By Brenna O’Dea
Ah, at last, spring is FINALLY in the air, for real this time. Flowers are beginning to bloom and the air smells sweet…because chocolate bunnies are EVERYWHERE. Their delicious beady eyes following me as I roam the aisles…headed for the veggie section…trying to resist their tempting glares…using every ounce of willpower that I have…but wait! I almost forgot that the Easter Bunny brings us another item on the menu that is just as delicious (and a lil’ better for your body). What is this magical treat I speak of? The egg of course! The perfect nutrient punch you need to keep you energized all day (and night) all packed in one little sphere. Here are some ideas for how to fill your plates and bellies with protein before you dive into the sweet stuff.
If you are bored out of your mind of the classic scrambled or fried variations, and don’t have time to sit around waiting for poaching or boiling, try cracking one right into your morning oats! Sounds strange? I thought so too, until I actually tasted it. Adding an egg (or a few) to a big bowl of warm oatmeal in the morning makes it just a bit creamier and a whole lot more nutritious. Oats are chock full o’ fiber to keep you full until lunch, but eggs are a whole different story. Vitamin D, Vitamin B2 AND 12, lutein, choline, biotin, selenium…even if you can’t pronounce ’em, your body still needs these nutrients! Plus, this early morning boost is SO quick and SO easy. I’m serious. You can have breakfast ready for you and the little ones in LITERALLY five minutes. Little ones will also love this one because chances are, if you sprinkle some cinnamon and add some fruit or nuts, they won’t even taste that EGGxtra protein Come on, you love a good (terrible) food pun too. And don’t forget that while their muscles are growing big and strong, so are their BRAINS. B vitamins and choline are key for healthy brain development. Talk about a superfood.
That lil’ devil is tapping on your shoulder. “Eat me! Eat me!” he says. Deviled eggs might sound dull and dreary for an afternoon snack idea, but with just a few quick additions you’ll be surprised just how satisfying this B vitamin filled bite can be. We usually see deviled eggs loaded with mayo & mustard. Sure it tastes great, but that usually means there’s a whole lotta sodium and fat goin’ on. I’m all for those healthy fats, but the egg yolk alone brings plenty to the table. Try swapping in Greek yogurt for mayonnaise and you’ll cut that fat from ten grams to one. If you just miss the mayo too much, opt for the olive oil variety. Most mainstream mayos use mysterious oils ranging from canola to vegetable to soybean. Olive oil offers more omegas and a smoother texture too. You can also try swapping out half the yolk for a dollop of your favorite hummus for a more plant friendly feast. And finally for the finishing touch, head over to the spice cabinet and go to town. Paprika is a classic addition, but for an anti-inflammatory boost, you guessed it, choose turmeric. This will also give your lil’ devils a pop of color you really can’t get from any other spice.
The next time it’s Italian night in your house, push snooze on the pizza & pasta. Stracciatella soup is packed with simple, healthy ingredients and the whole family can help in the cooking process. It may be a mouthful to say, but it will certainly fill your bellies up fast. It’s basically broth with some eggs ‘n greens tossed right in there. Oh, and I can’t forget the CHEESE. A pinch of parmesan makes this meal creamy, dreamy, and delicious. Now let’s get cooking and coagulating. Say it with me, co-ag-you-late. Your first grader will definitely get a gold star if they toss that one into classroom conversation. They can tell their classmates all about how they helped you whip up dinner by pouring some farm fresh eggs into the boiling broth and watched them coagulate (basically the super fancy way to say turn from liquid to solid). What else is awesome about this special soup? It is the perfect opportunity to toss in your favorite dark leafy greens and herbs! Seriously, whatever you like, spinach, kale, basil, parsley, if it grew from Mama Earth, go for it. Combined with the flavorful broth and that ooey gooey melty mixture of egg & cheese, even your lil’ green-veg-protesting-palates will slurp up this soup until the last drop.
That time rolls around again…maybe you are up late working to finish that presentation you have to deliver in just eight hours…perhaps you just can’t seem to stop clicking “continue watching” and find yourself deep into season 8…9…10…OKAY ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. It’s time for a midnight snack. The Spanish tortilla is here to save the day before the sun even rises. Made with just four ingredients, count em (on one hand) FOUR, this one pan potato and egg dish is DELICIOUS and also will give you that extra boost of energy you need in those wee hours while the rest of the world sleeps. This dish is commonly eaten late at night in Spain, and they are clearly onto something. Simple to make and pleasing to all palates, grab a fork and get to that midnight munching. And save those leftovers (if there are any) for the morning…in just a few hours…because this late night snack doubles as a beautiful breakfast. Chances are you didn’t get much sleep, if any, so reheating and eating probably sounds like a good idea.
I know that we all wish chocolate bunnies could be a primary food group (or maybe it’s just me…) but sorry my lovelies, I don’t think the food pyramid is changing any time soon. So before you dive into those Easter baskets this year, remember to fuel up with some of these EGGxcellent recipes first! Sorry, I had to.