Diet culture really irks me, so when my mom started calling the yolk of an egg “empty calories” last week, I was a little irritated. 

The phrase “empty calories” is used to describe foods with low nutritional value. It is used by a variety of people from medical professionals to extreme dieters. The concept is good, but it can be easily spun to demonize certain categories of foods by labeling them as “good” or “bad” calories. By viewing certain categories of food as “better” than others, it’s easy to get sucked into an unhealthy eating mindset. 

It’s also really easy to forget that the diets of people on Instagram or TikTok are fabricated to appeal to viewers, and are almost never the full picture of what someone eats in a day, let alone an entire diet.  The peer pressure to conform to social media standards has an effect on trends in food, such as with the rise of chia seeds in 2019 or sweet potatoes in 2020. Both of these foods have traditional roles in cooking, but before becoming popular for dieters, they were sometimes considered “empty calories.”

Eggs are one of those foods that are kind of in the middle. Egg whites contain very few calories and some protein, but they also lack the flavor, nutrients, and creamy texture offered by the higher calorie egg yolk. As a result, eggs can be a bit controversial in diet communities. I, however, love them unconditionally. 

So I’ve got some egg preparation tips to break down this resistance to the magic of eggs. Whether you like them fried, scrambled, or raw, I have some subtle guidance to make eating the whole egg irresistible.

If you like frying, make sure to season your eggs with salt, pepper, garlic, and parsley. Depending on your desired level of crispiness, you can adjust the amount of oil you fry in. Since I prefer mine only a little fried, I use about one teaspoon of oil, but you should add up to two tablespoons of oil for a perfectly crisp egg. And don’t forget to top it off with some hot sauce. I cannot emphasize enough how a combination of Cholula and Sriracha has converted me to a full-on egg stan. 

For those who love a good scramble, try adding some milk or cream when you’re beating the eggs. The fat intercepts some of the egg protein to make the final product softer and more creamy. As always, season with some salt and pepper before you cook it. You also don’t need to stick to the script: try adding some pesto to mix things up!

If you’re like me and prefer your eggs sunny side up, then I suggest a smaller amount of oil (same as for frying). Cook the eggs on the lowest heat you can, and ensure that the whites cook all the way through, but the yolk is barely affected (on my stove, it’s medium-low). As always, season generously. Again, I’m adding hot sauce, but sunny side up eggs already have their own sauce (the runny yolk!), so this up to chef’s preference. 

If you want to try a raw egg, I personally like them the best when they’re in cookie dough. I just tried drinking one the other day, and it wasn’t bad. However, I think I’ll be deferring to the other three methods I mentioned before chugging another egg. 

I firmly believe that if eating a certain food makes you happy, then you should eat it. A calorie enjoyed isn’t empty. So, eat with happiness in mind, and maybe try some of these tips to become an egg fanatic, just like me!

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