High in protein and very nutritious, eggs make a wonderfully healthy breakfast, lunch or supper dish. Whether you are on a low-carb diet or just looking for a balanced and nutritious diet an omelette makes a very satisfying meal and needs little other than a few sliced tomatoes or a green salad to complete it.
Here are the basic statistics for a two egg omelette:
- 12g protein
- 0.2g omega fatty acids
- 2g carbohydrates
- 140 calories
This will vary according to the amount of fat used for cooking and the fillings added to the omelette.
Cholesterol and egg yolks
While some health practitioners recommend egg white omelettes to avoid the cholesterol in the egg yolks, it should be remembered that the egg yolks are an important source of protein, amino acids, iron and of vitamins A, D and E and the whole egg gives a more balanced nutritional dose of protein than just the egg whites.
The whole cholesterol debate is a complex one, as the body does need some form of dietary cholesterol for healthy functioning and the effect that dietary cholesterol has on blood cholesterol varies from person to person. Unless you are on a strict diet regulated by a medical practitioner then consider it safe and healthy to be eating egg yolks in moderation. Current advice is that 7 eggs per week is a healthy amount.
Recent research has confirmed that it is an excess of saturated fat in the diet rather than the intake of dietary cholesterol that is more likely to raise blood cholesterol levels.
Vitamins B12 and K as well as A, D and E are all found in good quantities in eggs, as are several other B vitamins including thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and folate.
Eggs are good source of several minerals including, zinc, phosphorus, iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium.
Egg yolks are a good source of choline, which is essential for brain development and has been linked with memory function, one egg supplying almost half the recommended daily intake They also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which help protect against vision loss.
While the omelette itself is healthy and reasonably low on calories, it is the fillings that can make the difference between a really healthy meal and one that ends up being fattening and calorie laden. Fill it up with cheese and you can double the calories, scatter herbs and a few veggies and you add to the nutritional value without adding too many empty calories. If you are counting calories or just avoiding saturated fats, stick to tasty cooked vegetables in your omelettes, or a scattering of lean meat with herbs and spices, to turn it into a full meal.
Cooking in butter or oil?
Traditionally French omelettes are cooked in butter rather than oil, which adds to the flavour of the finished dish. In a healthy person the small amount of butter used shouldn’t be a problem, but if you are cutting down on saturated fats and avoiding dairy you can consider substituting a small amount of a healthy oil as the cooking medium. While this will alter the flavour of the omelette, it will help reduce the amount of saturated fats and allow you to enjoy a healthy omelette even as part of a strict diet.
There has been much publicity about the dangers of salmonella food poisoning from contaminated eggs. The salmonella bacteria is destroyed by cooking, so this is only a problem when using uncooked eggs in recipes. In omelettes there is no risk of salmonella as the egg is cooked through before being eaten. However it is always a good idea to purchase eggs from a trusted source that is certified as being free of salmonella.