I am SO excited to write this first breakfast recipe post because I am all about making healthy easy, stress-free, and highly personalized meals! If it doesn’t take a huge chunk out of your schedule, it is easy to vary, it makes you feel good in the short and long term, and tastes good- you are more likely to do it! Most people like scrambled eggs, so I'm just building on that a bit, adding in some yummy veggies for a nutritional boost.
Intentionally preparing a healthy meal at breakfast (whenever that might be) can give you a small win and make it easier to stay on track moving forward with meals for the rest of the day. Regardless of what meal plan might work for you, timing, etc., the scramble concept can be an easy way to get a warm, nutritious meal that’s easy to prepare. It does take some planning and prepping, but once you develop a system, this is a great breakfast to keep in the rotation.
If you're looking to start making changes to increase the nutrients in your diet, breakfast is a perfect place to start. I always suggest making small changes to work towards a larger goal. Breakfast is also a time when your body has been going without food for a longer period of time than when we are awake, so typically it is empty and waiting to be primed with some food to help move us through our day with presence, alertness, and feeling well physically. Ready to handle the activities of the day. So it's a great time to take advantage of the primed state. Many people don't consume a balanced meal at breakfast and feel much better after making changes to support their system.
The star of the scramble show. It's what holds all your great mix-ins together. But it is so much more than that. Eggs are affordable and a great source of proteins and vitamins. But, you might be wondering about cholesterol. Now, if you are concerned about cholesterol, as always, consult with your doctor before making changes to your diet. However, in most cases, 2 eggs a few times a week as part of a diet low in saturated fat should be okay unless you are at risk for heart attacks, strokes, or any other medical issues. If that's the case, just use the whites! The cholesterol is found in the yolk. Some people like to use one egg yolk and double up on the whites just to add a bit of flavor. You can also buy just liquid egg whites in a carton or Egg Beaters, which do not contain cholesterol. Just note that the yolk also contains vitamins A, E, D, & K, which are not found in the white. The white contains just a tad more protein as well.
For starters, eggs have about 6 grams of protein each, helping support muscle growth and brain function.
If you are sensitive to eggs or are vegan, there are egg replacements that work great for this recipe. The first is JUST egg, which is an egg-free, dairy-free, plant-based liquid egg substitute that works great by itself or in recipes. From the companies website,
"JUST Egg has 5 to 7 grams plant-based protein, zero cholesterol and 69% less saturated fat than a chicken egg."
Check out their website link for more details and recipes. These can be found in many grocery stores such as Target and your local chains, but you can also order from their website.
Another option is Follow Your Heart VeganEgg, which is a powder that is shelf stable for 6 months and is many vegans' go-to choice for flavor. However, it is pricey and does take longer to cook. Both of these options have different nutritional benefits than regular eggs.
So eggs, aside from the cholesterol, which we will discuss in a moment, are pretty much a fantastic little nutritional package with a small caloric price tag, at around 78 calories each. I am always about getting the most bang for your buck with your food. Having fibromyalgia can really tax the system, so supporting yourself nutritionally is huge!
The first heavy hitter in the vitamin lineup is Choline. It is used to help regulate memory, mood, muscle control, and other functions in the nervous system, brain, and cell membranes.² You can see why it's especially important for Spoonies, but most people do not get enough, and very few know it's something we need to be aware of and make sure we are consuming enough of. Women over the age of 19 need 425 mg, and men of the same age need 550mg.² For a further breakdown by age group, check out this chart HERE. A single egg contains 100mg of choline, so it's an excellent source. It can also be found in fish, dairy, poultry, potatoes, brussels sprouts, broccoli, some nuts, and grains.
Next on the list are Lutein and Zeaxanthin. These vitamins help counteract vision problems like macular degeneration and cataracts. A recent study from 2017 on the effects of increased dietary consumption of lutein and zeaxanthin found it can protect against these age-related problems and the best results come from consuming various sources.³ Spinach and kale are other great sources so add some to your omelet!
There are also plenty of B vitamins in eggs like B-2, B-5, and B-12. B vitamins help with energy production, metabolism, brain health, and much more. It has been found that consuming b vitamins in combination provides greater availability of the nutrients collectively for your body to use.⁴
Eggs are also excellent sources of Vitamin D. You probably have already heard by now that vitamin D levels are often low because the best source is from spending time in the sun. However, many of us have to spend considerable time indoors working, or we have to limit our exposure for other reasons. Skin cancer is also a major concern. Low Vitamin D levels can make you feel tired and groggy, lower your immunity, and lower your body's ability to absorb vital nutrients like calcium and phosphorus, vital for bone health.⁵
Lastly, eggs are a great source of Selenium, which is important for reproduction and thyroid hormone metabolism, and DNA synthesis. It also protects against oxidative stress, which can cause fatigue, memory loss/brain fog, muscle and/or joint pain, and headaches.⁶ It can also cause cosmetic effects like grey hair and wrinkles and even increased sensitivity to noise. In fact, oxidative stress contributes to severe diseases like cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular and neurological degeneration. This is a major nutrient for Spoonies to pay attention to.
