nutrition

FOOD: MORNING SCRAMBLE

Protein-rich and inexpensive, eggs can help you power past morning hunger pangs

EGGS, LONG SEEN AS A DIETARY

devil because their yolks are chock full of cholesterol, are
no longer a no-no. Researchers now know that cholesterol
from food doesn’t elevate blood cholesterol in most people. And a large 2017 study of Finnish men found that eating one egg a day didn’t boost their risk of heart disease. One large egg offers more than 6 grams of protein,

41 IUs of vitamin D, and the eye-protective antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. Even better, eggs make an easy, inexpensive, and kid-friendly meal. Note this isn’t a thumbs up to daily omelets; researchers say your intake should average no more than an egg a day. Instead of pairing that egg with sausage and greasy hash browns, try veggies, fruit, salsa, or whole-grain toast.

Oatmeal

Think beyond porridge! A standout superfood, oatmeal works well with a surprising array
of sweet and savory add-ins and
provides a tasty way to reduce

your LDL cholesterol and type-2 diabetes risk.

Old-Fashioned Oats and Veggie Bowl
Savory breakfast lovers: Think of oatmeal as more than a sweet treat. Old-fashioned oats (also known as “rolled” oats) make a perfect backdrop for sautéed veggies and eggs for a delicious, unexpected way to eat more produce and get the savory start you crave. 

THE MIX

Oatmeal + red
pepper, green onions, mushrooms, garlic, red pepper flakes, eggs, fresh thyme, Parmesan cheese

MAKE IT Prepare oats according to pack- age directions. Sauté sliced red pepper,
a bunch of green onions (slice and save tops for garnish), mushrooms, and garlic. Season with red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Divide oats into four bowls. Top each with veggies and 1 fried egg. Garnish with green onion tops, fresh thyme, anda sprinkle of shredded Parmesan. Serve immediately. SERVES 4

PER SERVING (ABOUT 11⁄2 CUPS COOKED OATMEALWITHVEGETABLESAND1EGG) | 173 calories, 11 g protein, 17 g carbohydrate, 7 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 176 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 261 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 36%

Blueberry Banana Oatmeal

We like to use frozen wild blueberries in this recipe because we find them more flavorful than farm-raised varieties, but either type will work.

THE MIX

Oatmeal + frozen wild blueberries; salt; bananas; toasted, chopped almonds; honey; cinnamon

MAKE IT Prepare oatmeal according to package directions. In the last 3 minutes, add frozen blueberries and salt. Spoon oatmeal into four bowls. Top with sliced bananas, almonds, a drizzle of honey, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Serve immediately. SERVES 4

PER SERVING (ABOUT 11⁄2 CUPS COOKED OAT- MEAL AND TOPPINGS) | 281 calories, 8 g protein, 51 g carbohydrate, 7 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 7 g fiber, 14 g sugar, 151 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 14%

Mediterranean-Style Oatmeal

Pair the amazing oat with popular Mediterranean ingredients, including cherry tomatoes. (We like the cheery combo of red and yellow tomatoes.) Consider this option for brunch.

THE MIX

Oatmeal + low-sodium chicken stock, baby spinach, salt, freshly ground pepper, cherry tomatoes, avocado, basil, olive oil

MAKE IT Prepare oatmeal according to package directions, substituting chicken stock for water. Stir chopped spinach, salt, and pepper into the oatmeal, then divide into four bowls. Top each bowl with toma- toes and avocado, and finish with chopped fresh basil and a drizzle of oil. Serve imme- diately. SERVES 4

PER SERVING (ABOUT 11⁄2 CUPS COOKED OATMEAL AND TOPPINGS) | 288 calories, 11 g protein, 36 g carbohydrate, 13 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 7 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 185 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 34%

Breakfast Taco

Start your family’s day with a generous spread of filling morning favorites— eggs, sausage, and potatoes—stuffed into warm flour tortillas

BREAKFAST TACOS MAKE THE DAY’S PERFECT FIRST MEAL, ACCORDING TO PATI JINICH, AUTHOR

of the cookbook Mexican Today and host of PBS’s “Pati’s Mexican Table.” “They have all the things you like in one package,” says Jinich, who notes that much can be made or bought in advance. Here, she shares her tips for a delicious way to begin your day.

MAKE IT

  • Plan for one or two tacos per person, depending on appetites.

  • Heat small-size flour tortillas in a single layer on a dry skillet or grid- dle until puffed and lightly charred on both sides. Do not microwave.

