Nutrition Unscrambled Fri, 27 Jul 2012 18:22:14 +0000 en hourly 1 Fun Fact Friday: An Egg a Day is OK Fri, 27 Jul 2012 18:22:14 +0000 ashlachter At ENC, we are most often asked “How many eggs can I eat?” and “What about cholesterol?” So, we decided to address cholesterol science in this week’s Fun Fact Friday.

It’s no wonder there is confusion! Years of mixed messages regarding dietary cholesterol have led to avoidance of foods, such as eggs, to prevent chronic disease. However, avoiding such foods could negatively impact intake of other nutrients such as high-quality protein and essential vitamins and minerals. The American Heart Association (AHA) and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend no more than 300mg of dietary cholesterol each day as a means of preventing heart disease. The 300mg/day limit is a recommendation to be achieved as an average over time and not necessarily a daily limit. The guidelines do not provide a specific limit on egg consumption. At just 185 mg of cholesterol, one large egg fits easily within recommended consumption levels. Don’t forget- it is the company an egg shares, so encourage the inclusion of healthy foods from MyPlate with eggs as a high quality source of protein.

In fact, research shows that consumption of one large egg per day on average is fine for healthy people and does not result in significant changes in serum lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee concluded that consumption of one egg per day is not associated with risk of coronary heart disease or stroke in healthy adults.

One of the most common sources for confusion is a misunderstanding of the link between dietary and serum (blood) cholesterol. Studies show saturated fat and trans fat may have more of an impact on raising blood cholesterol levels than dietary cholesterol. Only about one-third of people see an increase in their blood cholesterol levels when they eat quantities of dietary cholesterol. This group is often referred to as “hyper-responders.”

What’s important to keep in mind is that this rise in blood cholesterol is typically due to an increase in both the good cholesterol (HDL) and the bad cholesterol (LDL) with no changes in the LDL/HDL ratio. The ratio of LDL to HDL is thought by many to be a better indicator for risk of heart disease than the blood cholesterol values alone.

Many scientists consider blood levels of small, dense LDL cholesterol particles important because these small, dense particles are a well-defined risk factor for heart disease. Research has shown egg intake decreases levels of small, dense LDL particles. In fact, countries with the highest egg consumption report some of the lowest incidences of heart disease. Of particular interest, a number of international health promotion organizations including the Canada Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Australian Heart Foundation and the Irish Heart Foundation recommend managing serum cholesterol by focusing on saturated and trans fat consumption versus dietary cholesterol.

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What’s For Dinner Wednesday: Dietary Sources of Vitamin D Wed, 25 Jul 2012 22:28:07 +0000 ashlachter Like me, you have probably taken note of the great deal of attention health media give to vitamin D research. It’s no wonder when recent studies suggest that vitamin D may provide protection from osteoporosis, hypertension (high blood pressure), cancer and several autoimmune diseases. As a result, many people ask me how they can get more vitamin D out of their diet. I imagine I am not the only health professional to face this question from clients/patients, so I hope this week’s recipe can serve as an example that is shareable with all.

Vitamin D can be found in several dietary sources – the flesh of fatty fish (such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel), eggs, fortified milk and fish liver oils. Many people don’t associate eggs with vitamin D when in fact, one large egg contains 10 percent of the daily value. To that end, eggs are an easy addition to many meals to boost vitamin D. Below is one of my favorite quick and easy meals that provides 26.55 percent of the daily value of vitamin D.

Scrambled Egg, Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Panini

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 4 minutes

Makes: 2 paninis



2 Tbsp Water


2 Slices mozzarella cheese (1-1/2 oz.)

4 Slices tomato

6 Fresh basil leaves

4 Slices whole wheat bread


1. HEAT panini press according to manufacturer’s directions. BEAT eggs and water in microwave-safe bowl until blended.MICROWAVE on HIGH 45 seconds; stir. MICROWAVE until eggs are almost set, 30 to 45 seconds longer.

SEASON with pepper.

2. LAYER cheese, tomato, basil and scrambled eggs evenly on two bread slices. COVER with remaining bread.

3. GRILL sandwiches in panini press, on medium-high heat, until bread is toasted and cheese is melted, about 2 minutes.

Add a glass (1 cup) of skim milk and a cup of green grapes for a complete meal!

