The Likable Lo-Cal Diet: All About Eggs

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We continue exploring the best breakfast options for the 1,200 calorie-a-day diet. Let’s talk eggs.

All right, so we’ve looked at hot cereal, and we’ve looked at cold cereal. We’re going to skip “just right” cereal and move on to all things eggs, and please rest assured that this column will contain no egg puns, no matter how tempting. Here we go.

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Eggs, Eggs, Eggs!

Let’s start with the basics, keeping in mind once again that the goal is to keep breakfast down around 250-300 calories so that we have a lot of leeway for the rest of the day.

One large egg is 70 calories, which ain’t bad, but for a few extra bucks, you can go that significantly better. In my refrigerator is a wonderful product in a quart-sized carton named “The Amazing Egg.” It’s essentially the Albertson’s generic version of Egg Beaters and cost about six bucks for the equivalent of sixteen eggs.

Each quarter-cup serving size, the equivalent of one egg, is 30 calories. I have no idea how they accomplished this. So for a little more dough, you get a product that eliminates the hazards of shells, takes up less space in the fridge, has less than half the calories as ordinary eggs, and tastes pretty much the same, if not better.

If you want to go one step further still, you can go with just egg whites, which are 17 calories per egg, but obviously it will take more than three egg whites to be as filling as three whole eggs would be, so it probably comes out the same in the end. So the point is, if you make an ordinary three-egg omelet, you’ve got 210 calories before you’ve even added anything to it (and sure, some people like it that way just fine, so you’re good to go), whereas with the pourable eggs, you’re only at 90 calories for three eggs, with plenty of room for…

Extras!

How about some onions (16 calories/quarter-cup), green peppers (8 calories/quarter-pepper) or mushrooms (too few cals to even mention)? How about some fat-free cheese, like American (30 calories/slice) or Cheddar (45 calories/oz)? How about some spicy brown mustard (5 calories/tablespoon)?

Or maybe, like me, you’re more of a breakfast sandwich type than an omelet type. I make mine with two eggs, so with the pourable stuff, that’s 60 calories, and then if you put them on a nice lo-cal bread like, say, my favorite, Orowheat Double Fiber bread, at 70 calories per slice, you’re only at 200 calories for the eggs and the two slices of bread. Still plenty of room for all that other stuff!

Then there are the standard items that aren’t so lo-cal friendly, but fortunately most of them have perfectly suitable…

Substitutes!

Breakfast sausage: 66 calories/link. BUT…

Turkey sausage: 65 calories/link

Okay, not a good example. Let’s try this again.

Bacon: 42 calories/slice. BUT…

Turkey Bacon: 35 calories/slice

Fat-free Canadian bacon: 20 calories/slice

Now we’re talking! Or even…

Ham, 11% fat: 46 calories/slice. BUT…

Ham, Extra Lean: 23 calories/slice

Half! There you go. And then for the sandwich folks, there’s:

Mayo: 49 calories/tablespoon

Fat-free mayo: 10 calories/tablespoon

I will, however, be the first to concede that fat-free mayo is…Well, an acquired taste. Maybe just limit the regular mayo. Or stick to mustard. And finally…

Avocado: 80 calories/half-avocado

Yeah, I’m tapped. There’s just no substitute for avocado. Darn it. But a quarter-avocado isn’t too shabby.

So in short: a) Eggs are a perfectly decent breakfast option; b) But pourable eggs and egg whites are more than twice as good an option; c) most omelet and egg sandwich fillings are also decent options; but d) almost all of them have even better options as well. Personally, I find a good, hearty egg sandwich to be about as filling as a bowl of oatmeal, so at the very least, I recommend the Orowheat Double Fiber bread and some “Amazing Egg” cartons as fridge staples. You now have several great, satisfying choices that will easily keep breakfast under 300 calories. The next foods we look at…Your waffles, your pancakes, your Pop-tarts…Not so much.

See? Didn’t use the word “eggscellent” once!

D’oh!

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