By Jessica Ivey, RDN
The Egg Nutrition Center partnered with Jessica Ivey, RDN, LDN to write this blog post.
Start with a Plan
The key to healthy eating, even during crazy busy weeks, is to start with a plan. Choose a day when you can take the time to sit down and brainstorm your meals for the week. You can use the MyPlate tool as a visual guide to create balanced meals with the right mix of nutrients to fuel your body. Start by filling half of your plate with vegetables and fruits. Vegetables and fruits provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Then add a source of high-quality protein like salmon, chicken, or eggs. With 6 grams of protein per large egg and all nine essential amino acids, eggs are a convenient and budget-friendly protein to incorporate into any meal. Then add a serving of whole grains and low-fat dairy. While it’s not essential to get all five food groups at every meal, aim to include at least three food groups at each meal.
Eggs Aren’t Just for Breakfast
At less than 15 cents each, eggs are a versatile and affordable source of protein that can be incorporated into a balanced breakfast, lunch, or dinner. If you’re short on time, eggs can be prepared in just a few minutes, and, if you use a nonstick skillet, cleanup is minimal.
I like to make a big batch of hard-boiled eggs over the weekend to incorporate into my packed lunches throughout the week. Maybe I’ll make some of the eggs into egg salad, or slice some of them up on top of a salad. As a bonus, topping your salad with eggs results in a seven-times higher absorption of Vitamin E. Frittatas and egg muffins are convenient make-ahead options that can be reheated throughout the week.
I highly value family dinners, but some nights I just don’t have time to make an elaborate meal or wait for a lengthier cooking time. I always have fresh eggs on hand in the fridge for a meal in minutes. Sometimes we’ll enjoy a bowl of grits or polenta with sautéed veggies and two sunny side up eggs. Other nights we might have an egg sandwich with whole wheat bread, sliced tomatoes, smashed avocado and cheese, or we might make chilaquiles by scrambling eggs with salsa verde and stirring in crushed tortilla chips. The possibilities are endless for delicious, nutrient-rich meals when you start with eggs.
Check out these egg-centric recipes for more lunch and dinner inspiration:
- Veggie and Cheddar Crustless Quiche can be made ahead on the weekend and packed in lunchboxes throughout the week. Add a serving of whole grain crackers and fruit.
- This Mediterranean Chopped Salad is ideal for a brown bag lunch. Layer the salad ingredients in four containers or jars and pack the salad dressing separately.
- These Indian-Style Scrambled Eggs make a delicious dinner alongside whole wheat naan and a quick mango lassi (blend mango, plain yogurt, and a touch of honey and ice until smooth and frothy).
- One Skillet Mexican Rice and Bean Baked Eggs uses several ingredients you may already have in your pantry, including canned black beans, canned tomatoes, and long-grain rice for a fast fix.
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.