Cara Cunningham, Community Dietitian
When we think Easter we usually think of chocolate eggs, but what about the humble hen egg which can often get bad press but is a very versatile ingredient and a handy think to have in any home. Many worry about the cholesterol found in eggs and if this will lead to higher cholesterol levels.
Many years of research have shown that blood cholesterol is affected mainly by the amount of fats, especially saturated fats we eat rather than the amount of cholesterol in foods. Although eggs do contain some saturated fat, more than half of the fat found in eggs is either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated This is why the current recommendation for eggs for the general population in up to seven eggs per week is healthy, and in those with higher cholesterol to limit egg consumption up to four eggs per week.
Eggs are an excellent source of protein which is used by the body for growth and repair of tissues. If you are a vegetarian they are a great alternative to meat as a protein food for your diet, with two eggs providing nearly one third of the daily protein required by an average women (¼ of a man’s protein needs ). They also contain the antioxidant vitamins A and E, the B vitamins B2 and B12 and also importantly one of the few dietary sources of Vitamin D, which helps keep our bones healthy. Most of us rely on sunshine to provide us with Vitamin D, but in dreary Irish weather it is good to have some foods which will be providing a boost to this!
Eggs are often forgotten in the fridge but can be used to make a meal in minutes either on their own, boiled, poached or scrambled or added to other ingredients to make dishes such as quiches, pancakes or omelette. See below recipe for Spanish omelette which is a great way to use up leftover potatoes to make a delicious dish for lunch or tea.
One dessertspoon vegetable oil
Two onions – finely chopped
One red pepper – cored and chopped
Salt/pepper as desired
Two large potatoes boiled and chopped
One dessertspoon chopped parsley
Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan, add the onions and cook until they are soft. Add the red pepper, cook for five minutes. Beat the eggs in a bowl, add salt/ pepper as desired. Stir in the potatoes, parsley and fried vegetables into the egg mixture. Pour the egg mixture back into the frying pan and spread evenly to the edge. Cook for five minutes until the egg mixture comes away from the side of the pan. Place the pan under a pre-heated moderate grill for about three minutes to cook the top of the omelette.
For more information or for more information on diet and nutrition, please contact: The Community Nutrition and Dietetic Service, HSE Dublin-Mid Leinster Tel: (044 ) 9395518 or email [email protected].