Nutrition Facts:
For complete meal

469 calories

11 g total fat

5 g saturated fat

2 g polyunsaturated fat

4 g monounsaturated fat

202 mg cholesterol

583 mg sodium

65 g carbohydrate

6 g dietary fiber

29 g protein

1,412.1 IU Vitamin A

2.2 mcg Vitamin B12

159.3 IU Vitamin D

75.9 mcg folate

564.5 mg calcium

3.1 mg iron

997.9 mg potassium

192.9 mg choline

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School Nutrition Professionals Think Outside the Shell Mon, 23 Jul 2012 22:38:03 +0000 ashlachter Donna Martin, EdS, RD, LD, SNS and Director School Nutrition Program for the Burke County Board of Education, and I spoke to a group of energetic school nutrition professionals at the School Nutrition Association’s (SNA) Annual National Conference (ANC) last week. The room was at capacity with 240 people coming to hear our talk, “Thinking Outside the Shell for Exceptional School Meals and Performance” (sorry to those who couldn’t fit in the room).

How exactly do you think outside of the shell? Start with breakfast, of course! I started out by talking about the new nutrition standards for school meals. In addition, I reviewed the fact that childhood hunger is prevalent, and that if children miss breakfast, it can be hard for them to make up key vitamins and minerals the rest of the day.

Donna went on to explain her efforts with the program providing breakfast in the classroom in her district. She has been very successful in her Georgia schools. Below are some key points from her presentation.

How does breakfast in the classroom affect student performance?

  • More positive attitude towards school
  • Less likely to be tardy
  • Less likely to miss class
  • Improved math and reading scores
  • Fewer reported  discipline problems

 What makes a great breakfast for schools?

  • Offers a variety of foods students like
  • Easy to prepare
  • Increases participation
  • Meets National School Breakfast Guidelines
  • Affordable to produce

Donna also showed many photos of breakfast successes, like Sunny Face Eggs (above), and the audience had wonderful questions regarding implementing breakfast in the classroom.

SNA ANC was a great experience. I was able to sit in on sessions and see what school nutrition professionals were doing to improve school meals even more. Plus, the exhibit hall was full of products to sample that met the new school nutrition guidelines. I was able to try a Homestyle French Toast that used eggs to provide 1 meat/meat alternative as well as 1 grain from whole wheat flour.

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FUN FACT FRIDAY! An Egg has 7,000-17,000 tiny pores on its shell Fri, 20 Jul 2012 20:29:44 +0000 ashlachter Most of us don’t imagine an egg shell as having holes in it, but there are as many as 17,000 tiny pores on an egg shell. As the egg ages, these tiny holes permit moisture and carbon dioxide to move out and air to move in to form the air cell. To help keep bacteria and other particles from entering the same way air does, a thin outer layer of the shell called the cuticle acts as a barrier.

The cuticle, however, doesn’t prevent odors from entering the egg through its pores. So, remember to refrigerate eggs in their carton for optimal taste. 

When cooking eggs, remember to heat them to the proper temperature to kill any bacteria. The egg white will coagulate (set) between 144° F and 149° F, the yolk between 149° F and 158° F, and  the whole egg between 144° F and 158° F.

For more tips on keeping eggs safe and tasting great, visit these websites:


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In the News: Convenience Outweighs Cost in Contributing to Obesity Fri, 20 Jul 2012 20:08:35 +0000 ashlachter An article in Forbes this week highlighted data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), indicating that convenience plays a larger role in obesity than cost. This data challenges the belief that the price of healthy food leads consumers, especially those with tight budgets, to seek out cheaper and less-healthy items in the grocery store.

In fact, the CDC data shows that only about 20 percent of obese Americans are considered “low-income.” Moreover, the article reports that those in the low-income bracket tend to eat home-prepared meals, a habit which has been associated with lower risk for obesity. In contrast, middle class individuals have the highest rate of overweight and consume the most fast food. This suggests that convenience is likely playing a bigger role in unhealthy food choices than cost. 

Fortunately, healthy foods can be convenient! Planning ahead goes a long way—by hard-boiling eggs or washing and cutting up veggies over the weekend you can ensure a stockpile of grab-and-go snacks for the work week.

For hectic mornings, try a quick microwave recipe that allows you to start your day with a nutritious breakfast in seconds. Below is one of our favorites.

Do you have other strategies to make healthy eating convenient?

