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?

Cover Slide Image

Enjoying Eggs for Dinner

By Victoria Shanta Retelny, RDN

The Egg Nutrition Center partnered with Victoria Shanta Retelny, RDN to write this blog post. 

Let’s face it, dinnertime can be hectic and that’s why simple meals that you can make in minutes are a lifesaver.  After a busy day, your body needs a nourishing meal to fuel it properly before your 7 to 9-hour slumber. Even when you are asleep, calories are needed to necessitate your body’s ability to repair and restore damaged cells, such as muscle recovery from your daily exercise routine. (1)  Steer clear of eating large, heavy meals in the evenings, and instead focus on a well-balanced dinner with high-quality protein, fiber-filled carbohydrates and essential fats to optimize your metabolic needs overnight.

If you’re looking for some new and simple dinner ideas, why not try dinner eggs? Give your last meal of the day a nourishing boost with eggs, which offer high quality protein, essential fats, a good or excellent source of eight essential nutrients, including choline plus the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.  And with only 70 calories per large egg, you can lighten up your dinner in a tasty way – without breaking your budget, either.  For about 15 cents each, eggs are one of least expensive high-quality protein foods out there.

The beauty of eggs is that they offer tons of culinary possibilities in the evening.  Eggs pair well with a plant-based eating pattern that includes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, peas and lentils, nuts and seeds. Try cracking an egg, cooking it sunny side up and placing it on top of your favorite mixed greens salad; scramble eggs with veggies and spices and spoon into a whole grain wrap or toss scrambled eggs with pesto pasta and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese for a delightful and quick dinner.  You’ll take the hassle out of dinnertime in no time flat with eggs as part of your evening meal plans.

Here are some delicious dinner egg recipes that you can easily whip up at home.  


  1. How your body uses calories while you sleep. Assessed at

Build Your Best Adult Lunch Box

By Kim Hoban, RDN, CDN, CPT

The Egg Nutrition Center partnered with Kim Hoban, RDN, CDN, CPT to write this blog post.

Back to school time isn’t just for the kids. The start of a new school year can provide the opportunity to get back into a routine and establish healthy habits. Packing lunches can help the whole family stay organized, eat well and save money. If you’re tired of boring brown bag sandwiches and drab deli salads, it might be time to revamp your adult lunch box. Follow these three tips to help you pack your own delicious, nutritious and satisfying lunches for that midday meal.

5 Reasons Why Eggs and Instant Pots Are Meant To Be

By Dana Angelo White

The Egg Nutrition Center partnered with Dana Angelo White MS, RD, ATC to write this blog post. Dana’s opinions are her own.

Summer is no time to pack away the kitchen appliances. Your Instant Pot is just as useful for summer recipes as it was for heartier cooler weather fare. From pulled pork to batches of brown rice, I am always finding new easy and fast ways to fuel a crowd of sun-drenched friends and kiddos. You will constantly find me tossing eggs in my instant pot – here are 5 of my favorite ways to prepare them.

An Egg-Cellent Match Up

Eggs are a daily staple in my kitchen. After a morning workout, I crave this complete protein source in an omelet or burrito. Hard-cooked eggs are an easy handheld snack and my family is completely obsessed with fried rice for dinner.  Eggs not only offer up high-quality protein (ahem, you get it from both the white and the yolk), they are a naturally nutrient-rich choice providing an excellent source of vitamin B12, biotin, iodine, selenium, and choline, and a good source of riboflavin and pantothenic acid. Plus, eggs are one of the only foods that naturally have vitamin D, which is critical for strong muscles and bones.

Instant Pot Eggs – 5 Ways

It doesn’t get much easier or faster than these 5 recipes.

1) Make-ahead breakfast sandwiches

Place a cracked egg and slice of Canadian bacon into ramekins and pressure cook for 6 minutes. Flip the egg mixture out of the cups and stack on a whole grain roll with baby spinach and a sprinkle of cheese. These sammies can also be made ahead, wrapped and frozen – just heat and heat.

2) Fried Rice Goals

As mentioned above, fried rice is the queen of weeknight dinners at the White Palace. Grab cooked rice, veggies and eggs and create this delightfully satisfying one-pot meal. Check out this recipe for my Instant Pot Shrimp Fried Rice featured at

3) EZ Peel Hard-Cooked Eggs

Not only is does the Instant Pot allow for cooking in bulk, pressure cooking allows for hands down the most peelable eggs you ever took a crack at. Make a dozen hard-cooked eggs in just a few minutes, then cool, peel and serve with a dusting of everything bagel seasoning.

4) Lightened Up Desserts

Confession time – I am not a very good baker! But the Instant Pot can help in that department as it is the perfect gadget for no-fail cheesecake and one of the most show-stopping desserts of all time (wait for it….) crème brulee – the egg-based custard cooks to perfection in the Instant Pot.

