And now for something completely different, to quote John Cleese. I mentioned in another post in this blog that the bane of my existence is meal preparation. When you measure and weigh everything, it’s time consuming. The combination of food preparation plus the weighing and measuring can be tedious and tiresome. Also, the food we eat on this diet can be very bland and boring, because we eat the same foods…. a lot.
My next few posts are going be about food preparation and flavor enhancing tips and tricks I’ve picked up while following a calorie deficit eating plan. Please note that my food experience is strictly based on shopping for and eating what is available in US grocery stores.
I’m going to mention specific products I use but in no way am I recommending or promoting them. They are just products I have found helpful for this diet.
Today it’s all about EGGS!
Years ago, eggs got a bad rap for cholesterol, which they do contain. I don’t think they’ve recovered their rep because I think we still ignore how nutritious they are. From what I have read, they contain vitamins A, B6, B12, D, K, antioxidants, selenium, phosphorus, potassium, and even some iron and calcium. They are also a good source of low calorie protein.
Check with your medical professional about healthy egg consumption if you have high cholesterol, cardio-vascular disease or any other serious medical condition.
For quick and easy microwave eggs, I use silicone egg cups I purchased from Amazon (see photo below). I spritz the bottom of each cup with cooking spray, mash and rub the sides and bottom together to distribute the spray. One egg per cup, poke holes in the yolk with a fork if I’m not scrambling them in the cup. COVER them before you microwave them, because sometimes you get that micro burst of an egg explosion in the microwave if you cook them a bit too long. For hard yolks, two minutes and forty seconds on 40% power in a 1200 watt microwave gets you close, and you will have to judge further from there if they need to cook longer. Check below the egg at the bottom of the cup because that’s where the uncooked egg hides. Adjust the time or power for runnier yolks. You can also use a microwave safe mug or small souffle cup, but I prefer these silicone cups because after using cups and bowls, I have found the silicon cups easier to clean after preparing eggs in them, and they also take less cooking spray.
Meal Prepping With Eggs
In my former working life, I spent two months working overtime during income tax season. Breakfast preparation at four in the morning is not fun. I found that I could make mini breakfast casseroles in oven-safe souffle dishes and I would bake six at a time. I’d prepare them on the weekends and store the mini casseroles in the refrigerator. The trick was to find a good cooking time. If you try this, run a knife around the inside edge of the dish when you take it out of the oven to prevent it sticking to the side and remove it from the dish before it cools completely. I baked them in the toaster oven at 375F and checked the bottom of the dishes after 30 minutes because the tops seemed to cook first. I had to check each time to see how done they were because it seemed like the cooking times always varied. Note that if you use cheese, the top will brown quicker than the eggs may cook. Please adjust accordingly for a convection, hot air, or conventional oven.
You can also prepare omelets ahead of time and store those in the refrigerator. Just let them cool a bit before putting them away.
I’ve also made breakfast sandwiches with eggs and frozen them for later. The silicone cups are great for that because you get a nice round shape. Breakfast sandwiches tend to be higher in calories as they include some sort of bread product like an English muffin or bagel, but Thomas’ English Muffins has a 100 calorie, light English muffin available which is roughly comparable to two slices of 45 calorie per slice diet bread.
My favorite breakfast, by far, is the faux omelet, which is my terminology. It’s an omelet without cheese. I whisk eggs, add whatever cooked green veggies or other raw veggies I feel like chopping up, and cook it like an omelet, complete with the fold over. The more veggies you add the more low calorie bulk fiber you are eating, and thus it is more filling.
We can’t have a conversation about eggs without talking about liquid eggs and liquid egg whites that come in a carton, and are normally found near eggs in the dairy case in most grocery stores. We normally have a carton of the yellow, regular liquid eggs at our house, because they are quick and my husband likes to use them to make omelets. What I have discovered, however, is that I do not feel as satiated after eating them as I do with regular eggs. I’m guessing it’s the absence of actual yolk in the product that accounts for this. However, this may be particular to me only.
One serving of liquid eggs, which is equal to one egg, is only 25 calories. One large egg is roughly 75 calories so you can consume more liquid eggs than regular eggs, and eliminate most, if not all, of the cholesterol.
You can buy just egg whites in a carton which is easier than separating eggs.
Liquid eggs are very easy to use.
Their taste is pretty comparable to eggs.
I have not found a meal preparation situation during this diet where I couldn’t use liquid eggs instead of actual eggs.
They may last longer than a carton of eggs.
You have to measure them out (by the tablespoon or do some math for a measuring cup), which creates more things to wash.
A carton of liquid eggs costs more than a carton of eggs (at least where I shop).
You may not feel as satiated if you use them.
Sometimes the egg mixture can separate in the carton and it’s hard to tell if they are still palatable.
Some liquid eggs have food additives.
I’ve eaten a lot of eggs on this diet and have tried to make them more interesting without adding a lot of calories. Here are some suggestions:
Seasoning – salt and pepper go a long way to improving the taste
Add two teaspoons of the grated Parmesan cheese that is sold in the grocery aisle, in the plastic container, not the dairy section (yes, I know this is processed food). Two teaspoons is only 20 calories.
Leftovers – if you have left-over, cooked green vegetables from a previous meal, even if it is only a few bites, stick them in a small container and put them in your faux omelet or scrambled eggs next time you cook eggs. Those veggies are probably less than 40 calories added to your eggs but fill you up.
Fresh vegetables – it is time consuming, but adding green and non-green peppers, chopped tomato, onion, spinach or other greens can add fiber to your eggs for little calories and make them more filling
Salsa – my new recent favorite tip. Try adding one tablespoon of salsa or picante sauce to your egg mixture. One tablespoon of Pace Picante Sauce is ten calories. It’s just enough to elevate eggs without making them taste too much like a taco or burrito. If you use picante sauce, you don’t really need to salt your eggs, either.
If you wish to add cheese, there are some low calorie cheeses available, if you want to spend the calories. I found that Sargento has very thinly sliced, low calorie (40-50 calories) sliced cheese. I only add this to my omelet once in awhile.
Also, bacon sounds like a no-no on this diet but one slice of Oscar Meyer pre-cooked microwave bacon is only 30 calories. That can also be chopped up and added to your eggs.
If you don’t eat eggs that often and want to know if your eggs are safe to eat, start with a sniff test. If they smell bad when you crack them open, you probably shouldn’t eat them (I know, it’s a no-brainer). Check the expiration or sell by dates on the carton. Eggs can still be good past those dates. You can perform the famous water test, too, but the jury is out as to whether this proves whether your egg is actually good or bad. If the egg floats in a bowl of water, it means that it is not as fresh as an egg that sinks and lays on bottom of a bowl of water, or an egg that stands on its end at the bottom of a bowl of water.
I hope these ideas are helpful to you. If you have any egg ideas of your own, please post them in the comment section. I love learning new ways to make our diet more enjoyable.
Other posts in my blog with food-related tips, tricks and dietary information:
The post that explains the calorie deficit diet: