Few animal products fit my style, but eggs are cheap, versatile, and keep well. They also cook well in a microwave.

Here’s the stats for one large egg:

serving cost calories net carbs fat fiber protein sugar
1 large ~$0.141 70 0 5 0 6 0

There’s a huge amount of varieties available, distinguished in a few ways (in the US):

  • grade
    • determined by USDA interior/exterior appearance guidelines 2
    • does not relate to taste, nutrition, or safety
    • higher grades are more expensive
  • size
    • determined mostly by the age of the hen 3
    • large or medium tend to be most cost effective
    • smaller eggs are thought to have more flavor
  • color
    • determined by the breed of the hen 4
    • not believed to significantly impact nutrition or taste
    • white tends to be cheapest

Most other labels - organic, pasture-raised, cage-free, etc - can be ignored outside of a hen treatment standpoint. I tend to buy cheap grade A large eggs; just be sure to open the container to check for cracks before buying.

There are a huge number of ways to cook eggs. Typically, I’ll crack one on a dish just before it finishes cooking. The result is similar to topping with a fried egg, but minimizes cleaning of cookware. I also commonly scramble eggs in the microwave, or stir them into soups.

Cook them however you prefer, just take care when heating them quickly without breaking the yolk: this can cause an explosion.

  1. large egg $1.69/dozen (Sauder’s large grade A, Trader Joe’s) 

  2. USDA 

  3. “All hens start egg production laying Pee Wee or Small eggs and gradually increase to a mature egg grade size of Medium, Large or bigger.” gov.mb.ca 

  4. “Although eggshell color is a largely cosmetic issue, with no effect on egg quality or taste, it is a major issue in production due to regional and national preferences for specific colors, and the results of such preferences on demand.” wikipedia