Try cooking pork sausage with eggs for a great breakfast or meal at any time of the day. Skip the sugary cereals and dig into this satisfying breakfast that is packed with protein for healthy weight management. There’s no need to be afraid of pork and eggs; plants are not the only healthy food option around! Power up your plate with these nourishing and delicious animal-based foods.
I’m going to do something controversial today by cooking pork sausage and then using the pork fat to cook eggs. Shocking behavior from a dietitian, I know. But it’s kind of strange that it’s unusual if you think about it.
I see some dietitians talk about not being afraid to eat foods such as ice cream and baked goods. I’ve observed a lot of effort go into encouraging the public to enjoy these foods daily if desired. The rationale (typically) is that creating fears around foods may lead to disordered eating behaviors.
Oddly, I rarely see this rationale used for encouraging foods such as beef or pork daily. These foods are far more nutrient-dense and satiating than the snack foods that some are promoting. Isn’t it at least as important to not be afraid of these nutritious animal-based food sources?
If you are looking to swap out some of the processed meat in your diet for fresh meat, try this recipe. Though it is higher in calories than a couple of strips of bacon, you’re getting more filling protein.
(For the record, bacon is just sliced pork belly. It is not in the same league in terms of processing as many hotdogs.)
So why cook the eggs in a little pork fat?
Do you see that lovely lacy brown edge on the eggs? That crispy goodness is the result of cooking the eggs in a little pork fat.
I have a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet, but my eggs still stick to the pan without using a little cooking spray or added oil. Using a little pork fat (leftover from cooking sausage or bacon) offers several advantages:
- Less food waste: It’s obvious, but using the animal fat prevents it from being thrown out.
- Money-saving: There’s no need to buy a bottle of cooking oil if you use the fat you already have. (Also not purchasing the bottle of oil saves on plastic and other environmental costs of manufacturing the product.)
- More aligned with the aim to eat whole foods: Health messaging often encourages the consumption of whole plant foods. Aiming for similar goals with animal-based foods is probably not a bad idea either.
- Lower in saturated fat than certain options: It may come as a surprise that the pork fat is lower in saturated fat than certain plant-based fats (like coconut oil). The option that is lowest in saturated fat would be a small spritz of cooking oil spray. (You’ll miss out on getting lacy egg edges with the spray, though.)
- Most delicious option: This one is entirely subjective, but I would argue that the pork fat wins on taste compared to vegetable oils.
Dietitians started on the wrong foot with breakfast, but things are getting better
One of the co-founders of the American Dietetic Association (now the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) worked at the Battle Creek Sanitarium. This facility advocated a vegetarian diet and initiated the development of foods such as faux meats and breakfast cereals.
They played a large role in transforming breakfast from eggs and meat to boxed cereal. (Yikes!) Highly fortified cereals can be helpful in certain situations. For instance, they can help provide essential nutrients to certain patients at risk for malnutrition. However, they are not the best option health-wise for the general population.
The field of dietetics had an unfortunate beginning with breakfast. By encouraging satiating breakfast options that aren’t full of added sugar and refined grains, dietitians can help turn the tide. (And if you are interested in learning more about the relationship between the ADA and vegetarianism, this article is worth reading.)
Unsweetened oatmeal, yogurt, nuts, and fruit are options that some may choose. Homemade sausage and eggs are another healthy option. Just keep in mind that “healthy” is a relative term, and there is no one optimal diet for all individuals.
In happier news, one of my local grocery stores has a full-time dietitian who is helping consumers to make better choices. The checkouts have options like nuts and jerky at eye level, while candies are way down near the floor. The last time I visited, I noticed the fresh bakery items had new calorie labels, which was probably her doing…
It would be great if the produce and meat section were similarly labeled. Seeing the tiny 450 calorie donuts can make the idea of keeping a calorie deficit for weight loss seem impossible. Labeling the foods that are better choices might help guide people towards things they should be eating.
If you are trying to lose weight, calories are only part of the picture
As I’ve written about previously, protein, fiber, and water are the food factors that have been shown to help keep people full. I need to have all three components to keep me satiated. That means you’ll usually see a source of protein plus fruit/veg (for the fiber and water) in my meals.
Just sausage and eggs would typically not cut it for me for a filling meal. Neither would fruit without the protein, though fruit is fine to hold me over for a snack.
Some people report that their experience is different. For example, they’d find sausage and eggs filling without fruit.
I highly encourage you to explore the sort of meals that help keep you full at a calorie deficit if you are aiming for fat loss.
Do you find higher fat dairy foods and meats to be more satiating than low-fat? (I don’t.) Do you find higher volume meals, filled with low-cal veggies and fruits to be satiating? (I do.)
Your answers may be different than mine, and that is OK. It used to irk me when I would see dietitians post recipes that I would not find satisfying, tbh. Then I realized that maybe these meals, typically low in protein and high in grains, felt satiating to them.
Modify your meals in ways that feel satisfying and enjoyable to you. Who’s ready to eat?
And now for the disclaimer…
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The calorie information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don’t sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to this post. Let’s get cooking!
Homemade Pork Sausage with Eggs
For the pork sausage:
- 1 lb. ground pork
- 1 t dried sage
- 1 t fennel seeds, crushed
- 1 t dried thyme
- ½ t salt
- ¼ t black pepper
- 1 t dried parsley
- ½ t onion powder
- ½ t garlic powder
- ¼ t red pepper flakes
- ¼ c rolled oatmeal
- 1 egg large
Other ingredients needed:
- 8 eggs large
- 4 peaches, sliced
- chopped chives (for garnish)
- Combine all of the pork sausage ingredients with clean hands.
- When the mixture is uniform, divide it into four even pieces.
- Shape each of the pieces into a large round patty.
- Brown the patties in a heated cast iron skillet, 4-5 minutes per side. No added oil needed!
- Press down on the patties a bit with the spatula when you flip them for more even cooking.
- When browned, plate the sausage patties. Add the sliced peaches to the plates as well.
- Fry the 8 eggs in the pork fat left in the skillet. You may want to set aside some of the pork fat, since you will likely need to cook the eggs in several batches.
- Plate the eggs and garnish the sausage with the chives. Bon appétit!
This is a level 2 recipe (transition or weight maintenance). If you find meals that are higher in protein and fat to be more satiating, this may be a level 1 recipe for you. Yes, this recipe is a little higher in calories than those in level 1. However, it may support your weight loss goals if eating meals like this makes it less likely you’ll snack or overeat later. It’s simple to lower the carbs in this one, if that is what you are looking for. Swapping the peaches in this meal for some strawberries or raspberries is one way to do it. I tried making the sausage without the oats and thought the patties were too dense. Experimenting with low-carb bread crumbs may be an alternative. If you make substitutions to this recipe, I’d love to hear how they work out for you.
Do you use pork, chicken, and other animal fats in your cooking? Drop me a comment, and please leave a rating if you try cooking pork sausage with eggs!