Last year, two of my college friends and I got together for a big, Christmas cookie baking weekend, and we had so much fun we’re planning it again for this year! All three of us have agriculture backgrounds, so it’s fun to not only bake during this time together, but to share stories of how agriculture has built up our lives and brought us together as friends.
While having fun baking during the holidays, we can celebrate agriculture and how apparent it is in all of our baking products. One of those versatile foods is the egg! And holiday baking doesn’t just include cookies and sweets. It can include eggs in recipes that are savory and healthy dishes, too.
When it comes to baking and entertaining for the holidays, it’s always helpful to have an extra dozen eggs in the kitchen. When we have our baking session this holiday, my friends and I are planning to have extra eggs - last year we ran out when decided to make another batch of cookies!
Eggs can help create versatile, nutritious and affordable baking and entertaining solutions, whether it’s a delicious quiche for brunch, a healthy snack before a party.
Do you have a favorite holiday recipe? You can share a favorite holiday baking recipe from IncredibleEgg.org – visit incredibleegg.org/recipes to explore options.
The holidays are also a time to give back. This year, America’s egg farmers’ partnership with Share Our Strength is hosting a No Kid Hungry Bake Sale to help fight childhood hunger. It started in November, but every week, America’s egg farmers will have giveaways on the Incredible Edible Egg Facebook Page. Today you’ll find a giveaway post on Facebook and each person who engages with the post will be entered to win a prize and America’s egg farmers will donate a dozen eggs on their behalf to help fight childhood hunger, up to 10,000 eggs. Prizes will be announced on Thursday! Fans can also sign up to host their own Share Our Strength Bake Sale for half a dozen additional contest entries, via this link: http://bake.nokidhungry.org/eggboard
With all of the talk of cookies this holiday season, it is a good reminder to remember that eggs are a great high-quality protein this holiday. Need a reminder of this? Just remember “The “Dozen” Days of Christmas” when humming the “The Twelve Days of Christmas” carol! Here are a dozen reasons to love eggs:
1. Now Lower in Cholesterol. According to new nutrition data from the United States Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service, eggs now have 14 percent less cholesterol (down from 215 mg to 185 mg) and 64 percent more vitamin D.[i] In addition, more than 30 years of research have concluded that healthy adults can enjoy eggs without significantly impacting their risk of heart disease.
2. Protein Power. Eggs are all natural and one of the highest quality proteins available, providing all nine essential amino acids. The high-quality protein in eggs provides the “building blocks” your body needs to grow and perform properly. The amount and quality of protein you eat directly affects muscle mass, strength and function; when eaten after exercise, protein encourages muscle tissue repair and growth.[ii]
3. Breakfast Boost. Research shows that eating high-quality protein foods for breakfast, like eggs, can help you and your family feel more energized and satisfied throughout the day as compared to eating more protein at lunch or dinner.[iii] And multiple scientific studies demonstrate the cognitive benefits of eating breakfast, such as improved memory recall time, improved grades and higher test scores.[iv] [v]
4. Eggs Make Cents. Eggs are very affordable compared to other high-quality protein foods. At just $0.15 each, eggs are the least expensive form of high-quality protein per serving in today’s marketplace.
5. Fast & Easy. An egg breakfast is quick and easy. Simply beat an egg in a small bowl or coffee mug, place on high heat in the microwave for 60 seconds and add it to a toasted whole-grain English muffin. Top with low-fat cheese and a slice of tomato for a balanced meal. It’s a speedy and satisfying start to the day that takes less than two minutes to prepare.
6. Infant Development. Eggs are an excellent source of choline, an essential nutrient that is particularly important for developing fetuses and infants. Pregnant women can help reduce the risk of certain birth defects and promote brain and memory development by getting enough choline in their diets.
7. Powerful Package. Eggs are all-natural, and one egg has lots of vitamins and minerals all for 70 calories. At 70 calories apiece, eggs are nature’s original form of portion control. A hard-cooked egg is incredibly easy to prepare and is a perfect on-the-go snack.
8. Incredible Weight Loss Results. High-quality protein, like the protein in eggs, can help overweight dieters lose weight. Recent research shows that eating eggs for breakfast can help overweight dieters lose more weight, lower their body mass index and shrink their waist more than eating a bagel breakfast of equal calories.[vi]
9. Eggs-cellent Vision. Lutein and zeaxanthin are two antioxidants found in eggs that may help prevent macular degeneration, a leading cause of age-related blindness. While eggs contain small amounts of these two nutrients, research shows that the lutein and zeaxanthin from eggs may be more bioavailable (or better utilized by the body) than from other sources with higher content, including supplements.[vii] [viii]
10. Long Lasting Energy. The protein in eggs provides steady and sustained energy because it does not cause a surge in blood sugar or insulin levels, which can lead to an energy “crash” as levels drop.[ix]
11. Essential Nutrient. Choline, an essential nutrient found in the egg’s yolk, is necessary for normal cell activity, liver function, and transporting of nutrients throughout the body. In addition, recent research has associated choline with a 24 percent reduced risk of breast cancer.9 One egg provides 125 milligrams of choline, or roughly one-quarter of the recommended daily amount for adults.
12. Eggs Give Back. America’s egg farmers not only provide quality eggs, but they give back to their communities as part of the Good Egg Project. Visit incredibleegg.org/good-egg-project to learn more.
[i] US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, 2011. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 23. Online. Available at: Nutrient Data Laboratory Home Page, http://www.ars.usda.gov/main/site_main.htm?modecode=12-35-45-00. Accessed March 14, 2011.
[ii] Layman DK, Rodriguez, NR. Egg protein as a source of power, strength and energy. Nutr Today. 44(1):43-48.
[iii] Leidy HJ, et al. High-protein meals may benefit fat oxidation and energy expenditure in individuals with higher body fat. Nutrition & Dietetics 2008;65:246-252.
[iv] Rampersaud G, et al. Breakfast habits, nutritional status, body weight, and academic performance in children and adolescents. JADA 2005;105:743-760.
[v] Pollitt E, et al. Fasting and cognition in well-and undernourished school children: a review of three experimental studies. AJCN 1998;67:779S-784S. Vander Wal JS et al , et al. Egg breakfast enhances weight loss. Int J of Obesity 2008: 32(10):1545-1551.
[vi] Vander Wal JS et al , et al. Egg breakfast enhances weight loss. Int J of Obesity 2008: 32(10):1545-1551.
[vii] Goodrow EF, et al. Consumption of one egg per day increases serum lutein and zeaxanthin concentrations in older adults without altering serum lipid and lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations. JN 2006;136(25):19-24.
[viii] Chung HY, et al. Lutein bioavailabilty is higher from lutein-enriched eggs than from supplements and spinach in men. JN 2004;134:1887-1893.
[ix] Xu X. Choline metabolism and risk of breast cancer in a population-based study. FASEB 2008; 22:1-8.