March is National Nutrition Month® (NNM), a nutrition education and information campaign celebrated annually by Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The purpose of NNM is to bring attention to the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the NNM theme for 2016 is “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right” which, “encourages everyone to take time to enjoy food traditions and appreciate the pleasures, great flavors and social experiences food can add to our lives.”
Nutritious eggs can help bring NNM to life. They are a high-quality protein source that is quick and easy to prepare and help make a balanced meal or snack. Because eggs are so versatile they can be prepared in a variety of ways – scrambled, fried, poached, hard-boiled or as an omelet or in a quiche or frittata – and also cooked using a variety of methods including in the microwave, on the stove or in the oven.
Breakfast may be the first meal that comes to mind when thinking of eggs, but patients/clients should remember that nutritious eggs can be enjoyed at other eating occasions as well. Research conducted at Purdue University and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that carotenoid absorption from a raw vegetable salad was much higher when eggs were co-consumed with the salad versus when they were not. Some of the elevated carotenoids can be attributed to carotenoid content of the eggs themselves, but this research supports previous findings that carotenoids need to be consumed with dietary fat to be effectively absorbed into the body to elicit their beneficial health effects. Read more about this research and get materials for you and your patients/clients by visiting the Boosting the Benefits of Vegetables resources (for Patients/Clients and for Health Professionals) on our Educational Materials page.
The Egg Nutrition Center offers a number of recipes and recipe collections that feature traditional and unique ways to savor the flavor and nutrition benefits of eggs during National Nutrition Month and all year long. These include:
- Egg-A-Day Recipe Collection: Offers a variety of ways to enjoy eggs along with other nutrient-rich foods.
- Build a Healthy Plate at Each Meal recipe booklet: Based on the USDA Choose MyPlate program, this collection of recipes guides consumers on planning 3 delicious, nutritious and affordable meals with an additional high protein snack.
- Mediterranean Confetti Salad: This recipe is featured on the Boosting the Benefits of Vegetables handout described above. It features both eggs and avocados which are also a source of unsaturated fats that can help boost carotenoid absorption.
Citation: Kim JE, Gordon SL, Ferruzzi MG, Campbell WW. Eects of egg consumption on carotenoid absorption from co-consumed, raw vegetables. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015;102:75-83.