Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Are Eggs Getting a Bad Dairy Rap?

There seems to be a great deal of confusion about whether or not eggs are dairy products. Contrary to popular misconceptions, eggs are not considered “dairy” because they are not produced by animal mammary glands like the milk from cows and goats. However, they are an animal byproduct and this may be how the misunderstanding came about. Or the fact the eggs are usually squeezed between the milk and sour cream in the dairy case at the supermarket.

Many people do not consume eggs because of allergies, dietary restrictions, ethical beliefs, or because they are vegans. However, it’s important to note that folks who simply have milk allergies or are lactose intolerant can include eggs in their diet if they wish without suffering negative consequences.

Eggs are packed with a number of nutrients and vitamins, and are a good source of high quality protein. According to the Incredible Edible Egg site, “one egg has 13 essential vitamins and minerals in varying amounts, high-quality protein, unsaturated fats and antioxidants, all for 70 calories.”

In addition to being a crucial ingredient in countless recipes, eggs can be enjoyed in a variety of ways such as scrambled, fried, hard-boiled, and poached. Egg salad is a quick and easy delicacy that can be jazzed up with bacon, ham, and/or other meats and veggies. You can also make omelets with leftover meats and veggies. Slice hard-boiled eggs on a bagel or toasted wheat bread and top with your favorite condiment.

Studies indicate that free-range eggs contain up to one-third less cholesterol and one-fourth less fat than commercially produced eggs. While it’s true they cost more than conventionally produced supermarket eggs, the higher nutritional value may be worth the extra dollar. Organic, free-range eggs can be found at most local supermarkets, as well as health food stores such as Whole Foods and Chamberlin’s.

Safety precautions should always be taken when handling any type of foodstuff, including eggs. The Incredible Edible Egg site offers these simple food-handling practices: 
  • Clean your hands, as well as the surfaces and utensils that come into contact with raw eggs – an important step for avoiding cross-contamination.
  • Separate eggs from other foods in your grocery cart, grocery bags and in the refrigerator to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Keep eggs in the main section of the refrigerator at a temperature between 33 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit – eggs accidentally left at room temperature should be discarded after two hours, or one hour in warm weather.
Learn more about safely enjoying eggs as part of a nutritious diet by visiting their Safe Food Handling Tips page.

Copyright 2010 Charlene Davis. All rights reserved.


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