Easter Eggs: Excellent or Unhealthy?

Easter eggs are tons of fun to color, hide, and hunt, but did you know they also make excellent snacks? In today’s post, we’ll tell you exactly why—and offer some helpful Easter egg safety tips to protect you and your family from foodborne illnesses.

The Incredible, Edible Egg

When it comes to nutrition, eggs have a bad rap that dates back to 1968, when the American Health Association arbitrarily recommended that Americans eat no more than three eggs per week to prevent cardiovascular disease. Nutritional science has come a long way since then, and we now know that while eggs do in fact contain a large amount of dietary cholesterol, they aren’t the “bad eggs” we once thought them to be.

Here are four reasons eggs are truly incredible:

  1. Eggs are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, powerful antioxidants that help protect your eyes from developing cataracts and macular degeneration.
  1. Eggs are protein powerhouses—a single large egg contains 6-7 grams of protein and only about 80 calories.
  1. Eggs contain all nine essential amino acids, nutrients the body needs but cannot produce on its own.
  1. Eggs are chock-full of important B-vitamins, which the body uses for metabolism and for red blood cell production.

The Egg Rule

New research has shown no definitive link between moderate egg consumption and cardiovascular disease in otherwise healthy people. If you do not have any major health issues, you can eat one egg per day, up to 7 per week, without raising your risk of cardiovascular complications.

However, you can’t just eat more eggs and expect to be perfectly healthy. To truly protect your cardiovascular health and reap the nutritional benefits that eggs have to offer, you should eat them as part of an overall healthy diet. That means making smart food choices all day long—not just at breakfast!

The Egg-ception

At least one study has shown an increased risk of cardiovascular complications among participants with type 2 diabetes who eat eggs frequently. If you have type 2 diabetes, it’s best to limit your egg intake to 3 or fewer whole eggs per week.

Note that we said whole eggs. The yolk contains all of an egg’s cholesterol as well as most of its nutrients, so you can have as many egg whites as you want. A typical egg white contains 4 grams of protein and only 18 calories.

Food Safety for Easter Eggs

Hard-cooked Easter eggs can make a delicious snack once they’ve all been found, but there are steps you should take to avoid getting sick with a foodborne illness like salmonella or E. coli.

When grocery shopping, only buy eggs that have been stored in a refrigerated area. Check the “sell by” date on the carton, and take a peek inside to make sure all dozen eggs are clean and uncracked. For egg decoration, use only food-safe dyes like those found in the baking aisle or in most egg dye kits (Paas is one example).

Refrigerate your eggs as soon as possible after buying them, and store them in the back of the fridge where it’s coolest, not in the door. To keep eggs from absorbing the taste of strong odors in your fridge (like those from onions or fish), open the carton and flip each egg over so that it’s facing large-end up.

If uncracked and bought before the “sell by” date, eggs are edible up to a month after purchase. For the best flavor and cooking results, though, use them within a week.

Eggs can be safely left out at room temperature for a maximum of 2 hours, so keep your decorating session short, store eggs in the fridge until right before you’re ready to hide them, and put them back in the fridge immediately after they’ve all been found. If it’s hotter than 80° outside, you’re better off hiding them indoors; the safety window decreases to 30 minutes or less under those conditions.

Happy Easter to All of You!

That’s it for this week. We hope your eggs are excellent and your Easter is enjoyable! If you haven’t already subscribed to our bi-weekly blog, we invite you to do so now. In the weeks ahead, we’ll be covering ways to stay motivated when striving for better health, continuing our colorful Plate of Many Colors series, and celebrating Mom’s good advice on Mother’s Day. See you then!

Author: Carla Spencer

Carla Spencer is a Registered Dietitian and founder of 2 Your Health. Her extensive career working with individuals with health challenges led her to create this site dedicated to helping people enjoy their lives while working to prevent or minimize the impact of kidney disease.

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