A Bit More on Cholesterol
It's important to distinguish that dietary cholesterol does not directly translate to cholesterol in the bloodstream. The liver naturally produces cholesterol daily, so when you consume more, the liver should adjust and produce less. A recent review on dietary cholesterol found that 70% of people were not affected or had only a mild increase. Research has also shown that eggs increase HDL, which is "good" cholesterol if you will. It helps break down and carry the bad cholesterol, also known as LDL, which sticks to the walls of your arteries, and increases the risks of heart disease and stroke.
A Note on Omega-3 Eggs
Pastured or omega-3 enriched eggs contain higher amounts of omega-3 fat and are much higher in vitamin A, and E. Omega-3 is not on the list because it's not found in all eggs, but those that do have it, also get the benefit of reducing triglycerides, supporting heart and blood vessel health. So if you can afford them and find them, I'd use those.
What about Omelets?
A scramble can easily turn into an omelet, but for the sake of being easy, I think a scramble is just as good. If you are looking for an omelet, you will most likely need 3 eggs, as I find with the amount/size of veggies I add, 2 just isn't enough to form something that's easy to fold. In an omelet, there is more egg than filling. In my scrambles, I want just enough eggs to hold things together. Make sense? Keep in mind that 3 eggs add more cholesterol, so you might want to opt for more whites instead of a whole egg. Also, be sure to finely chop any of the fillings.
If you add greens, particularly spinach, you get a great dose of fiber and a slew of vitamins. Both kale and spinach are great in omelets, and it's a perfect way to slip in a few leafy greens to your diet. I won't bore you with the details, but here's a brief snapshot of all the goodness. If you are looking for a way to use up that spinach, check out my Instapot Italian Chicken Tenders, which I serve with my Simple Sautéed Spinach. I also share all the details of the amazing nutritional powerhouse, and why it still might not be for you.
The sky is the limit, but my go-to includes onions, mushrooms, and red peppers. You can add broccoli, squash, or whatever you have on hand! Just make sure to cook out most of the water, or you'll end up with a soggy omelet.
We want to stay on the balanced side of things, so try not to add too much cheese. But, a little sprinkle can really help meld the flavors. Cheddar and mozzarella are my personal favorites, but I might spread in a little cream cheese or even yogurt if I am adding fruit.
Strawberries, oranges, mangoes, kiwi, pineapple, and blueberries all taste amazing in an omelet. I know it might seem strange at first, but think of crepes. Add a bit of orange juice to the scrambled egg mixture and coat the bottom of the pan in a light layer. Wait until the edges start to crisp, and then flip and cook the other side. Remove the egg pancake to a plate, add your fruit and sauce, fold in half or roll up, and drizzle in honey, maple, agave, or monk fruit syrup.
Spices & Herbs
Chili pepper, cumin, salt and pepper, Italian oregano, sage, or dill with a smoked salmon and cream cheese filling. You can also add fresh herbs such as parsley, cilantro, basil, or dill.
Cinnamon, lemon balm, nutmeg, and ginger are all great for fruit omelets.
I always like my savory omelets with a bit of salsa on the side, but I have also been known to use leftover enchilada, bbq sauce, fish taco sauce, and even salad dressings. Fruit omelets are delicious with honey or melted dark chocolate, just a light dusting of powdered sugar ( I mean light!), or whip up a honey yogurt mixture.
I know I call this a breakfast staple, but really a scramble can be great any time of the day. I placed it in the breakfast category because it can be challenging to get vegetables in first thing in the morning. But these can be great with chicken and cheese for lunch or dinner!
Honestly, it's hard to go wrong with an egg scramble. It is an easy way to create a nutritious breakfast using whatever ingredients you have on hand. It doesn't take long to throw together, and with as many different ways that you can prepare it, it's hard to grow sick of it. Not to mention, even my 11 yr old can make this recipe, so include the kids in this one! Give the below recipe a try, and let me know what you think in the comments below! Have an additional question about eggs? Drop me an email or ask below!
1. Top 10 Health Benefits of Eating Eggs. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-proven-health-benefits-of-eggs#TOC_TITLE_HDR_3
2. Choline Fact Sheet. NIH. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Choline-Consumer/#h2
3. Eisenhauer, B., Natoli, S., Liew, G., & Flood, V. M. (2017). Lutein and Zeaxanthin-Food Sources, Bioavailability and Dietary Variety in Age-Related Macular Degeneration Protection. Nutrients, 9(2), 120. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9020120
4. Kennedy D. O. (2016). B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy--A Review. Nutrients, 8(2), 68. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu8020068
5. Vitamin D Fact Sheet. NIH. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitamind-healthprofessional/
6. Selenium Fact Sheet. NIH. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Selenium-HealthProfessional/
7. Sharifi-Rad, M., Anil Kumar, N. V., Zucca, P., Varoni, E. M., Dini, L., Panzarini, E., ... & Sharifi-Rad, J. (2020). Lifestyle, oxidative stress, and antioxidants: Back and forth in the pathophysiology of chronic diseases. Frontiers in physiology, 11, 694. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphys.2020.00694/full