allergy that I had as a child and would grow out of. I’m fine now. And I never knew that there were others out there who were allergic to them too.

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