Eggs Benedict's calories can be quite high. Due to hollandaise sauce, this popular brunch food is quite high in fat. However, there are healthy alternatives to traditional Eggs Benedict slathered in fatty hollandaise, such as this Avocado Hollandaise Eggs Benedict.
Even though this breakfast dish contains many calories in its traditional form, Eggs Benedict's nutrition profile still offers plenty of vitamins, minerals, protein and carbohydrates. There are methods of preparation that can improve the nutritional content of this dish even further.
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Are Eggs Healthy?
Eggs Benedict is traditionally made with an English muffin, an egg and hollandaise sauce. Often it contains a slice of ham or smoked salmon. Eggs contain important vitamins, minerals and nutrients such as vitamin B12, vitamin D, vitamin A and folate, and are also an important source of choline, and the antioxidants lutein and zeanthine. An average-sized egg contains 72 calories.
Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health explains that eggs are helpful for lowering the risk of heart disease. They contain 5 grams of mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, and healthy levels of cholesterol. The Mayo Clinic agrees, adding that eggs may help prevent strokes. Furthermore, an article from the January 2015 issue of Nutrients conveys that eggs are an economical, as well as highly nutritious, food providing 18 important vitamins and minerals, several of which are lacking in the typical western diet. These are zinc, selenium, retinol and tocopherols, as well as antioxidants that protect against cardiovascular, and other, diseases.
Is Eggs Benedict Healthy?
Eggs Benedict's nutritional value is scrutinized mainly due to the hollandaise sauce calories, which runs about 80 calories per tablespoon, with almost 9 grams of fat (5 of them saturated). A typical serving for an Eggs Benedict with one English muffin and two eggs has approximately 4 tablespoons of hollandaise sauce. This equates to 320 calories, and 36 grams of fat (20 of them saturated) in the sauce alone. Tack on another 10 grams of fat for two eggs, and this is a very fat-heavy meal. In total, with one English muffin (264 calories), 4 tablespoons of hollandaise and two eggs, Eggs Benedict contains 728 calories.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that 20 to 30 percent of your daily calories come from fat, with 10 percent or less coming from saturated fat. This equals between 400 and 700 calories from fat in a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet, with a maximum of 200 of those calories coming from saturated fat.
It is also wise to keep in mind that the American Heart Association advises that no more than 120 calories in a 2,000-calorie diet come from saturated fat. That is about 13 grams. So, you can see that Eggs Benedict is too heavy in saturated fat to be considered a healthy breakfast option.
Healthier Eggs Benedict
Creating a healthier version of eggs Benedict is fairly easy. For instance, the LIVESTRONG.com recipe for Avocado Eggs Benedict uses a clever method of making hollandaise sauce with avocados in place of butter. For added health benefits, the English muffin is replaced with sweet potato slices.
This version provides 253 calories, 17 grams of fat (3 of them saturated), 8 grams of carbohydrates and 18 grams of protein. The nutrients from the eggs, potato and smoked salmon make this potassium and omega-3 rich breakfast a perfect alternative to traditional Eggs Benedict.
- My Food Data: "Nutrition Facts for Eggs (Raw)"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Eggs"
- The Mayo Clinic: "Eggs: Are they good or bad for my cholesterol"
- Egg Farmers of Canada: "Classic Eggs Benedict Recipe"
- USDA Food Data Central: "Hollandaise sauce"
- USDA: "2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans"
- American Heart Association: "Saturated Fat"
- USDA: "English Muffin"