5 Ways Eggs Can Help You Meet Your New Year’s Goals
Thank you so much to Egg Farmers of Canada for sponsoring this post. All words, thoughts, and opinions are my own.
As we reach the end of January, I want to check in with you guys and see how the start of your year has gone. Did any of you set new year’s resolutions or goals for 2019? I’d love to know what you’re hoping to achieve this year, big or small!
Unfortunately, new year’s resolutions are notoriously hard to stick to (we’ve ALL been there), but today I want to share with you 5 easy ways that you can use eggs to help you reach some common health and nutrition goals in 2019! Why eggs you ask? Not only are they one of the best sources of protein available (along with other nutrients such as vitamin A, D, B12, and choline), but they’re also one of the most versatile and easy ingredients to use in the kitchen – a MAJOR reason why I love them so much!
GOAL 1: Eat More Veggies & Whole Foods
As a dietitian, one goal I can totally get behind is eating more vegetables and whole food ingredients. The health benefits of eating more vegetables and whole foods are endless – everything from reducing your risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, improving digestive health, managing and maintaining weight, and even reducing chronic inflammation.
I know that eating more vegetables can sometimes seem like a daunting task. How do you prepare them? How do you make them taste good? Personally, I think using eggs are one of the EASIEST ways to get in more veggies. Some of my favourite ways to do this:
- Veggie scrambles: toss a couple handfuls of leafy greens and chopped veggies (like bell peppers, carrots, or zucchini) into a pan, sauté on medium heat until slightly cooked. Pour over 2 whisked eggs, some seasonings, and stir until slightly hardened. See HERE, HERE & HERE for inspiration.
- Veggie frittatas: similar to above, choose different greens and chopped veggies and sauté in a pan. Whisk several eggs (~2 per person) and pour over veggies with fresh herbs and spices. Cover and let cook on the stove until eggs are cooked through. You can also do this in the oven if you wish, but I find stovetop to be a lot quicker :). See HERE, HERE & HERE for inspiration.
- Veggie Shakshouka: this deliciously tasty brunch meal is the perfect opportunity to get in tomatoes and leafy greens. Simply sauté greens like spinach or kale, pour tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes with tomato paste into the pan, then add fresh herbs and a sprinkle of cheese. Crack eggs in the mixture, cover and let cook on the stove. Serve with a slice of whole grain toast to complete the meal. See HERE & HERE for inspiration.
- Veggie stir-fry: add whisked eggs to a veggie stir-fry, or top a stir-fry with a sunny-side up egg for a protein boost (and a creamy texture)! See HERE, HERE & HERE for inspiration.
- Salads or grain bowls: hard-boil eggs and add them to salads or grain bowls to increase the protein content and to make them more filling. See HERE, HERE & HERE for inspiration.
GOAL 2: Stick To Your Meal Prep Schedule
Are you trying to meal prep more this year? Whether you’re interested in traditional meal prep or batch-cooking “meal components,” eggs are an awesome and easy source of protein to include. Below are some ideas to include eggs in your weekly meal prep:
- Egg muffins: make a batch of veggie-filled egg muffins for breakfast. They are perfect to keep in the fridge and to grab on the go before heading to work or school. Eating a balanced and filling breakfast can help keep your blood sugar levels steady, providing you with a steady state of energy to get you through your busy morning.
- Hard-boiled: prepare a batch of hard-boiled eggs and keep them in the fridge. You can add them to salads or grain bowls for lunch or dinner, or take them as an on-the-go snack.
- Large frittatas: as mentioned above, making large frittatas are not only an awesome way to get in more veggies, but they are also great to keep in the fridge to eat for a couple days. Portion out a serving for breakfast, or take a portion with you for lunch! Serve with some roasted sweet potatoes or cooked whole grains for complex carbs.
GOAL 3: Build Muscle Post-Workout
If one of your 2019 goals is to get fit and strong, then including adequate protein sources throughout the day, and especially post-workout, is a must! Evidence shows that ingesting adequate protein in the post-exercise or recovery period leads to increased muscle protein synthesis and accelerated recovery.
According to the Position Paper on Nutrition and Athletic Performance by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sport Medicine, ~15-25 grams of protein should be consumed within 2 hours of exercise for optimal muscle protein synthesis. Do you need fancy protein powders to reach this goal? Not at all. While a good quality protein powder is totally fine, you can easily meet this through whole foods. 2 eggs, for instance, provide about 15g of complete protein (meaning all the essential amino acids), making them the perfect protein source to build your muscles and recover after exercise. Be sure to pair those eggs with a quality carbohydrate source (like roasted sweet potatoes or a slice of whole grain toast); this not only ensures that you’re refueling the energy stores (glycogen) in your muscles, but also that you’re not using protein as a source of energy. Instead, that protein will be used to build those muscles!
GOAL 4: Maintain A Healthy Weight
There is substantial evidence to show that protein plays a role in healthy weight loss, weight maintenance, and preservation of lean body mass. What are some of the potential mechanisms for this? Studies show that higher-protein meals may have an effect on satiety levels, meaning increased perceived fullness and satisfaction, and therefore less likelihood to overeat later on. Because protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrates, I always recommend pairing carbs with a protein source in order to stay fuller for longer (vs. eating carbs on their own). It is further suggested that protein can increase resting metabolism through two ways. One, dietary protein uses more energy to be broken down and used by the body compared to carbohydrates or fat. And two, because protein helps build muscle mass, it may also indirectly increase metabolism through this change in body composition (muscle is more metabolically active than fat).
Make sure to spread your protein intake throughout the day, including sources at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even snacks. Protein can be found in both plant and animal foods, and choosing a variety of sources is key to a balanced and healthy diet. One egg contains approximately 7 grams of complete protein, making it an easy option!
GOAL 5: Make More Home-Cooked Meals
Looking to cook more meals at home this year and increase your confidence in the kitchen? As mentioned in the points above, eggs are such an easy ingredient to cook and they can be used in an endless amount of recipes. There is evidence to suggest that eating home-cooked meals more frequently can improve diet quality and have positive effects on health, making this an awesome goal to reach all your other health goals in 2019! For more easy recipe ideas incorporating eggs, head on over to http://Eggs.ca/recipes or visit Egg Farmers of Canada on Instagram or Facebook.