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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CFBAI Releases its Uniform Nutrition Standards

I think it’s a natural instinct to want to give your child a good start to life. In doing so, one tries to select and prepare healthy foods which will start the child on a path toward becoming a strong and healthy adult. However, the days of preparing foods from scratch are gone. Today’s parents are challenged to balance the benefits of convenience with those of nutrition and cost. Unfortunately, it’s becoming more difficult to make an informed selection in a marketplace that is stocked with foods screaming healthy claims but are not really nutrient dense.

In this regard, the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI) has made a first attempt to establish uniform standards for marketing and advertising to kids by member companies. Previously all member companies had their own standards so this move toward uniform standards will give parents some assurance that the food they choose is not packed with unnecessary excesses in sodium, sugar, saturated and trans- fats. The standards affect foods in the following categories: dairy; grains; fruits and vegetables; soups and meal sauces; seeds; nuts, nut butters and spreads; meat, fish and poultry; mixed dishes; and prepared main dishes and meals, such as macaroni and cheese, with each category having its own criteria. If approved, the new CFBAI standards, will affect at least 1/3 of the products now advertised as food for children requiring them to improve their nutrient profile.

Since taste sells, prepared foods have often increased their appeal at the expense of health. This has led to a backlash against prepared foods, which have been blamed for many of our societies’ ills. In fact, it is not the technology but the competitive need to attract the largest market that is the problem. By instituting the agreement, foods designed for children will be more like the food that we would have made if we had had the time and skill to prepare them. This agreement, although not as strict as those recommended by the Interagency Working Group earlier this year, can help children to appreciate the taste of nutrient dense foods so they can grow up to be adults who appreciate the taste of simple flavors and voluntarily limit excessive intake.

 

Take a look at these other articles on the recent news:

  • ABC News: Companies Propose Curbing Junk Food Ads for Kids
  • US News & World Report: Food Industry Sets Standards for Advertising to Kids
  •  LA Times: Consumer Confidential: New limit on food ads, ‘cramming’ is costly, Spotify arrives

Protein at Breakfast: The Most Important Part of the Most Important Meal

Breakfast Eggs

Hi Readers!  Today we have one of our Registered Dietitian Advisors, Keith Ayoob, blogging.  Enjoy!

~Marcia

You’ve heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  It’s true for everyone, and especially for kids.  There’s also plenty of science to back it up.  Kids who eat breakfast do better in school.  They also miss fewer days from school and are more likely to have a normal body weight.

Many adults skip breakfast and even when they don’t, their breakfast tends to run more towards coffee and a roll and butter.  Not much protein at all and that’s how they’re starting their day, setting themselves up for a possible crash mid-morning and real hunger pangs by lunch, which may also be skipped.

Biggest complaint about not eating breakfast is a lack of time.  As a nutritionist working with families and kids, honestly, I have a rough time with this one.  Breakfast is just too important to dismiss casually like that.  Funny – parents cringe at the thought of their child going to bed without eating dinner but they often have no problem with a child who skips breakfast.

This needs to change, but so does the way we think of breakfast in general.  Research on adults has shown that people tend to eat about two-thirds of their protein at dinner and only about 10% of it at breakfast.  That’s a concern, because the first meal of the day should contain at least as much protein as the dinner meal.  Not to say that people should be eating more protein overall, just spreading it out more evenly.  A third of your day’s protein should come at breakfast.  There’s evidence showing that people will utilize protein more efficiently, that is, for muscle growth and repair, if protein is more evenly distributed.  About a third of a day’s supply at each meal would do it.

Protein: Nature’s Appetite Regulator

Protein tends to help you feel full and satisfied, less hungry.  It does this in two ways: by blunting the rise in blood sugar and by staying in your stomach for longer, because it takes the body longer to digest it.

I have a hectic life, too.  I don’t always know when I’m going to get to lunch but I’m sensitive to hunger pangs like anyone else.  As long as I get enough protein in the morning, the timing of my next meal can be a bit more flexible – as it may need to be.

Recommendations are for between 10-35% of your calories from protein, so it’s not likely you’ll get too much protein, especially if you think of just shifting some of your protein from dinner to breakfast.  Aim for leaner protein foods to keep calories reasonable.

