Articles

Surprisingly Simple Tips to Utilize MyPlate

The Egg Nutrition Center partnered with Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD to write this blog post.

The Egg Nutrition Center is proud to be a Strategic Partner of the ChooseMyPlate program. MyPlate is a tool created by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) to teach people how to make healthy food and beverage choices from all five food groups, including fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy.

A new program called Start Simple with MyPlate offers simple tips for utilizing MyPlate on a daily basis. MyPlate recommends filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables, one-quarter of the plate with protein and one quarter with grains. The Start Simple program also suggests varying your vegetables, choosing whole fruits, making at least half your grains whole grains, switching to fat-free or low-fat milk and drinking water instead of sugary drinks.

For healthcare professionals, the Start Simple with MyPlate Toolkit can help provide realistic and actionable ideas to motivate clients to eat healthier and improve overall health. This tool is easy to use and helpful in many healthcare settings. Here are a few ways you can help spread the message of Start Simple with MyPlate in your own practice and beyond.

Be active on social media

Take to your favorite social media platform to share the Start Simple program with your followers. The great thing about social media is that you can show your own personal experiences in real time. Create a plate following the Start Simple with MyPlate tips, snap a picture and share it with the hashtag #StartSimplewithMyPlate. Then challenge your social media followers to do the same.

Use the MyPlate Plan

This easy-to-use tool gives clients and patients a plan with a personalized calorie level and food group recommendations. Just follow the prompts and provide some basic information (sex, age, activity level) to get your tailored calorie range and sample meal plan. The recommendation tells you how much of each food group to eat throughout the day. And now there’s even a MyPlate App with additional habit tracking features and on-the-go access. 

Create a MyPlate challenge

Although community weight loss challenges are popular, they don’t always promote healthy habits. Instead, build a challenge among your patients or followers that encourages healthy behaviors, like filling half your plate with fruits and veggies or choosing water instead of sugary drinks. Whether you run the challenge for a week or a month, it’s bound to inspire some people to try the MyPlate techniques. Choose a prize for the winner, whether it’s a free nutrition counseling session, a gift card to buy groceries or a refillable water bottle.

Share recipes

Sometimes the easiest way to incite change is to share mouth-watering recipes that will entice your clients to cook something healthy. Whether you use social media, a blog or handouts, share recipes that utilize the tips in the Start Simple with MyPlate program.

Do you utilize MyPlate in your practice already? Send an email to ENC@eggnutritioncenter.org and share how!

Quick and Easy Meals for the Busy Holiday Season

By Jessica Ivey, RDN, LDN

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

The holiday season can be magical, but it also tends to be one of the busiest times of the year. Tight schedules filled with special activities and get-togethers can lead to on-the-go eating and skipped meals. Prioritizing regularly scheduled meals featuring nutrient-dense foods, like eggs, can help keep you feeling your best all month long.

Protein is an essential part of an overall healthy diet. This macronutrient helps build and maintain muscle tissue in adults, and diets higher in protein have been shown to increase satiety, helping people to control their appetite and support a healthy body weight. With 6 grams of protein and a good or excellent source of eight essential nutrients per large egg, eggs are a convenient and easy-to-prepare protein. Pair proteins, like eggs, with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and/or low-fat dairy products to create balanced meals to fuel your body.

To minimize mealtime stress, keep things simple with quick and easy meals that can be made in thirty minutes or less. Eggs can cook in just minutes and can be enjoyed any time of day.

Make-ahead meals can be a lifesaver for a hectic week. Spending a little time on the weekend prepping for the week ahead can set you up for success even with a full calendar.

  • Frittatas are a perfect make-ahead dish because they store and reheat well. This Sun-Dried Tomato and Kale Frittata has a pretty pop of red and green that’s perfect for a Christmas gathering or a weeknight family dinner.
  • Boiled eggs can be made in advance and refrigerated for up to one week. Use them for making egg salad or as a protein topper for salads and grain-based dishes. Cajun Herb Egg Salad packs a big punch of flavor for adding egg-citement to a packed lunch or potluck meal.
  • A soft-boiled egg adds a boost of protein to this Easy Microwave Ramen with Egg.
  • This Cobb Salad Wrap can be assembled the night before, wrapped in plastic wrap, and refrigerated until lunch the next day.
  • For breakfast, make these Spicy Black Bean Breakfast Burritos the night before and reheat in the morning.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to cost-effective, versatile, delicious, and nutritious eggs. Happy Holidays!

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.

Holiday Eggs at Your Table

By Victoria Shanta Retelny, RDN

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

It’s the holiday season – time for celebrating with good food, family and friends. With plenty of seasonal celebrations and gatherings filled with indulgent dishes, there’s an opportunity to include more nutrient-dense, filling foods that are naturally lower in calories, too.  This is where eggs come into play – one large egg is just 70 calories and provides a bevy of important nutrients, such as high-quality protein, vitamins A, D, B12 and folate; iron, zinc, selenium and antioxidant carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin. Beyond the obvious holiday classic, egg nog, there are many other ways eggs can be added to your festive favorites for a delicious nutrient boost.

Protein Power Through the Holidays  

A large egg has 6 grams of high-quality protein and all 9 essential amino acids, which can help you feel full and satisfied, and possibly lead to better appetite control, making eggs a smart choice at breakfast or snack time. And since typical holiday foods feature carbohydrate-heavy foods, focusing on balancing your menu with high-quality protein sources is a good bet. With almost half of an egg’s protein in the yolk, it’s good to eat the whole egg. Try serving deviled eggs as appetizers, or adding eggs to salads, stuffing, potato casseroles, soups, and of course baked goods like pies and cakes.

Plant-forward festivities

As plant foods take center stage on many holiday tables, eggs go well with plant-based main and side dishes as they are a tasty carrier for less consumed vegetables and they can help absorb the nutrients found in plant foods, such as vitamin E and carotenoids. Plus, baking eggs into a holiday vegetable frittata or string bean casserole contributes choline, an essential nutrient for brain health and cognition, which is not found in high quantities in many foods.

Eggs are holiday time savers

Eggs are easy to plan ahead, too.  During the busy holiday season, egg dishes are a great way to go as they can be cooked ahead of time, stored in the refrigerator or freezer, and served later. Whether you are a party goer or thrower, you can easily and quickly jazz up your holiday table with eggs. Enjoy a happy and healthy holiday season!

Here are some tasty ways to add eggs to your holiday table:

Jammy Deviled-ish Eggs

Stuffed Quinoa Peppers with Eggs

Bacon, Spinach and Sweet Onion Quiche

Sun-Dried Tomato and Kale Frittata

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.