A Climber's Guide to Eggs

Ditch brick-hard bars for this bite-size power snack
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Ditch brick-hard bars for this bite-size power snack
Rock Climbing Egg Recipe

Photo: Ben Fullerton

Nutritious, easy to make, and cheap, eggs are as practical as they are tasty. Only problem: portability. The filling, energy-rich meal of bacon and eggs has never been easy to carry or quick to pull off—until now. Thankfully with this “Why didn’t I think of that?!” recipe from our friends at Skratch Labs, you can have a deliciously salty, protein-packed snack anywhere, even on a long climb. Not only will these keep you satiated for hours, but the salt content will help your body absorb water (don’t forget to chugalug) for optimum hydration. And don’t worry about the cholesterol content: The American Heart Association accepts and encourages eggs as a nutritious option for healthy eating; they recommend one egg a day. While one egg is only about 80 calories, it packs seven grams of protein (or more) inside its unassuming shell. Compare this to about 200 calories for an average energy bar with roughly the same amount of protein. Choose these easy egg bites for a healthy, filling snack that delivers long-burning energy, is easy to digest, and won’t weigh you down when you want to feel light and strong.

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs

Top with

  • 2 tablespoons cooked bacon, chopped
  • Pepper
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan
  • Salt   

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350° and thoroughly coat six cups of a standard nonstick muffin tin with cooking spray.
  2. Carefully crack one egg into each muffin cup. Position pan on the middle oven rack. To evenly cook the eggs, rotate the pan after five to six minutes, or when the eggs begin to turn white.
  3. Bake until the whites set and the yolks look partially set (about 10 to 15 minutes total). Remove pan from the oven; the eggs will continue to cook while resting without overcooking. Sprinkle with bacon or other toppings to taste so the toppings partially cook into the egg.
  4. While the eggs are resting, use a plastic knife to loosen them from the edge of the pan.
  5. Let cool to the touch before wrapping each individual serving (makes six) with tin foil. Store extras in the refrigerator.

Nutrition Facts (per serving, 1 egg)
Energy: 94 cal • Fat: 7g • Carbs: 0g • Protein: 8g • Fiber 0g • Sodium 224mg

Recipe republished with permission of VeloPress from Feed Zone Portables ($25). Try more recipes at feedzonecookbook.com.

Not All Eggs are Equal

For something as simple as an egg, there are a boggling array of options. Grade AA, grade A, cage-free, pastured, vegetarian, brown, white, standard… Arguably, you can grab any old carton from the grocery store and scram, but here’s a quick rundown of what eggs are best for our bodies and the environment.

Rock climbing Eggs

Photo: istock

Label: Pastured or Free-Range
What it means: These eggs come from hens that live freely in the outdoors (90% of eggs on the shelf are from caged, factory-farmed hens). Free-range hens can roam and munch on the kinds of things they like to munch on—mostly weeds, seeds, grass, insects, and worms. The balanced diet of these pastured hens results in eggs packed with more protein and a higher percentage of vitamins A, E, B-12, and omega-3 fatty acids than factory hens whose feed consists mainly of waste products from the grain and meat industry: discarded cow, pig, and even chicken parts. Additionally, pastured hens are generally free from antibiotics and hormones. On top of that, these birds live a more natural—and probably happier—existence.

Label: White vs. Brown
What it means: Contrary to popular belief, there is no substantial difference between white and brown eggs. The truth is incredibly simple: White eggs usually come from white hens, while brown eggs usually come from red hens. Brown eggs can be pricier because sometimes they’re slightly larger. Any nutritional difference comes from what the hen was fed.

LabelCage-Free
What it means: Be wary of labels that claim their eggs come from cage-free hens, as this qualifier only means they were not kept in a cage. Farmers can still keep them in overcrowded hen houses, give them antibiotics and hormones, feed them byproducts of grain and meat production, and still receive this label—just as long as the birds stay out of cages. Cage-free hens are typically fed the same stuff as factory-farmed hens and therefore produce similar eggs.

Label: Organic
What it means: To qualify for this label, farmers can’t use any antibiotics or hormones. The feed for the hens must also qualify as organic. Keep in mind that this label does not refer to the hen’s living conditions, meaning they might have limited access to the outdoors.

LabelVegetarian
What it means: Factory-farmed and free-range hens are susceptible to feed containing meat, but vegetarian-labeled eggs come from hens whose feed contains only plant matter. Meat-free folks can rest easy with these. However, research has shown that these eggs are no better or worse for you than non-vegetarian eggs.

LabelOmega-3 Supplemented
What it means: Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential nutrient for a variety of functions. They help control blood clotting, reduce the risk of heart disease, and build and maintain cell membranes in the brain. Hens that consume feed supplemented with omega-3 fatty acid sources (usually flax seeds) produce eggs with a higher-than-normal nutrient content. Supplemented eggs contain up to five times as many omega-3’s as ordinary eggs. Since our bodies don’t produce this nutrient on their own, these specialized eggs are a great way to get omega-3 fatty acids without burps that taste like fish oil.

LabelGrade B, A, and AA
What it means: These grades refer to the quality of the egg structure. Grade A and AA eggs have thick, firm whites and rounded yolks free from defects, making them best for frying or poaching. Grade A eggs are the most commonly sold grade in grocery stores. Grade B eggs contain more imperfections, runny whites, and wide, flat yolks. These eggs are seldom found in grocery stores, as they are usually used for other liquid, frozen, or dried egg products.