My Favorites at Breakfast

Cereal is often a typical at breakfast food and you don’t have to give it up to get more protein.  Indeed, whole grain cereal is a good way to get fresh fruit and low-fat milk into your diet and you need these foods.  I think of this breakfast as only a start however.  That’s right.  Add at least an ounce of lean protein to kick this breakfast into full steam.  Here are some of my favorite protein-boosting breakfast foods:

  • Hard-cooked eggs.  A total go-to food.  They’re fast, easy, and give me great protein and nutrition in the morning.  I keep a bowl in the fridge at all times and it’s a top-notch grab-and-go protein boost.  Yes, they’re absolutely OK every day.
  • Non-fat Greek yogurt.  Another great lean protein food, just pricier.
  • Low-fat cottage cheese.  It’s not “girl food”.  Check the label.  It’s protein-loaded and ready when you are.
  • Leftover dinner.  Not a big meal, just add that leftover chicken drumstick or slice of roast beef.

If you add one of the above to your usual bowl of cereal/fruit/milk, you’ll not only stay full for longer, you’ll get protein when your body actually needs more of it – first thing in the morning.

– Keith

Change:It’s What You Make of It

 

Over the past three weeks I have gone through quite a few changes between starting a new job, having a longer commute, traveling for conferences and transitioning to past president of the Illinois Dietetic Association.  I embrace change and tend to jump right in and tackle my new adventure.  Change is how we thrive and progress, however for some it can be challenging.

I am reminded of the book “Who Moved My Cheese.  At our exhibits for health professionals, ENC has started using an online survey related to the perceptions of eggs and nutrition. I was just looking at data from our most recent show and noted the question “How many whole eggs do you recommend your healthy clients eat each week?”  We had almost equal responses of 1-3 or 3-5 eggs daily (total~72 %).  Only a total of 23% answered 5-7 or more than 7 and some answered none.  Although we have the research showing the wonderful benefits of eggs and know that an egg a day is good; we can see it is difficult for some people to shift their mindset and accept this change.

Interestingly enough, during the conversations at the AAPA conference, I picked up on the following trends, which I related to characters in the book:

Sniff

Who sniffs out change early

“I’ve always eaten eggs and knew they were good.”

Scurry

Who scurries into action

“I heard the new information and changed immediately.”

Hem

Who denies and resists change as he fears

it will lead to something worse

“I cannot tell clients to eat eggs daily because they are “bad”. It will only cause more problems.”

Haw

Who learns to adapt in time when he sees changing can lead to something better!

 “I’ve been watching the research and was cautious at first, but now I am suggesting it now because (reason)”.

 There was one comment that didn’t necessarily fit in a character in the book:

“I eat eggs every day, but don’t suggest it to my clients”. Hopefully they are just mirroring Haw and will soon let everyone know “It’s All In An Egg”!

We have to think about how to educate people from all levels, because change is internal and is different for everyone.  Not everyone is Scurry and I think realizing this can help us educate our health professionals and clients.

2010 DGA Consumer Tool and Icon

My Plate
I’ve had the opportunity to think about the new USDA MyPlate icon. I saw it a couple of weeks ago and again when it was released to the public. At first I didn’t appreciate how it would succeed in committing people who eat on the run to consider the message of balance and portion control. However, I now appreciate that a change was needed and using a plate may actually help people to reflect on their eating habits.

Like the Food Guide Pyramid which morphed into the MyPyramid, the shape did not instruct one on how to construct a meal. The pyramid focused on the concept of a daily intake which resonated only within the dietetics world. A public communication tool should relate to nutrition on a meal basis which is why a plate is more appropriate. My concern is that we have stopped eating on plates.  Perhaps seeing our meals laid out, so we get a visual of portion adequacy, will help us to tame the out of control eating patterns we’ve developed. Too many times our meals are consumed in a cup or from a bag while in a car or at a desk.

When I asked Dr. Robert Post who directed the MyPlate.gov launch, how the public would be able to use this plate concept when they eat on the run, his response was that it is meant to be a reminder. An icon which reminds people that foods need to fit into a meal pattern and when accompanied by a relevant message which doesn’t grow stale, it can educate. He also pointed out that the icon is just a tool which directs one to the website where there is a wealth of information waiting to be accessed. In my humble opinion, this is a great improvement and a major step in the right direction. It will be interesting to see how well the tool communicates the desired messages.

To learn more about the new MyPlate icon:

National Egg Salad Week

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One would think I’d be tired of eggs by now but, the funny thing is I’m not. In fact, I kind of tired of chicken but because eggs are so versatile, they can be used in so many ways without repeating the same preparation. I love to read recipes that aren’t too complicated and suggest ways to use leftovers in creatively. One such list of recipes can be found athttp://www.dietsinreview.com/diet_column/04/5-ways-to-use-leftover-easter-eggs/ which offers suggestions about ways to use the leftover eggs from Easter egg celebrations. How brilliant that every Easter is followed by National Egg Salad Week! Even better, that this works for the leftover eggs from Passover as well.