Eggs are one of the best foods you can eat–especially if you’ve embarked on the weight loss journey. Eggs are packed with protein, are relatively inexpensive, and offer weight-loss-friendly nutrients such as vitamin B12. Not to mention, they are also incredibly versatile and can be paired and cooked with nearly everything! You can cook them in many ways for breakfast, lunch, and even dinner. Eggs are also a time-crunched dieter’s dream, as they can be prepared ahead of time, stored in the fridge or freezer, and are portable.
However, what about the small factor of the dreaded cholesterol embedded in these delicious eggs? For years, doctors have recommended that people eat only egg whites to lower their cholesterol, or at times advised they avoid eggs altogether. This is junk science, said registered dietitian Tony Stephan, R.D., author of the 6-Week Women’s Nutrition Reset Challenge. “I tell my clients to use whole eggs,” he explained. “The yolks are actually good for you.”
Let’s not forget that our bodies need cholesterol. Cholesterol is used to balance hormones, make vitamin D, and help digest foods, according to the National Institute of Health, and recent studies have questioned the connection between dietary cholesterol and heart disease. The latest recommendations remove the cap for daily dietary cholesterol altogether. Egg lovers can rejoice, as there is no connection between eating eggs and an increase in heart attacks, according to Harvard experts.
Putting aside the feared cholesterol question aside, egg yolks are a great source of vitamins A, D, E and K, lutein, choline, and healthy omega-3 fats–none of which are found in egg whites. But don’t be so quick to overlook the egg whites, as they carry most of the protein in the egg, as well as nutrients like potassium.
Knowing that eggs are both nutritious and delicious, the question now becomes: what is the best way to eat them? Dietitian Tony Stephan ranked the following seven different methods of preparing eggs from least to most weight-loss-friendly.
7. Eggs Benedict
Steer clear of this dish if you’re looking for a healthy option, advised Stephan. “Eggs Benedict would be the highest calorie dish out of these options,” he said. “English muffins can pack a lot of carbs, plus the bacon and hollandaise sauce can add in a lot of extra calories from fat.” Traditional eggs Benedict pack more than 600 calories and 40 grams of fat. Eating this dish won’t cause severe damage; just remember to eat it in moderation.
This egg-filled pie is widely considered a brunch classic, and with good reason, as the mix of eggs, vegetables, meats, and spices nestled in a flaky crust is mouthwatering. But you might want to cut back on the quiche, mentioned Stephan. “A quiche can have healthy veggies and protein in it, but the extra calories from the milk, cream, and flour can really add up fast,” said Stephan.
Who would have ever imagined the delicious creation that could come from mixing veggies, cheese, and meats into eggs and baking them together? The problem with frittatas is that you can quickly go over the top with extra ingredients, said Stephan. For a healthier version, try cooking your frittata with fewer ingredients to avoid additional carbs and calories.
4. Fried Eggs
You can boil them, bake them, and yes, you guessed it–fry them! These various cooking options allow you to pack your eggs with tons of flavor. However, it is important to note that by frying eggs in calorie and fat-packed butter or oil, you can easily double the number of calories in that dish. Be sure to fry them using zero calorie cooking spray. You’ll keep the taste and lose the extra calories.Related: Why You Should Never Store Eggs in This Part of The Fridge
3. Scrambled Eggs
The easiest and quite possibly the most common way to eat eggs for breakfast is scrambled. Simply add eggs to a hot pan and stir until cooked through. You can eat them plain, which puts them on par health and nutrition-wise with a boiled egg. But there are people who prefer to add a little flavor to their eggs. You can add chopped veggies or a handful of spinach, Stephan said. Adding cheese is also fine, but be sure to watch your serving size. A slice of chopped ham can also add quick flavor and extra protein. Expect roughly 300 calories, 25 grams of protein, and 20 grams of fat. The majority of the carbs and fiber will come from the added vegetables.
The trick is to think “packed with healthy veggies” when making omelets, not “smothered in cheddar and bacon”. Stephan points out that omelets are a great way to incorporate veggies you may not be so fond of, such as mushrooms or asparagus. “My go-to egg omelet is two whole eggs, tons of multi-colored bell peppers, onions, spinach, and a sprinkle of feta cheese,” he said. “Just watch the calories and don’t add too much cheese or processed meats.” Stephan’s omelets pack 209 calories, 16 grams of protein, 12 grams of fat, seven grams of carbs, and two grams of fiber.
1. Hard Boiled EggsRelated: Find the Freshest Eggs at the Grocery Store Using This Easy Trick
This is by far the best way to ingest protein in its purest form, said Stephan. “You can’t add any extra calories simply boiling an egg in water,” he explained. “It’s an egg in its natural form.” The great thing about this method is that the egg can be eaten hot or cold, and added to other foods to amp up nutrition, such as salads. Expect roughly 70 calories, six grams of protein, and five grams of fat from each egg.