May is National Egg Month!

3 05 2018

Image result for free egg images

Are you confused by eggs? You go to the store and you see farm fresh eggs, all natural eggs, free range/cage free eggs. Egg lingo can be very hard to understand. Then you get to the cooking and eating part. Are you supposed to cook the whole egg or just the whites? Let’s help you become fluent in “egg language” and give you some nutrition facts.

Eggs aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be, so let’s start with defining the different types of eggs we see at the grocery store:

Farm Fresh Eggs

You might think this term means that a local farmer just went to his coop and gathered the eggs to bring to your grocery store that afternoon, BUT that is not exactly the case. The term “farm fresh” means absolutely nothing and is not a regulated term according to the FDA. Those are just words to help create that nice fuzzy picture in your mind in hopes that you will be more likely to purchase them.

All Natural Eggs

When you see “all natural” on the label you may assume those eggs came from a hen free from all harmful things. BUT, just as before, “all natural” has no legal definition and is not regulated. Almost 95% of eggs in the United States come from chickens that are raised in cages in long rows, inside huge barns that give each bird approximately 67 square inches of space. To give you an idea of what that amounts to, 67 square inches is roughly the size of an iPad. According to commercial egg producers, using this process of production is safe, cost-effective and helps in keeping egg prices down.

Free Range/Cage Free Eggs

We grouped these two terms together because they basically mean the same thing. When you read the terms “cage free” or “free range” what do you think of? You might think of happy hens free from cages, with lots of room to wander all over the farm or pasture. This is exactly what the producer wants you think…. Cage free actually means exactly what it says, which is that the hens do not live in cages. But, they don’t necessarily live in mansion-size barns and get to roam wherever they please either. They do get to walk around and spread their wings and do normal “chicken things”, but space is still an issue. Free range is not a regulated term and means basically the same thing as cage free. Most of the time the hens that live on “free range” farms don’t even have access to the outdoors, because the definition is not specific as to where the chickens have free range. The only specification is that they cannot be in cages. The farms usually have industrial fans that remove ammonia from the buildings and create strong winds through the small doorway. Unfortunately, the hens don’t really want to walk through that to get outdoors!

You may also see “No Hormones” on the packaging. This is misleading because it is illegal to give hormones to poultry, so subsequently eggs are not going to contain added hormones.

“No Antibiotics is another term you might see, which can also be misleading. Though antibiotics may be used to treat hens, FDA regulations assure that antibiotic residues do not occur in the egg itself. Only a very small percentage of laying hens ever receive antibiotics, and only for treating illness. There are companies like Perdue or Tyson that are making progress in eliminating the use of antibiotics in their chickens altogether.

So what eggs should you buy?

Well, our suggestion would be to buy directly from your local farmer if possible! Talk to the farmer and ask how the hens are raised and get the facts. Most areas around WV will have a local egg farmer, so ask around or go to your local farmers market and you’ll surely find one!


Now, let’s get to the cooking and eating part!

Egg white vs whole egg.

Here are the facts:

One egg yolk has about 200mg of dietary cholesterol and 5g of fat. Most of that fat is healthy fat, being that it is monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat. Mono and polyunsaturated fats are heart healthy and can help reduce cholesterol and risk for heart disease. It’s important to distinguish between dietary cholesterol and cholesterol in blood. Blood cholesterol is the cholesterol that is found in your bloodstream. Our bodies manufacture all the cholesterol we need, but the amount of blood cholesterol we have can be influenced by the foods and beverages we consume. Dietary cholesterol is found in foods and beverages of animal origin, but surprisingly does not have much effect on our blood cholesterol level. Dietary fats like trans-fat and saturated fats actually have more of an impact, therefore, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans have removed the previous recommendation of limiting dietary cholesterol to 300 mg per day. Research on moderate egg consumption has shown that up to one egg per day is not associated with increased heart disease risk. With that being said, when you remove the yolk you are removing key nutrients like protein, vitamin A, D, E, B12, K, riboflavin, folate and iron. Those nutrients can help with your immune system, bone strength, and aid many more functions your body does every day. We know most people do not eat just one egg for a meal, so we would recommend trying one whole egg with one egg white so that you get your vitamins and minerals but not too much saturated fat.

There are lots of different ways to incorporate eggs in cooking, so follow this link for 50 egg ideas:

Want to learn more about eggs and health?

Have an egg-cellent day!


Author of the blog today is Brittany Powell, a Dietetic Intern from Marshall University working with Cathy Shaw, RDN, LD of the PEIA Weight Management Program


Do You “Break” the Fast?

9 02 2017


Have you heard the saying, “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper”?  If you haven’t, maybe you’ve heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day…but why?


Breakfast provides the body and brain with fuel after an overnight fast.  Without fuel, you are essentially running on empty.  Think of it this way.  You wake up in the morning and need to drive your car to get to work.  Your gas tank is empty.  How far are you going to get?  The same goes for our bodies.  Without providing our bodies the proper energy needed to jump start our day, we won’t get far.  In fact, research shows that breakfast improves memory, concentration, and focus throughout the day.


Breakfast is also an opportunity to feed your body good energy and sources of calcium, iron, B vitamins, protein, and fiber.  Research shows that if these nutrients are missed at breakfast, we’re less likely to meet our need for these on that day.  People who skip breakfast are also more likely to grab a mid-morning snack that’s high in fat and added sugar.


Kick-starting your morning with a meal can be good for the waistline too.  Research shows that people who eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight than those who do not eat breakfast.  Better yet, breakfast has also been shown to decrease the risk for hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes.


Follow these tips to get the most bang for your buck in breakfast:


  1. Don’t skimp on the protein. Protein increases satiety and may result in less total calories eaten in a day.  Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, cow’s milk, soy milk, eggs, oats, and quinoa are excellent sources of protein!


  1. Add fiber. High fiber foods takes a long time to digest, keeping you fuller for a longer period of time.  Aim to choose a food that has at least 3 g of fiber per serving.  Foods high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains such as whole grain bread, bran cereal, oatmeal, unsweetened granola, and shredded wheat.


  1. Try to eat within the first hour of waking up. No appetite?  Try drinking a liquid breakfast such as a homemade smoothie or instant breakfast beverage that has less than 10 g of sugar per serving.


Feeling like there’s no time to eat breakfast in the morning?

We often put effort into packing a nutritious lunch or preparing a healthy dinner yet somehow we tend to let breakfast slip through the cracks.  The good news is breakfast doesn’t have to be an elaborate meal that we sit down to eat.  It can be a meal that we eat on the go or even at the office.  So if you find that your mornings are a rat race just to get out the door and get to work on time, know that there are ways to fit breakfast into your busy schedule.


Grab N’ Go Ideas:

  • Peanut butter and banana sandwich + fruit + milk
  • Whole grain bagel with egg and avocado + milk
  • Greek yogurt + fruit
  • Cottage cheese + fruit
  • Smoothie made with Greek yogurt, banana, berries, and low-fat milk
  • Hardboiled egg + fruit + milk
  • Oatmeal mixed with milk and topped with fresh fruit and nuts



Honey Lime Quinoa Fruit Salad by The Recipe Critic


Blueberry Bliss Breakfast Bars by Inspired Edibles


Sunbutter (or Peanut Butter), Banana, and Chia Seed Toast by Skinny Fork


Author of the blog today is Cassie Raugh, a Dietetic Intern with WVU Hospitals, Inc. working with Cathy Shaw RDN, LD of the PEIA Weight Management Program