For some people, any salad is light and healthy -- even if it’s doused in cheese, bacon, croutons and creamy salad dressing. But if you’re watching your waistline, you know the truth. A salad is only as healthy as its ingredients. And while you might think that hard-boiled eggs are a tasty, yet risky option -- think again. If you’re careful about your cholesterol intake, hard-boiled eggs can be a perfectly healthy salad topping.
A large egg has just around 70 to 80 calories -- which really isn’t much if you consider that just 1 tablespoon of blue cheese salad dressing has about the same amount. But unlike salad dressing, eggs are packed with protein. Each egg has around 6 grams of protein, which can prevent that mid-afternoon vending machine visit by keeping your belly full for longer. Eggs also provide around 25 milligrams of calcium, more than 60 grams of potassium and over 80 grams of phosphorus. Egg yolk also contains choline, which keeps your brain healthy.
If you’re watching your cholesterol -- and really, you should be if you’re trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle -- you might be a bit considered about eating those yummy egg yolks. It’s true that the yolks carry a heavy amount of cholesterol -- around 180 to 190 milligrams in a large egg. But that doesn’t mean you need to nix the yolks at all times. According to MayoClinic.com, a daily cholesterol intake of 300 milligrams should be safe for most healthy adults. So when your taste buds are craving an egg-topped salad, indulge in the craving -- and then just watch your cholesterol consumption for the rest of the day.
Dressing your Greens
Get the most bang for your buck by dicing the hard-boiled eggs into small pieces and scattering them throughout your salad. You’ll still get a bite of egg in nearly every bite. Or, use the egg to make homemade salad dressing -- which might save calories, fat and sugar. After dicing your hard-boiled egg into small pieces, mix it into plain yogurt and season with mustard, dill and black pepper. For a not-so-creamy version, just mash your egg yolks and combine with olive oil, salt and pepper -- then toss the egg whites into your salad, for good measure.
Since a hard-boiled egg adds extra fat and cholesterol, you might want to be a bit more cautious about your salad dressing. For a low-fat dressing that’s still packed with flavor, consider salsa -- which also packs a healthy dose of antioxidants to keep your skin looking young and your immune system strong. If you enjoy Southwestern flavors, toss a few black beans and corn kernels into the mix. Or, skip the salsa altogether and garnish your greens with cucumbers, chickpeas, banana peppers, tomatoes and hard-boiled egg dressing.
Krista Sheehan is a registered nurse and professional writer. She works in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and her previous nursing experience includes geriatrics, pulmonary disorders and home health care. Her professional writing works focus mainly on the subjects of physical health, fitness, nutrition and positive lifestyle changes.