Chef Dez: A most egg-cellent addition to your meals

Everything you need to know about why it’s time to get cracking

  • Feb. 23, 2020 1:30 a.m.

Like many people at the beginning of a new year, I started a new year’s resolution to eat healthier and exercise more in 2020.

Now, nearly 2 months in, I have pretty much cut out any alcohol, try to hit the gym at least 5 days per week, and have been maintaining a balanced diet.

The word “diet” has such a negative connotation to it, because automatically it translates as “restricting foods.” However, I use the word in the context of what I eat on a daily basis: my diet of food intake. It’s human nature to crave something that we cannot have, so it is so important to have an array of foods and make them taste great, especially when they are healthy.

One of the nutritious and most multipurpose foods I include in this diet regime of mine, are eggs.

Did you know that each large chicken egg has only 70 calories, 6 grams of protein, all 9 essential amino acids, and 14 key nutrients that help maintain healthy bones, teeth, skin, and eyes? They do. And most of that nutrition, including half of the protein is in the yolk, so I always eat whole eggs. And because they are so versatile, you don’t have to be like Rocky Balboa by swallowing them raw in a glass before your workout.

I love them on their own: hard-boiled, soft boiled, fried or poached and served on a bed of steamed or grilled asparagus. When preparing fried eggs, I use a non-stick pan and only about a teaspoon of healthy fat, like avocado oil. However, this is just scratching the surface of what you can do with eggs. From baked goods to omelettes, frittatas, French toast, custards, pancakes, fresh pasta, casseroles, and sauces, and the list goes on and on.

Eggs are not just for breakfast, that is certain.

In Canada, there are currently 5 main types of eggs to choose from that are based on the 5 housing types: conventional caged eggs, enriched housing, free-run, free-range, and organic. Some of these also may include some additional nutritional properties derived from a specialized diet (there’s that word again) given to the hens. Omega-3 or Omega Pro eggs have more Omega-3 than regular eggs.

The feed contains ground flax seed, fish oil, or other DHA sources, which results in the eggs having a higher Omega-3 and DHA Content. Vitamin-Enriched eggs have more Vitamin E, Vitamin B12, and folacin than regular eggs. These hens are fed a traditional feed that contains higher levels of certain nutrients.

All the sizes of these eggs are determined by weight. Small eggs are eggs between 42 and 48 grams, medium eggs weigh 49 to 55 grams, large eggs are 56 to 62 grams, and extra-large eggs are 63 to 69 grams. Jumbo eggs include all eggs 70 grams or more in weight while peewee eggs are those eggs weighing less than 42 grams.

The best before date is printed on the carton at the time when the eggs are graded and packed, usually just a few days after they’ve been collected from the farm. It indicates how long the eggs can be kept, provided they’re properly refrigerated, and maintain their “Grade A” quality. Some people opt to keep their eggs at room temperature, but please keep in mind that this goes against professional food-safe guidelines and will drastically reduce their best before date.

So get in your kitchen and like the old saying goes, now is the time to “get cracking”!

Dear Chef Dez:

Are brown eggs healthier than white eggs?

Henry S., Chilliwack BC

Dear Henry:

No, they each share the same nutritional value. Brown eggs are laid by brown-feathered hens, and white eggs are laid by white-feathered hens. However brown eggs usually cost more than white ones because the brown-feathered hens are typically larger and require more feed.

Chef Dez is a Chef, Writer, & Host. Visit him at www.chefdez.com

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