Eating for Life: Overnight Omelet Casserole

12/17/2013 5:56 PM

12/17/2013 5:57 PM

What’s one of the best things made with sliced bread? Try a puffy, golden brown breakfast strata.

The simple layered bread, egg and cheese casserole can be assembled the night before, a convenience that makes it the perfect dish to pull out of the refrigerator ready to go on a hectic holiday morning.

Although the main ingredients of this casserole have been much maligned by diet fads in recent decades, The Star’s Overnight Omelet Casserole proves these food essentials can be part of a healthy diet with some minor tweaks.

For instance, instead of plain white bread, try 100 percent whole-wheat. The switch increases the amount of calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium and fiber.

Next, using an egg substitute in combination with a whole egg reduces the total amount of fat and cholesterol. Eggs are low in calories and high in protein, vitamin A and riboflavin. The substitution of fat-free milk for whole milk further reduces the fat content of the egg dish while adding calcium.

In the past, reduced-fat cheeses have been a hard sell with many consumers, but in recent years they have been reformulated to melt better, says Erica Devore, a registered dietitian with the Midwest Dairy Council. Another plus: As more people switch to low-fat dairy products, they’ve become used to the consistency.

Pump it up: To add vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, serve the casserole with fresh fruit, including grapefruit segments, green or purple grapes, kiwifruit, a slice of cantaloupe or a bowl of fresh berries.

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