If you like to start the day with a protein-rich omelet or poached egg, you’ll have to get used to paying quite a bit more for your breakfast staple at the grocery store. Eggs are getting pricier by the dozen because an avian flu outbreak has killed some 46 million chickens and turkeys in the U.S., and the majority of those affected are egg-laying hens.
The cost of a dozen eggs has nearly doubled since the end of May according to USDA data, and commercial bakeries and restaurants are among those hardest hit. Bakeries are lowering their production, the fast food chain Whataburger is limiting the number of hours per day that it serves egg sandwiches, and the Texas supermarket chain H-E-B is restricting the number of cartons that customers can buy. It could take years for the industry to recover, which means prices won’t be dropping back to baseline anytime soon.
The shortage is happening just as demand for eggs is rising. Eggs have been gradually shedding their bad reputation and gaining in popularity among health-minded eaters of all persuasions, from Paleo followers and low-carbers to vegetarians and protein-seeking athletes. Most experts now agree that eating eggs in moderation — up to one whole egg per day — doesn’t increase heart disease risk in healthy people. Although eggs are among the foods highest in cholesterol, we now know that cholesterol in food isn’t one of the major determinants of blood cholesterol levels in most people (some people, called hyperresponders, do benefit from strictly limiting their intake of dietary cholesterol). As long as you pair eggs with other nutrient-rich foods, like vegetables, avocado, or whole-grain toast, rather than white bread, greasy hash browns, and bacon, they make a perfectly healthy and satisfying morning meal.
But I still don’t recommend that people eat eggs for breakfast every single day. Mixing things up and eating a variety of foods is the best way to ensure you’re getting enough of all the vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function optimally. So, it pays to alternate egg dishes with other healthy options like fiber-packed oatmeal and yogurt with fresh fruit and nuts. Eggs are high in protein, which appeals to people looking for morning meals that have staying power, but there are plenty of other breakfast-friendly foods that accomplish the same end. Yogurt, cow and soy milk, beans, nuts, seeds, and certain whole grains, like quinoa, all deliver a nice hit of protein in a naturally nutrient-dense package (no protein powder required). So, if you’re experiencing sticker shock in the egg aisle, or simply looking to eat more plant-based proteins, here are seven egg-free breakfasts that will stick with you.
Peanut Butter Oatmeal: Cook 1/2 cup oats with 1 cup dairy or soy milk and stir in up to 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter. (21 grams protein)
Warm Fruit and Nut Quinoa Bowl: Heat 1 cup of cooked quinoa with 1/2 cup dairy or soy milk and top with 2 tablespoons chopped nuts and sliced banana or berries. (15 grams protein)
White Bean-Avocado Toast: Mash 1/4 of a ripe avocado with 1/2 cup white beans (plus fresh herbs if desired) and spread over a hearty slice of toasted whole-grain bread. (14 grams protein)
Chickpea Scramble: Roughly mash 1 cup chickpeas and “scramble” them in a skillet with spinach or other veggies and seasonings (check out this yummy scallion-turmeric version from The First Mess for inspiration). (15 grams protein)
Spicy Bean Burrito: Fill a whole-grain tortilla with 1/2 cup black beans, 1/4 cup diced avocado, salsa, and an optional sprinkling of cheddar cheese. Baked tofu cubes would also be a great add-in. (18 grams protein with cheese)
Overnight Oats: Combine 1/2 cup raw oats, 1/2 cup dairy or soy milk, and 1/4 cup yogurt with any other mix-ins you like and allow to soak in the fridge overnight. Give this Raspberry-Almond version a try! (17+ grams protein)
Greek Yogurt Parfait: Layer 3/4 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt with sliced fruit and 2 tablespoons toasted nuts. You can swap the yogurt for 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta or, for a vegan version, substitute 2/3 cup soy milk thickened with 2 tablespoons chia seeds. (22 grams protein with yogurt)
Published Jun 12, 2015. By Johannah Sakimura
Copyright © 2015 Everyday Health Media, LLC