Microwave Mexican Coffee Cup Scramble

What You Need:

½ cup frozen shredded hashbrowns

1 egg

1 Tbsp. water

Black bean and corn salsa

Shredded Mexican cheese blend

Here’s How

1. COAT 12-oz. microwave-safe coffee mug with cooking spray.  ADD hash browns.  MICROWAVE on HIGH 1 minute.  Add egg and water; beat until blended.  MICROWAVE on HIGH 30 seconds; stir.  MICROWAVE until egg is almost set, 15 to 30 seconds longer.

2. SEASON with salt and pepper, if desired.  TOP with salsa and cheese. 

Nutrition Facts:

Calories: 228
Total fat: 10g
Saturated fat: 4g
Polyunsaturated fat: 1g
Monounsaturated fat: 2g
Cholesterol: 199mg
Sodium: 320mg
Carbohydrates: 23g
Dietary fiber: 2g
Protein: 12g
Vitamin A: 520.0IU
Vitamin D: 41.0IU
Folate: 27.7mcg
Calcium: 138.9mg
Iron: 2.3mg
Choline: 125.6mg

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Check it out: Nutrition Research Update – Issue 4 Thu, 19 Jul 2012 21:23:42 +0000 ashlachter Here at the Egg Nutrition Center, we’re always keeping an eye out for the latest nutrition research and trends. Just recently, we released the fourth issue of Nutrition Research Update. This e-newsletter comes out three times a year and features studies on hot nutrition topics as well as some of ENC’s news and activities. The latest issue highlights the public health debate being waged over sugar in the diet. It also showcases new research on the important role of choline in a healthy pregnancy and the impact of dietary protein in weight loss.

Click here to view the full Nutrition Research Update Issue 4. If you’d like to receive these e-newsletters in the future, you can sign up here.

Happy reading!

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“What’s for Dinner?” Wednesday: Getting your Iron Wed, 18 Jul 2012 23:50:24 +0000 ashlachter This week, let’s talk about iron. Iron is an essential mineral for the human body because it helps to make our blood cells. Specifically, iron is needed to make oxygen-carrying proteins called hemoglobin in our red blood cells. It also helps to make myoglobin, which is found in our muscles.

Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for Iron

  • Males – 8 mg/d
  • Females (age 19-50 y) – 18 mg/d
  • Females (age >50 y) – 8 mg/d
  • Pregnancy – 27 mg/d

For women, pregnancy is an important time for mothers to ensure they are getting enough iron; otherwise babies can develop iron deficiency. Iron is important in organ-system development, especially for the brain. Interestingly, a recent study showed stress experienced by mothers early in pregnancy is another risk factor for iron deficiency in newborns.

Eggs, spinach, lean meats and shellfish are all sources of iron. To get some iron, try a stir-fry for dinner tonight!

Chicken and Egg with Unfried Brown Rice

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10-15 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

2 tsp Vegetable oil
1/2 lb Boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
1/4 cup Sliced green onions
2 Cloves garlic, minced
3 cups Mixed vegetables (sliced carrots, broccoli florets, bell pepper strips, pea pods, sliced cabbage)
2 tbsp Water
2 cups Cooked brown rice, warm
1/3 cup Chopped fresh basil leaves or cilantro (optional)
1/4 cup Prepared orange ginger or classic stir-fry sauce

1. HEAT oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. ADD chicken strips; cook and stir 3 to 4 minutes until outside surface is browned. Remove and keep warm. ADD green onions and garlic to skillet; cook and stir I minute. ADD vegetables; cook and stir until vegetables are crisp tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove and keep warm.

2. Meanwhile BEAT eggs and water until blended. REDUCE heat to medium. POUR eggs into skillet. As eggs begin to set, GENTLY PULL the eggs across the pan with an inverted turner. CONTINUE cooking until eggs are thickened and no visible liquid egg remains. Do not stir constantly.

3. ADD brown rice, basil, stir-fry sauce, reserved chicken and vegetables to skillet; stir to combine. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until heated through.

Nutrition Information (Per serving)

Calories: 322
Fat: 10g
Saturated fat: 2g
Monounsaturated fat: 4g
Polyunsaturated fat: 2g
Protein: 23g
Carbohydrate: 33g
Fiber: 4g
Cholesterol: 222mg
Iron: 2.3mg
Sodium: 276mg
Calcium: 73.8mg

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Training for a Race? Improving Performance? Don’t Forget Protein! Tue, 17 Jul 2012 16:45:07 +0000 ashlachter Whether you are training for your first 5K or a marathon, proper nutrition is very important. Protein is sometimes overlooked as an important nutrient in running, but it is great for impact and recovery. An article from Runner’s World discusses some of the research behind protein and includes ways for runners to include protein throughout the day. Ultimately, eating adequate amounts of protein throughout the day, as well as during recovery will help runners succeed. 