5) Savory Oatmeal

Finally, a little something unexpected. Oatmeal can be a sweet way to start your day, but I also love giving it a savory spin. Spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and a sprinkle of cheese take this bowl of oats straight to flavor town and there’s no better way to finish it off than by putting an egg on it!

Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato Oatmeal

Serves: 2

  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup uncooked rolled oats
  • 1 ¾ cups water
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach
  • 1 tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 2 packed-in-oil sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
  1. Fill a medium sauce pan with cold water, add the vinegar. Bring to a simmer over low heat.
  2. Working one at a time, crack an egg into a small bowl, swirl the water in the pan, and then immediately pour the egg into the water. Poach for 3 minutes and then use a slotted spoon to transfer the eff to a plate lined with a paper towel. Repeat with the remaining egg. Set aside.
  3. Spray the inner pot with nonstick cooking spray. Combine the oats, water, and salt in the pot. Stir well.
  4. Cover, lock the lid and flip the steam release handle to the sealing position. Select pressure cook (high) and set the cook time for 4 minutes. When the cook time is complete, quick release the pressure.
  5. Remove the lid, add the spinach and Parmesan. Mic well.
  6. Transfer to serving bowls and top each serving with 1 tablespoon of the sun-dried tomatoes and 1 egg, Serve warm.

Nutrition Per Serving

Calories: 226; Total fat: 7g; Saturated fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 97mg; Carbohydrates: 30g; Sugars: 1g; Dietary fiber: 5g; Sugars: 1g; Protein: 11g; Sodium: 205mg

Excerpted from Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook reprinted by permission of Alpha, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2018 by Dana Angelo White

Summer Picnic Picks

By Kim Hoban, RDN, CDN, CPT

The Egg Nutrition Center partnered with Kim Hoban, RDN, CDN, CPT to write this blog post.

With summer in full swing, calendars are filling up with outdoor concert series, beach days and picnics in the park. Eggs and egg dishes might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think picnic food, but they’re actually a great option for the busy summer season, as they pack a protein punch and are super portable. We all know egg salad is delicious, especially when you switch it up with fun flavors like sriracha, dill or curry, but this summer, why not try some picnic picks that feature eggs in a totally new way? Whether you’re spending the whole day out and about or just enjoying a midday lunch date, read on for fun ways to egg-spand your picnic palate.

If you’re headed out for a long day at the beach or water park, prep some of these Spicy Black Bean Breakfast Burritos or Bacon, Egg and Mushroom Burritos in advance to fuel your adventures. Bring a burrito along for breakfast en route or to enjoy as you set up your spot in the sand.

Be the hero of a potluck picnic with friends by bringing these super simple and nutrient dense Veggie Egg Pops to snack on. Or, add some crunch to your lunch with this Cobb Salad Wrap that makes handheld eating easy and delicious. And of course, traditional deviled eggs can’t be beat when it comes to picnic fare! If you’re worried about transporting the little devils, try placing each egg into its own cupcake liner. You can also pack the empty egg white halves in one container and the deviled egg filling in a food storage bag, then fill just before serving.

Finally, don’t forget dessert! Fruit salad is a simple and seasonal way to serve up something sweet, or try these Cherry Cheesecake Bars.

No matter how you choose to enjoy eggs during the summer picnic season, remember to keep cold foods cold (below 40°F) to make sure everyone stays safe and healthy. Pack food in a well-insulated cooler with plenty of ice or ice packs. It’s easy to lose track of time when you’re having fun with family and friends, but be careful not to let food sit out more than two hours and if the temperature rises higher than 90°F, stick to an hour or less. Bring a timer or set an alarm on your cell phone to remind you when it’s time to put food away.

Animal-Sourced Foods: How Much Do We Need?

Healthy dietary patterns recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans can include a variety of plant-sourced and animal-sourced foods to meet nutrient needs.  Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy foods, protein foods, and oils are key to healthy dietary patterns.  Although some animal-sourced foods (such as eggs) are placed in the “Protein Food Group,” these foods are more than just protein and have unique nutrient profiles important for health, as discussed at a recent conference at the University of California, Davis.

Animal-sourced foods provide high quality protein1, meaning these foods have all the essential amino acids the body needs.  In the U.S., appropriately planned vegetarian and vegan diets can also provide sufficient protein to maintain health2.  However, both plant-sourced foods and animal-sourced foods provide more than protein.  Foods from different food groups provide a good or excellent source of various essential nutrients:

  • Brussels sprouts: vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate (B9)
  • Oranges: fiber, vitamin C, and thiamin (B1)
  • Beans: protein, fiber, iron, thiamin, folate, phosphorus, and magnesium
  • Eggs: protein, riboflavin (B2), vitamin B12, biotin (B7), pantothenic acid (B5), iodine, selenium, and choline