By Joy Akey, Family and Consumer Science Agent, Yuma County
Looking for a quick, delicious, affordable food for your family that suits any part of the day? Want a perfect protein source? How about a food that naturally contains 13 different vitamins and nutrients? You can find it all in an egg!
Eggs can be a beneficial part of your family’s regular diet. They are packed with a host of nutrients including:
- protein needed for growth, strength and repair of muscle and tissue. Eggs contain the highest quality food protein known
- vitamin A important for vision, growth, cell division and immunity
- vitamin B5 needed for energy production and formation of red blood cells and certain hormones
- antioxidants vitamin E, selenium, lutein and zeaxanthin for protecting against cell damage
- vitamin B12 needed for creating red blood cells, DNA, and the function of brain and nerve cells, as well as iron, iodine and phosphorus
- choline linked to brain health and cognitive development
- one of the few foods containing vitamin D (found in the yolk) needed to help absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus
- a good source of omega-3 fatty acids
Eggs are not only nutritious, they are reasonably priced, easy to prepare and suitable for any meal. This makes them a perfect option for busy parents.
Eggs are also an ideal way to involve your child in helping in the kitchen. Depending on a child’s age, they can scramble eggs, peel hard boiled eggs, make egg salad in a baggie, prepare Eggs in a Hole for breakfast, assemble breakfast burritos, make mini breakfast pizzas, or cook microwave mug omelets.
Are brown eggs better than white eggs?
Other than appearance, there is not a difference in taste or nutritional value between various colored eggs. The color of a chicken egg is based on the hens’ genetics and can be determined by looking at the color of her earlobe which ranges from white to almost black. Hens with white earlobes lay white eggs while hens with dark earlobes lay brown eggs. There are even hens with pale green or blue lobes that lay green or blue shades of eggs!
Raw and undercooked eggs can pose a food safety risk, so it is important to carefully handle and prepare them. Eggs may contain salmonella, a germ that can cause symptoms of fever, diarrhea, vomiting and stomach cramps or a more serious illness. Sickness from salmonella can be avoided by cooking foods to the proper temperature and following food safety practices such as these:
- Eggs should be stored in the refrigerator at 40˚ F at all times until ready to use.
- Wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw eggs.
- Wash all utensils, equipment, and work surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after coming in contact with raw eggs or foods containing raw eggs.
- Fully cook eggs and egg dishes to 160˚ F.
- Consider using pasteurized eggs, especially for recipes that call for raw or lightly cooked eggs, such as homemade salad dressings or homemade ice cream that isn’t cooked.
- Leftover eggs or egg dishes should be refrigerated promptly. Do not leave them out for longer than 2 hours.
Letting kids be a part of the cooking process is a terrific opportunity to share quality time together. It is also a perfect time to teach about the importance of diet and health, reinforce food and kitchen safety, build basic cooking skills, promote creativity, and provide time to share the food they have prepared with others. For example, having your child help fix microwave mug omelets for the family could be a good time to talk about the importance of breakfast, teach and practice knife skills, visit about the different colors and kinds of vegetables that can be added and learn how to use the microwave. In addition to being recognized by others for their contribution to the meal.
Recipe for Health
Microwave Mug Omelet
- 1 egg
- 1/4 bell pepper, finely diced
- 1 slice ham, finely diced
- 1/8 cup fresh spinach, chopped
- Optional: other vegetables such as chopped onion, tomato, mushrooms
- 1/2 – 1 Tbsp. shredded cheese
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Wash hands and food contact surfaces with soap and water
- Lightly spray the inside of a microwaveable mug with cooking spray.
- Combine all ingredients in the mug.
- Wash hands again, after cracking and mixing the raw egg.
- Microwave on medium-high for about 1 ½ minutes, watching carefully to make sure the egg mixture doesn’t bubble over. Stir. Continue the cooking process for an additional 1 to 1 ½ minutes or until eggs are set. Cool slightly and enjoy!
- Refrigerate any leftovers within 2 hours of cooking.