ENC recently attended the IDEA World of Fitness Conference with personal trainers. While not all personal trainers focused on running, we were able to educate this group about the importance of high-quality protein for performance.  It was exciting to see how well received ENC was at the exhibit and to hear many of the personal trainers are eating whole eggs, along with egg whites.  The trainers I spoke with told me they have learned many of the vitamins and minerals are in the yolk and it prompted them not to skip the yolk when eating eggs.  We also handed out ENC’s Trainer Protein Toolkit (see link below to download) to over 300 trainers to use as a tool with their clients. 

Mitch Kanter PhD, ENC executive director, presented “New Research on Protein Metabolism, Recovery, and Satiety,” at IDEA, emphasizing the need to have about 30 grams of protein per meal to signal leucine uptake. 

Remember high-quality protein is an important part of running and other physical activities. Have you had your “spread” of protein today? 

P.S. This year, our booth was right next to Subway and they offer great egg breakfast options for those on the go! Delicious!

Trainer Protein Toolkit

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FUN FACT FRIDAY! Meringue and a Chef Named Gasparini Fri, 13 Jul 2012 15:43:21 +0000 ashlachter Once upon a time there was a clever pastry chef named Gasparini  who lived in the Swiss town of Merhrinyghen. Tucked away in his kitchen, Gasparini worked diligently to craft a magical new dessert that tasted sweet and light but didn’t increase the waistline of the ladies of the village. With a little ingenuity and help from the incredible egg, he created a small pastry of dried egg foam and sugar. The delicious low-calorie treat was loved by all and became known as meringue after Gasparini’s village.

OK, so there is a little artistic license used above to describe the invention of meringue – but who doesn’t like a fairytale with a happy ending?

Luckily for us, meringue isn’t make-believe! I often recommend meringue as a low-calorie indulgence for those looking to satisfy their sweet tooth without a calorie overload. Try the below recipe and let me know your thoughts! If you have other meringue recipes, I’d love to hear them!

Hard Meringue

3 EGG WHITES, room temperature
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

1. BEAT egg whites and cream of tartar in mixer bowl with whisk attachment on high speed until foamy.
2. Beating constantly, ADD sugar, 2 Tbsp. at a time, beating after each addition until sugar is dissolved before adding the next. (Rub a bit of meringue between thumb and forefinger; it should feel completely smooth.) Continue beating until whites are glossy and stand in stiff peaks. BEAT IN vanilla.

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Introducing “What’s for Dinner?” Wednesdays! Protein Packed Summer Salad Wed, 11 Jul 2012 16:34:59 +0000 ashlachter You may have noticed we’ve been getting creative over here at ENC to increase the number of blog posts that provide tips, recipes and nutrition information that can be applied to daily life. To that end, we are unveiling “What’s for Dinner?” Wednesdays! Each Wednesday, we will post an egg-cellent recipe that focuses on a key nutritional element. We hope you stop by each Wednesday to grab a recipe that will nourish you, your family and your friends!

This week’s recipe focuses on protein, which are digested into amino acids that replenish our body’s proteins. Protein is part of every cell, organ and tissue in the human body.

One egg provides 6 grams of protein, or 12 percent of the Recommended Daily Value. Eggs provide the highest quality protein found in any food because they provide all of the essential amino acids our bodies need in a near-perfect pattern. While many people think the egg white has all the protein, the yolk actually provides nearly half of it.

An easy way to incorporate protein into dinnertime is by adding hardboiled eggs to a delicious salad!

Zesty Summer Steak Salad

Prep Time: 7-10 minutes
Cook Time: 18-25 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

1 beef top sirloin steak, cut 3/4-inch thick (about 1 lb.)
1 tbsp. Mrs. Dash® Garlic & Herb Seasoning Blend�
1 medium sweet onion, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
6 cups chopped romaine lettuce�
1 medium tomato, sliced
6 HARD-BOILED EGGS, peeled and sliced�
New York Style® Sea Salt Bagel Crisps®

1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. olive oil

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