*all opinions are my own, I was not paid for any brand mentions in this post.*
It's #nationaleggmonth! So let's talk eggs. Eggs are a great choice for athletes for so many reasons. They are full of a variety of nutrients, are a complete protein with an extra muscle growth boosting agent, are budget friendly, cook in minutes and go with just about anything. Convinced yet? I'm also sharing some of my favorite ways to have eggs!
The new 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends eggs as a nutritious choice across the lifespan.
Eggs are Nutritious
Eggs contain nutrients like vitamin B12, Choline, Iodine, and is one of the few natural sources of Vitamin D. Eggs also contain Lutein and Zeaxanthin, carotenoids found in the yolk that help maintain eye health. In addition, some eggs available on the market contain higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids - an essential nutrient.
One large egg provides 6 grams of high quality protein.
Eggs are Performance Boosting
A high quality protein is one that contains all of the essential amino acids - including leucine, an amino acid specifically known for its muscle growth stimulating abilities. This is why eggs are an optimal choice to add to your day to day fueling plan. You want more bang for your buck with your protein choices? Eggs are a perfect choice after your workout.
Eggs are Budget Friendly
Eggs are incredibly budget friendly. I am a forever, self-proclaimed #Aldi fan and forever will be. I have purchased eggs at some of the lowest prices I have ever purchased eggs in my life at Aldi! While the prices don't always stay crazy low, like 0.69 cents low for a dozen large eggs, they are still my go-to for cheap, yet high-quality nutrition purchase.
I compared at the same store a dozen large eggs to ~1 lb of chicken breast, a protein item similar in nutrient content:
12 dozen (1 lb) large eggs --> $1.41 or 0.12 cents per egg.
~1 lb chicken breast --> $4.19 or 0.34 cents per oz.
Eggs are Easy and Quick to Make
It takes minimal time (and dare I say skill) to cook eggs. You can bake, fry or hard-boil them for a variety of uses. If pan frying/scrambling, they can be done and ready to eat within 5 minutes! Eggs are a must for a busy athlete with minimal time to dedicate to the kitchen.
A Dietitian's Favorite Way to Use Eggs
Breakfast, lunch, dinner, EVEN snacks - eggs can fit perfectly any time of day. Here are some of my favorite ways to add this delicious and nutritious food item into my fueling plan.
Some mornings call for extra protein. I love pairing a fried egg with a yogurt bowl full of my favorite toppings. Don't forget to add some Everything But the Bagel seasoning to the egg while frying to level up the taste of that egg. If you are a spicy person - add some sriracha!
Hard-boiled eggs for the win! Yes - they are smelly. But we are all working from home still....right? Or, you may have some desk-mates you can talk about all the goodness of eggs with and convince them to join you in your hard-boiled-egg-snacking. I love to pair these with some pretzels, whole grain crackers or salty popcorn.
For lunch, I use these as a filler for egg salad, or canned fish/chicken salad to put on a salad or sandwich. YUM!
Stir Fry - yes please! This is one of my favorite "haven't-been-to-the-store-for-days" meal. I throw whatever I have in the pantry/fridge together, which is usually eggs, for this easy, delicious and nutritious dinner meal. I scramble eggs with brown rice and veggies in some sauces. Dinner is served!
Written by Maddi Osburn RDN LD
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Abdel-Aal el-SM, Akhtar H, Zaheer K, Ali R. Dietary sources of lutein and zeaxanthin carotenoids and their role in eye health. Nutrients. 2013 Apr 9;5(4):1169-85. doi: 10.3390/nu5041169. PMID: 23571649; PMCID: PMC3705341.
Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group. Sports Nutrition: A Handbook for Professionals. 6th ed., Chicago: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2017.