AUSTIN (KXAN) — A hen may be a flightless bird, but egg prices are flying high. Though prices are beginning to trend downward, Stephanie Klein of the Texas A&M Department of Poultry Science said costs won’t return to more normal levels until late August.
In the interim, KXAN asked Sarah Whipkey, a registered dietitian and nutritionist at the Plant Potential, what products people can choose at the supermarket that are high in protein, low in value and still tasty instead of eggs.
A substitute for scrambled eggs
Whipkey said tofu is an excellent alternative to use in this classic American breakfast dish.
“A cheap, good protein source is going to be tofu,” Whipkey said. “I know that kind of scares a lot of people, but you can actually crumble it and season it, and it’s honestly not that different from an egg.”
Tofu is high in protein and can be purchased for as low as $1 a package.
“One egg will have about six grams of protein. Half a cup of tofu has 10 grams of protein,” Whipkey said.
To make scrambled tofu, she said to drain the tofu, dry it with a paper or kitchen towel and then crumble it with your hands or a spoon.
No eggs for baking? No problem.
Whipkey said there are several substitutes for eggs that bakers can use to make delicious fluffy treats.
“As far as full plant foods, you can do flaxseed, chia seed, applesauce (or) mashed banana,” she said.
Bakers can also use a mixture of baking soda, water and vegetable oil in lieu of eggs. “Or, you can just use about a quarter cup of carbonated water, which is again pretty cheap and pretty easy to use,” Whipkey said.
Cheap, high-protein and plant-based food
Whipkey said the egg inflation can be a great opportunity to try a more plant-based diet. Though eggs are healthy in moderation, she said there are plenty of other options that have just as much protein and more fiber.
“About one in three Americans is deficient in fiber,” she said. Plant foods are higher in fiber and lower in cholesterol and saturated fat, she continued. Coconut oil, which is high in saturated fat, is an exception.
“As far as cheap and healthy – beans,” she said. “Beans are always cheap, always available…About a quarter cup is going to be six to seven grams of protein, which is about the equivalent of an egg.”
Whipkey recommended dried chickpeas for a healthy, cheap and high-protein snack on-the-go. When it comes to a healthy snack on the pricier side, she likes Luna bars.
“They’re made with whole plant foods — so just dates, nuts, and occasionally a chocolate chip in there,” she said. “They can be on the higher price side, but you’re not getting any added preservatives or kind of yucky ingredients in there.”