Ahhhh yes, I love a good debate. And thank goodness because being in the field of nutrition is not for the faint of heart when it comes to making sense of nutrition research and diet myths. It’s not always easy for me, a registered dietitian, to weed through the meaningful nutrition news vs. just another social media influencer making an unsupported nutrition claim.
The latest article from the Journal of the Medical Association (JAMA) involving eggs and cardiovascular risk shook the nutrition world leaving many of us wondering whether we should eliminate eggs from our diets. Short answer? No.
Here’s my long answer. First and foremost, I don’t believe in completely eliminating anything from diet unless you have medical reasons to do so (i.e. allergies, intolerances, condition-specific reasons, etc.). Although this study definitely showed some concerning data in regards to egg and cholesterol intake and cardiovascular risk, we also have to remember there are always two sides to every story. Cholesterol is something our bodies need to build cells in the body, but too much of it can cause stress on the liver and higher circulating blood levels of cholesterol. Cholesterol can be affected by many things…genetics, dietary composition, exercise, etc. When it comes to understanding cholesterol, I think a good starting point is just knowing your numbers. If you don’t know your cholesterol levels, it may not be a bad idea to get those levels checked next time you see the doctor. This helps you understand where you are at in terms of cholesterol.
This study does not tell us how these eggs were prepared (i.e. poached, scrambled, fried in butter, etc.). I.E. how much fat was used in preparation? This study also depends on a human memory for a diet recall, which can sometimes not be the most reliable. We also don’t know if an individual changed their diet at any point in the study, which would impact their results. So keep in mind there are limitations to this study.
The bottom line. I already knew eggs have a good amount of cholesterol in them (1 egg=185 milligrams cholesterol). I also know that eggs have so many nutritional benefits. Eggs have the highest quality protein content compared to other protein foods. They are jam-packed with nutrients, such as vitamin A, phosphorus, vitamin D, choline, selenium, vitamin B12, and folate. Did I mention they are also economically friendly? So where does this leave us? You’ve heard me say this before and you’ll hear me say it again.
All in moderation.
Yeah I know what you’re thinking…”boring answer”, “thanks for the insight!” LOL but seriously guys. They are lots of foods in our diet that eaten in moderation, have tremendous health benefits! Que the red meat for iron, salmon for omega 3 fatty acids, almonds for magnesium, dark chocolate for antioxidants, and the list goes on.
I will continue eating my eggs in moderation (2-3x/week) and I think you should too. But hey, you do you. Meanwhile, I’m going to celebrate by making a frittata. 🙂
Frittatas have been my go-to on Sunday mornings lately. It’s a great way to use up a large amount of eggs, leftover veggies, and whatever you feel like throwing in there! The wonderful thing about frittatas is they are also delicious any time of the day…breakfast, snack, lunch, or dinner. I made a full cast-iron which will provide my husband and I with a few breakfast and/or lunch options for the week.
My brother and sister-in-law hooked us up with about 2 dozen of these awesome local cage-free eggs. Start off by whisking your eggs with the cream and salt.
Next, chop your veggies and meat of choice. I had some onion, garlic, red skin potatoes, and roasted bell peppers sitting around, but really anything would work here. The bacon here is totally optional, but I needed to use mine up 🙂
I sauteed the bacon first, removed from the cast iron, then sauteed the veggies. I separated the veggies out a little bit with my cooking time but truthfully, you can adjust the timing as you see fit while making your own wild frittata concoction. Once the veggies are cooked, spread the cheese evenly over the veggies, and pour the egg mixture to cover. Let that baby get golden brown in the oven for about 10-12 minutes. Feel free to run it under the broiler for 1-2 minutes at the end to get the top of your frittata nice and golden brown. I hope you guys enjoy! -EAB
Roasted Red Pepper, Spinach, Feta Frittata
- 1 12-oz jar roasted red bell peppers in olive oil and garlic, chopped
- 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon, cubed
- 10 eggs I used cage-free courtesy of my in-laws chickens
- 1/3 cup heavy cream or 1/3 cup 2% milk mixed with 1 Tbsp melted butter
- 3/4 cup feta, crumbled
- 2 cups spinach, roughly chopped
- 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning ok to sub for 2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
- 2 small red skin potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp ground pepper
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk the 1/4 tsp salt (save the other 1/4 tsp for later), eggs, and cream in a small bowl. Set aside.
Once all your veggies and bacon are cubed/chopped, saute the bacon in a medium-sized cast iron skillet for about 6-8 minutes until slightly browned. Remove the bacon from the skillet onto a paper-towel covered plate to rest.
Add the potatoes to the skillet and saute on medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes. Add the onions and cook for another 5 minutes.
Next, add the bell peppers and saute for about 2 minutes. Add the spinach, garlic, Italian seasoning, rest of the salt, and black pepper. Turn the heat down to medium-low and saute for 2 minutes or until the spinach is wilted and garlic is fragrant.
Spread the cheese evenly over the top of the veggies and melt for 2 minutes. Pour the egg mixture over the veggies evenly. Let this cook for 2-3 minutes.
Place in the oven for 10-12 minutes. Add additional time in 1-2 minute time increments until the top of the frittata is a light golden brown. My total time was about 15 minutes cooking time.
Let the frittata rest for 5 minutes. Slice and enjoy!