For Immediate Release: April 13, 2011
Contact: Mya Rae Nelson 202-328-7744

What's The Healthiest Food Hidden In Your Easter Basket?

Put Eggs on Your Menu With Tips and Recipes
From the AICR Test Kitchen

Easter Eggs in a BasketWASHINGTON, DC –Munching on too many marshmallow chicks, jellybeans and chocolate bunnies can add up to weight gain – and the higher cancer risk that comes with it, experts at the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) warned today. But at least one item in the Easter basket – the colorful egg – can play a role in a healthy, cancer-protective diet.

The Easter tradition of dyeing eggs can lead to dozens of beautiful hard-boiled eggs that may never find their way onto a meal or snack plate. AICR says Americans should rethink how to use those leftover eggs.

According to AICR experts, research shows that Americans can cut their cancer risk by eating a diet high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes with small to moderate amounts of animal foods.

"Eggs have a place in the cancer-protective New American Plate way of eating, which fills at least 2/3 of the plate with plant foods, and the remaining 1/3 or less with animal foods," said Alice Bender, AICR's Registered Dietitian. "Eggs fit nicely into that 1/3, as they're high in protein, moderate in calories and low in saturated fat."

Protein Priced Right

Those Easter eggs add a powerful protein punch to any meal or snack at an affordable price – for fewer pennies than an equivalent amount of protein from chicken breast or even canned kidney beans. Eggs provide some B vitamins, a few minerals and at about 70-80 calories each, they don't break the calorie bank either.

Armed with some food safety knowledge and AICR's tasty recipes, families, students and others looking to stretch their food dollar can take advantage of the versatile package of protein.

No Bad Eggs in Your Kitchen

Follow these food safety tips from the USDA to stay healthy and avoid foodborne illness:

  1. Use only food-grade dye for Easter eggs you plan to eat.
  2. Refrigerate eggs within two hours of cooking and use them within one week. When shell eggs are hard-cooked, the protective coating is washed away, leaving open pores in the shell where harmful bacteria could enter.
  3. Don't keep raw or cooked eggs out of the refrigerator more than two hours.
  4. Egg dishes such as deviled eggs or egg salad should be used within 3 to 4 days.

Recipes for Your New American Plate

To make these egg salad recipes fit on the New American Plate, we've loaded them up with hearty beans and healthy veggies for extra flavor, substance – and health.

Egg Salad with White Beans

  • 4 hard-cooked eggs, peeled
  • 1 cup canned small white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped Kalamata olives
  • 2 Tbsp. minced chives
  • 1 tsp. Dijon-style mustard
  • 3 dashes hot pepper sauce, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 8 Boston lettuce leaves
  • 8 slices seedless cucumber, cut diagonally
  • 1 large tomato, cut in 8 wedges
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

In a mixing bowl, coarsely chop eggs. Add beans. Spread olives on paper towel, blot well, then add to salad. Add chives, mustard, hot sauce and 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper. Using a fork, mix until salad is well combined.

Arrange 2 lettuce leaves on each of 4 salad plates. Mound one-fourth of the egg salad in the center of each plate.

Place cucumber and tomatoes in mixing bowl. In small bowl, whisk lemon juice with 1/4 teaspoon salt until salt dissolves, then whisk in oil. Add pepper to taste. Pour dressing over vegetables and toss to coat. Arrange 2 cucumber slices and 2 tomato wedges on each plate around the salad. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings (2 1/2 cups egg salad mixture).

Per serving: 167 calories, 7 g. total fat (2 g. saturated fat), 14 g. carbohydrate,
10 g. protein, 3 g. dietary fiber, 266 mg. sodium.

Egg and Vegetable Salad SandwichEgg and Vegetable Salad Sandwich

  • 4 large hard-cooked eggs, peeled
  • 1/3 cup grated carrot
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped celery
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped chives
  • 3 Tbsp. finely chopped pitted Sicilian-style green olives
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped shallots
  • 1 Tbsp. plain yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp. reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. Dijon-style mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 slices thinly sliced square black or pumpernickel bread
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 12 cherry or grape tomatoes, for garnish

Place 3 hard-cooked eggs in mixing bowl. Halve the fourth, discard yolk, and add white to the bowl. Chop eggs. Add carrots, celery, chives, olives, shallots, yogurt, mayonnaise, mustard, and pepper and mix with a fork until well combined.

To serve, place a slice of the bread on each of 4 plates. Cover each with one-fourth of the spinach. Mound one-fourth of the egg salad on top of the spinach. Add 3 tomatoes to each plate and serve immediately.

Makes 1 3/4 cups, (4 servings).

Per serving: 112 calories, 4 g. total fat (1 g. saturated fat), 13 g. carbohydrate,
6 g. protein, 2 g. dietary fiber, 300 mg. sodium.


The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $96 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, AICR is part of the global network of charities that are dedicated to the prevention of cancer. The WCRF global network is led and unified by WCRF International, a membership association that operates as the umbrella organization for the network. The other charities in the WCRF network are World Cancer Research Fund in the UK (; Wereld Kanker Onderzoek Fonds in the Netherlands (; World Cancer Research Fund Hong Kong (; and Fonds Mondial de Recherche contre le Cancer in France (

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