What’s a snack that you can pre-cook in large quantities, will stay fresh in the fridge for a long time, you can eat on its own or dip into something you probably already have in your fridge to make it taste completely different and new? It’s the humble, hard-working hard-boiled egg.
I’m going to give you the hard sell on this awesome snack as part of a week of episodes on 5 power snacks that will help you both help you up the nutrient-density of your everyday diet AND answer the age-old question of, what should I eat?
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Why hard-boiled eggs?
Hard-boiled eggs are a great source of protein and healthy fats. It is also the best food source of choline. Choline is used to build cell membranes, and important component of signaling in the brain. Choline, then, is brain food. It supports your mood. It also supports your liver which is the workhorse of your detoxification and metabolism mechanisms, and on the whole, our liver health is suffering, so anything you can do to support your liver is a big boon.
Also, choline is considered “conditionally essential” because, while your body can make it out of other ingredients, it uses up a lot of resources and not everyone is all that great at it. And it’s hard to get enough choline through your diet, especially if you’re a vegan and don’t eat eggs. One egg gives you 100 mg of choline. When I worked with Dr. Kara Fitzgerald on her book Younger You (I was her writing collaborator–something I do in my work as a ghostwriter), she recommended eating between 5 and 10 eggs a week.
Eggs are also high in the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which are really important for eye health.
Getting omega-3 enriched eggs is a very helpful way to increase your intake of these essential fatty acids (particularly if you don’t eat a lot of fatty fish, like salmon).
Eggs are also really filling, as they’re high in protein, and believe it or not, protein is the most filling macronutrient. Which means they make a great snack that will easily tide you over until your next meal.
I always felt that eggs were the most nutrient-dense food I could give my kids. If they wanted a sugary cereal, it was ok so long as they had an egg first.
The only thing to be aware of is that eggs are a common allergen. If you don’t feel well after eating them, talk to your provider about getting tested for an allergy or sensitivity to them.
How to Make the Best Hard-Boiled Eggs
Here is my foolproof way to make hard boiled eggs, and it does not include boiling at all: I cook them in the Instant Pot. It’s the only way I’ve ever been able to make them and have the peel come off cleanly. Did a lot of testing and found that setting it for 4 minutes is perfect–of course it takes longer than 4 minutes because the pressure has to build up and then release, which adds a few minutes but you do want to get them out of there and into a bath of ice water pretty quickly so that they don’t over cook, which you can tell they’ve done if they get that green ring around the yolks. So you have to manually release the steam.
If you don’t have an Instant Pot, I always heard that you should put them in a pot of cold water that you bring to a boil, then cover it and shut off the heat as soon as it’s really roiling and let the eggs sit in the hot water for 10-13 minutes, then immerse them in an ice bath. My peels always stuck this way, so… I say stick with the Instant Pot! It can also be a slow cooker and pressure cooker and has a saute function. Heck, with an Instant Pot and a toaster over you hardly need a real oven at all. BUT I DIGRESS.
You can also buy hard-boiled eggs pre-cooked and then they are always ready to go.
9 Snack Recipes for Hard-Boiled Eggs
Here are my 9 ways to jazz up your hard-boiled eggs.
- You can eat them plain with a little salt and pepper. I like to put the salt and pepper in a little pile on the plate and dip the egg in before each bite.
- You can make deviled eggs, of course. My deviled eggs are not pretty but it’s such a tried and true formula–mash the yolks with a little mayo and a dash of mustard–that they always taste great. They’re never around long enough for anyone to look at, anyway, BUT, I will not be bringing my disheveled deviled eggs to any party.
- I’m a huge egg salad fan. Dice up an egg or two, mix it with a little bit of mayo and sliced green olives (hey, how about that, another power snack!) on your favorite cracker–-a crispbread kind of cracker I think is perfect for this, I love the gluten-free kind at Trader Joe’s. Or on a piece of toast.
- Apply your favorite hot sauce before each bite.
5. Cut the egg in half and give each side a shmear of pesto
6. Do the same thing with a shmear of hummus
7. Dip it in a little pile of everything bagel seasoning
8. Or in a pile of grated parmesan cheese and black pepper
9. Here’s a taste sensation – dip your hard-boiled egg in the 321 tahini dip (3 tablespoons tahini, 2 tablespoons miso, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, mixed and thinned with water–YUM, I could eat it with a spoon! It also pairs great with raw cauliflower).