By Jessica Ivey, RDN
The Egg Nutrition Center partnered with Jessica Ivey, RDN, LDN to write this blog post.
This time of year, I crave classic comfort foods and hearty, rich dishes to satisfy body and soul. Many of these dishes are not especially nutrient-rich, but with a few upgrades, you can enjoy crave-worthy winter fare with more nutrition in each bite.
Include a source of high-quality protein.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) recommend including a variety of protein options, such as seafood, skinless poultry, lean pork, such as pork tenderloin or center-cut pork chops, and lean beef, like sirloin steaks or roast and 90% lean ground beef. Eggs are also a high-quality protein source, providing 6 grams of protein per large egg and varying amounts of 13 essential vitamins and minerals, and are included in all of the recommended DGA eating patterns. Vegetarian source of protein, such as soy products, legumes, nuts, and seeds can also be included regularly. Diets rich in high-quality protein have been shown to help people feel full and satisfied after eating, control their appetite and manage their body weight. Additionally, eating meals with 20-30 grams of protein helps promote muscle protein synthesis. One of my favorite breakfasts on a cold morning is a bowl of hot oatmeal, and I love this Apple-Cinnamon Oatmeal with an Egg Boost for added protein to start the day.
Incorporate a hefty helping of vegetables.
Nearly 90 percent of the U.S. population does not meet the daily recommended intake of vegetables. Vegetables are a source of many of the nutrients lacking in the typical American diet, including vitamin A, C, folate, fiber, magnesium, and potassium.1 Incorporating more vegetables into comforting dishes you already enjoy is a great way to boost the nutritional value of the meal. One of my favorite comfort classics is spaghetti, and I love the idea of trading half the pasta for zucchini noodles in these Stretchy Zucchini Noodles.
Choose whole grains.
Whole grains are foods made from the entire grain kernel, which is made up of the bran, endosperm, and germ, and they thus retain more nutrients than refined grains. Whole grains are an important source of dietary fiber, iron, and folate, and the Dietary Guidelines recommend that we make at least half our grains whole. Examples of whole grains include whole wheat bread, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and quinoa. These Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa and Eggs would be a nutrient-packed alternative to traditional stuffed peppers with white rice and beef.
Jessica Ivey, RDN, LDN, is a dietitian and chef with a passion for teaching people to eat healthy for a happy and delicious life. Jessica offers approachable healthy living tips, from fast recipes to meal prep guides and ways to enjoy exercise on her website, JessicaIveyRDN.com. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.
- Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. 2015. Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee: Advisory Report to the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Agriculture. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Washington, DC.