  • Tortillas won’t stick to a hot pan, so preheat your pan on medium for several minutes.

  • Keep the tortillas warm for up to 30 minutes by wrapping them in a towel and putting them in a plastic bag.

  • Scrambled eggs, cubed pota- toes, and sausage (chorizo is
    a great choice) make the best fillings. Cook the potatoes and sausage in advance if you like, but scramble the eggs right before you serve.

  • Fill your tortillas just enough so that they can still close.

  • Bring salsa, guacamole, and other toppings to room tem- perature. Lightly heat the salsa if you like.

  • Top with a variety of fresh, flavorful garnishes, like cilantro, lettuce, scallions, and pico
    de gallo.

  • Set out the fillings and toppings like a buffet so everyone can build their own taco.

  • Invest in a large griddle if you make tacos often. It allows you to heat several tortillas at once. A tortilla warmer will also come in handy, and they don’t cost much. You don’t want cold tortillas.

 

 

Weekly fish consumption linked to better sleep, higher IQ

Children who eat fish at least once a week sleep better and have IQ scores that are 4 points higher, on average, than those who consume fish less frequently or not at all, according to new findings from the University of Pennsylvania published this week in Scientific Reports, a Nature journal.

Previous studies showed a relationship between omega-3s, the fatty acids in many types of fish, and improved intelligence, as well as omega-3s and better sleep. But they've never all been connected before. This work, conducted by Jianghong Liu, Jennifer Pinto-Martin and Alexandra Hanlon of the School of Nursing and Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor Adrian Raine, reveals sleep as a possible mediating pathway, the potential missing link between fish and intelligence.

"This area of research is not well-developed. It's emerging," said Liu, lead author on the paper and an associate professor of nursing and public health. "Here we look at omega-3s coming from our food instead of from supplements."

For the work, a cohort of 541 9- to 11-year-olds in China, 54 percent boys and 46 percent girls, completed a questionnaire about how often they consumed fish in the past month, with options ranging from "never" to "at least once per week." They also took the Chinese version of an IQ test called the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Revised, which examines verbal and non-verbal skills such as vocabulary and coding.

Their parents then answered questions about sleep quality using the standardized Children Sleep Habits Questionnaire, which included topics such as sleep duration and frequency of night waking or daytime sleepiness. Finally, the researchers controlled for demographic information, including parental education, occupation and marital status and number of children in the home.

Analyzing these data points, the Penn team found that children who reported eating fish weekly scored 4.8 points higher on the IQ exams than those who said they "seldom" or "never" consumed fish. Those whose meals sometimes included fish scored 3.3 points higher. In addition, increased fish consumption was associated with fewer disturbances of sleep, which the researchers say indicates better overall sleep quality.

"Lack of sleep is associated with antisocial behavior; poor cognition is associated with antisocial behavior," said Raine, who has appointments in the School of Arts and Sciences and Penn's Perelman School of Medicine. "We have found that omega-3 supplements reduce antisocial behavior, so it's not too surprising that fish is behind this."

Pinto-Martin, who is executive director of Penn's Center for Public Health Initiatives, as well as the Viola MacInnes/Independence Professor of Nursing and a professor of epidemiology in Penn Medicine, sees strong potential for the implications of this research.

"It adds to the growing body of evidence showing that fish consumption has really positive health benefits and should be something more heavily advertised and promoted," she said. "Children should be introduced to it early on." That could be as young as 10 months, as long as the fish has no bones and has been finely chopped, but should start by around age 2.

"Introducing the taste early makes it more palatable," Pinto-Martin said. "It really has to be a concerted effort, especially in a culture where fish is not as commonly served or smelled. Children are sensitive to smell. If they're not used to it, they may shy away from it."

Given the young age of this study group, Liu and colleagues chose not to analyze the details participants reported about the types of fish consumed, though they plan to do so for work on an older cohort in the future. The researchers also want to add to this current observational study to establish, through randomized controlled trials, that eating fish can lead to better sleep, better school performance and other real-life, practical outcomes.

For the moment, the researchers recommend incrementally incorporating additional fish into a diet; consumption even once a week moves a family into the "high" fish-eating group as defined in the study.

"Doing that could be a lot easier than nudging children about going to bed," Raine said. "If the fish improves sleep, great. If it also improves cognitive performance -- like we've seen here -- even better. It's a double hit."

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Materials provided by University of PennsylvaniaNote: Content may be edited for style and length.