Nutritious Dietary Patterns

Dietary patterns (also called eating patterns) are the combinations and quantities of food and beverages consumed over time. Consistent evidence indicates that, in general, a plant-based dietary pattern is more health-promoting than the current average U.S. diet. However, a “plant-based” eating patterns doesn’t mean only plants; pairing high-quality protein foods, like eggs, with plants is essential for the synthesis and maintenance of muscle tissue, and for achieving optimal vitamin and mineral intakes.

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend three healthy eating patterns, all of which include eggs. But what are the sample eating patterns, and what are the key differences between them?

To learn more about healthy eating patterns, including those recommended in the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines, and how eggs fit within those patterns, explore the following PowerPoint, and feel free to share it with friends!

Healthy Eating Patterns: How do Eggs Fit?

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Can Eggs be Part of a Healthy Diet in Children?

The Egg Nutrition Center partnered with Yanni Papanikolaou, MPH, PhDc to write this blog post

With children in school and on a routine schedule, there can be frustration and anxiety about what goes on to the breakfast plate for those active young, ready-to-learn brains. As someone who is immersed in nutrition research, I often get asked questions usually framed into one of two buckets: which foods should I eat and which should I avoid? At a recent gathering, parents were discussing the trials and tribulations of the morning rush and what to feed their kids and, naturally, the conversation turned to eggs with one parent questioning the need for eggs in children’s diets. With our recent ENC-sponsored research study examining the nutritional relevance of eggs in children, which was published this past May in the journal Nutrients, I gladly provided my expert opinion.

Pairing Eggs with Vegetables in a Plant-Based Diet

By Jessica Ivey, RDN, LDN

The Egg Nutrition Center partnered with Jessica Ivey, RDN, LDN to write this blog post.

A plant-based diet can be used to describe a variety of eating styles, ranging from vegan to vegetarian, plus diets that include relatively larger amounts of plant-based foods, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and relatively smaller amounts of animal products.

It’s important to note that a plant-based eating pattern doesn’t necessarily mean “plant-only.” Eggs are the perfect complement for just about any eating pattern. Pairing eggs with plant-based foods can help your body absorb more of the nutrients found in these foods, including Vitamin E and carotenoids, and can help meet daily protein requirements to support healthy muscles and strong bones. Eggs are themselves naturally nutrient rich with a good or excellent source of eight essential nutrients, including 6 grams of high-quality protein per large egg. Additionally, eggs are one of the only foods that naturally contain vitamin D (41 IU per large egg), which along with calcium, is critical for bone health. For pregnant and lactating women, eggs are one of the best sources of choline, an essential nutrient necessary for fetal brain development and brain function. Many of the nutrients, including Vitamin D, choline, and the carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, are found in the yolk, so be sure to enjoy the whole egg for the biggest nutrient boost.

Many seasonal fall vegetables can be paired with eggs for a balanced and complete meal.

Sheet Pan Meals

Fall is the perfect time to utilize your oven for making simple sheet pan meals with fewer dishes to wash. Roasting brings out the natural sweetness of hearty root vegetables, like sweet potatoes, and vegetables like Brussels sprouts and broccoli can serve as a base for baked eggs. Try this Eggs and Veggie Sheet Pan Dinner using cauliflower for a seasonal twist on an easy weeknight meal this fall.

Put an Egg on It

Top just about any seasonal plant-based dish with an egg to add a source of high-quality protein. Sweet Potato “Toast” with Poached Eggs is a fun spin on classic eggs and toast that can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. If you’re feeling adventurous, try this flavorful Korean Bibimbap with fall sweet potatoes and riced cauliflower. Pizzas and flatbreads, like this Wild Mushroom Flatbread with Poached Eggs, pair well with a poached or baked egg.

Baking with Eggs

Eggs serve many different roles in baking, including acting as a binder and adding richness to casseroles, like this Winter Squash Casserole and adding structure and volume to souffles, like this Pumpkin Souffle.

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.

Food as Lifestyle Medicine

Featured article in the Fall 2019 Issue of Nutrition Close-Up; written by Victoria Shanta Retelny, RDN, LDN

Disease prevention is the key when it comes to living a longer, healthier life. Lifestyle medicine, which focuses on prevention rather than treatment of chronic diseases, is gaining momentum. The World Health Organization estimates that, by 2020, two-thirds of all diseases will be a result of lifestyle factors.1 The good news is that chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers, could be avoided through the adoption of healthy lifestyle recommendations.2 Healthful eating is one of the main interventions in lifestyle medicine – along with active living, healthy weight and emotional resilience – the ability to handle adverse situations and bounce back to your baseline state of health.2 Therefore, recognizing that a nourishing, healthy eating pattern is a vital part of disease prevention and supports an active, healthy and happy life is essential.

Affordability is Key to Healthy Eating Around the World

By: Jen Houchins, PhD

Research continues to show the value of nutrient-dense animal sourced foods as part of healthy eating patterns in the U.S. and around the world.  On World Egg Day, we highlight the incredible, nutrient-dense egg as part of a global solution to inadequate nutrition, and consider new insights of challenges of consuming healthy diets both globally and within the U.S.

Eggs: A Perfect Ingredient for Powerful Produce Pairings

Featured article in the Fall 2019 Issue of Nutrition Close-Up; written by Amy Myrdal Miller, MS, RDN, FAND and Lauren Simin

Too often, nutrition discussions emphasize single nutrients or foods. Focusing on recipes, meals, and dietary patterns are better approaches for ensuring nutrient needs are met. It is also essential to ensure recommendations focus on flavor and enjoyment. This is especially true when making recommendations to motivate people to choose foods from under-consumed categories like vegetables. Dietary intake data show overall vegetable intake is below the recommended intake for more than 80 percent of Americans.1