Trying to save at home while egg prices are so high? Consider some alternatives
Published 9:00 pm Friday, January 20, 2023
The prices of items at the grocery store, particularly certain staple items, have increased dramatically. Eggs, for instance, have more than doubled in cost over the last year. According to the food market data company Urner Barry, the average price of eggs in the United States last year was $1.33. This year, the average price is at $4.55.
Eggs are a good source of nutrition, particularly protein. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate guidelines, one egg contains roughly 75 calories, 5 grams of protein, no carbohydrates, 67 milligrams of potassium, 70 milligrams of sodium and 210 milligrams of cholesterol.
But do we need eggs, and are there replacements for eggs that provide the proteins needed? And what could you use instead of eggs?
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According to Jamie Pronschinske, a registered dietician at Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse, Wisconsin, besides being a great source of protein, eggs contain fat soluble nutrients, vitamins A, D, E and K and are a good source of choline, which is important to brain function.
But with costs so high, some people may consider an alternative protein source.
“Some less expensive protein options may include peanut butter, chicken, canned tuna, as well as dairy products,” she said in an interview. “You know, milk, yogurt, … cheese.”
Other less expensive options include canned beans, canned chicken and cottage cheese.
But, Pronschinske said eggs could still be a cost-effective protein source when looking at the cost of meats like steak and pork.
In baking, Pronschinske said there are egg-free replacements that use starches to mimic the binding eggs do, and that you could use ground chia or flax seeds with a little water.
“That almost forms that consistency that egg would and can be used as a substitute in baked goods,” she said.
And though the baked goods would be lower in fat and higher in heart-healthy fiber, she said if a person were to make two dozen cookies the substitute wouldn’t alter nutritional value “very much.”
Tofu was another alternative option.
“Tofu can be scrambled almost like eggs if that fits within your budget,” she said.
She also suggested using them for scrambled eggs for omelets to throw in vegetables or cheese with toast or a tortilla to stretch a budget.
While she hadn’t considered it as a replacement, she thought mashed bananas or pureed fruit could work as an emulsifier, though depending on the product using fruit may not make it taste the best.
And depending on what you’re doing, she said complete pancake box mixes didn’t require eggs.
“That’s a pretty cost-effective breakfast item,” she said. “Don’t need to purchase eggs to make that. Can really stretch your budget with something like that.”
Above all, she said eggs provided a source of protein.
“The importance of protein foods is they are the building blocks for our muscles and tissue, so they help support our lean muscle tissue,” she said.
But protein sources can be found elsewhere. She also expected the price of eggs to go down.
In the meantime, consider toast with peanut butter topped with banana, or overnight oats with Greek yogurt and milk.
“A nontraditional breakfast item might be canned beans over toast.
“I guess that’s a British thing, toast and beans,” she said.
Smoothies could also provide a source of protein, using low-fat milk or greek yogurt with frozen fruit.