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Eggs-cellent Eggs!

January is a popular time for people to be setting new and healthy eating habits for the new year. It is also National Egg Month, so what better time than now to make an effort to include more eggs into your diet!

3 Reasons Eggs are Excellent:


1. Nutritious

One large egg contains just 70 calories and 6.2 g of complete protein, which means it contains all 9 of the essential amino acids needed by the human body. Eggs are also is a good source of vitamin D, which supports strong bones. Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the nutrients found in one large egg:

  • 70 calories
  • 5 g of fat (1.5 g saturated fat, 1.0 g polyunsaturated fat, 2.0 g monounsaturated fat)
  • 185 mg cholesterol
  • 70 mg sodium
  • 70 mg potassium
  • 6.2 g protein
  • 6% Vitamin A
  • 8% Vitamin B-12
  • 4% Vitamin B-6
  • 10% Vitamin D
  • 2% Calcium
  • 6% Folate
  • 4% Iron
  • 10% Phosphorus
  • 10% Riboflavin
  • 4% Zinc

2. Cheap

As a broke college student, I can appreciate the fact that eating healthy can be very inexpensive. Eggs are a great way to get the protein in my diet that I need, without breaking my wallet.  A dozen eggs can be found most grocery stores for around $2, which makes each egg cost around 17 cents each– not bad! Definitely cheaper than a bag of chips or a package of cookies.

3. Versatile

Eggs can be scrambled, over-easy, poached, sunny-side up, or fried. You can put them in breakfast burritos, throw a sliced hard-boiled egg on a salad or sandwich,  make a quiche, egg salad sandwich, or deviled egg appetizer. And who doesn’t love a good omelet or frittata? Make eggs your friend for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

5 Facts About Eggs:

1. Recommendations for Egg Storage:

  • Eggs can be safely stored in the fridge for 2-4 weeks and in the freezer for up to 1 year.
  • Raw yolks/whites can be stored in the fridge for 2-4 days and in the freezer (at 0 degrees F) for 1 year.
  • Hard-boiled eggs can be stored in the fridge for 1 week, but are not recommended to be frozen.
  • Liquid eggs or egg substitutes can be stored in the fridge for 10 days if unopened, 3 days if opened, and stored in the freezer for up to 1 year if unopened.

2.  Casseroles and dishes containing eggs should be cooked to an internal temperature fo 160 degrees F as measured by a food thermometer

3. Egg cartons with the USDA grade shield on them must supply the “pack date” which is the date the eggs were washed, graded, and packed in a carton.  The date is a 3-digit number based on the Julian dates. This means that January 1st is denoated as 001 and December 31st is 365.

4. Eggs are not federally required to have an expiration or “sell-by” date on them, however some states require it.  Eggs should be safe to use for 3-5 weeks after purchase, even if it passes the printed expiration date.

5. Recommendations regarding eggs. One egg contains 185 mg of cholesterol, and the recommendation for those with normal LDL cholesterol levels is to consume <300 mg of dietary cholesterol per day.  People who have high LDL cholesterol levels or are taking cholesterol-lowering medications should aim for <200 mg of dietary cholesterol per day. It is not necessary to avoid eggs in order to eat heart-healthy.  An egg a day can fit into the average person’s healthy diet, as long as they aren’t filling the rest of their diet with other cholesterol-laden foods such as pork, steak, shrimp, butter, and other animal products.  If you don’t want to give up your egg-a-day routine for breakfast, make an effort to include plenty of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains in your lunch and dinner.  On the other hand, if you don’t want to give up your pork-chop-a-day routine for dinner, then maybe cutting back to just a few eggs a week might be a smart idea. It’s all about balance. Use your daily 300-mg of dietary cholesterol budget with care.

6. Egg substitutes are a great way to add some more volume to your omelets, without going overboard on your eggs. If you’re trying to eat heart-healthy, try using 1 whole egg and 2 servings of egg whites/egg substitutes in your omelet instead of 3 whole eggs.  Liquid egg whites and Egg Beaters (made from egg whites, with added flavor and yellow color to resemble liquid whole eggs) can be found at any grocery store and have 25 calories per 3 tablespoons, 75 mg of sodium, 0 mg of cholesterol, and 5 g of protein.

Interested in more information? has dozens of recipes as well as fun facts about eggs.   University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Extension has great information about how to cook your eggs thoroughly and safely so you can avoid the risk of salmonella (including everybody’s favorite, “no eating raw cookie dough made with eggs!”).

Categories: Current News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tray Audits

Another part of my job as a dietetic intern with Patient Food Services, is to conduct several tray audits while I am here.  A tray audit means that I order a lunch “test tray” and then watch it being assembled, put onto the cart, follow it up to the room, and then when all the other meal trays on the cart have been delivered to the patients, I take my test tray and test it for temperature, portion size, appearance, quality & preparation, taste & aroma, missing items or subs, and tray completeness and cleanliness.

An example of what a tray audit form looks like

The digital internal thermometer I use

The scores are tallied and if it receives a 96%-100%, it is ranked as excellent, 90%-95% is satisfactory, and below 90% is unsatisfactory.  Of the three tray audits I conducted this week, I received all three ranks– excellent, satisfactory, and unsatisfactory.

The excellent tray took 25 minutes to get from assembly to delivery (goal is 30 minutes or less).  I ordered the ADA1800 diabetic diet, and the hot items — pulled pork sandwich, corn, and coffee were all above the standard temperature.  The cold items — coleslaw and gelatin were also all below their standard temperatures. Nothing was missing from the meal order and everything tasted of quality. It received a 100% excellent rating.

The unsatisfactory tray took 15 minutes to get from assembly to delivery.  I ordered the regular diet this time.  There were several temperature issues.  The soup and coffee were both a few degrees colder than standard temperature, and the milk and chicken salad sandwich were also a few degrees warmer than standard temperature.  The meal was missing a few things on the meal ticket– the ticket said 2 packets of salt and 1 packet of mayonnaise, but there was only 1 packet of salt and no packets of mayonnaise.  Because of the temperature issues and missing condiments, this tray received an 88% unsatisfactory rating.

And finally, yesterday I ordered  another diabetic (ADA1800) lunch tray. This one took 23 minutes to get from assembly to delivery, and I found it to be satisfactory.  The only issues were that the broccoli was colder than standard temperature (it was below the standard 130 degrees F), the tomato and cucumber salad was a few degrees too warm, and the milk was warmer than standard temperature as well.  Everything on the tray was accurate and lined up with the meal order ticket.  So this tray received a 92% satisfactory rating.

I have a few more tray audits to complete next week, and when all the tray audits have been done, I plan to write up a summary, including any suggestions I have for improving the average score of these tray audits.   Tray audits are important because they can uncover reoccuring issues with the meal trays so corrective action can be taken. For example, if the milks are always coming back too warm, then we would need to come up with a different food delivery system that would keep the milk below 41 degrees F every time.  If the condiments are consistently missing from the trays, then we could remind the hostesses and diet clerks about this.  If there is a food dish that always lacks in appearance, we could come up with a garnish to make it look more appealing.  I think that tray audits should be conducted several times a month, and in order to get a more accurate overall picture, I think the trays should vary– different diets, different meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner), and they should be delivered onto different floors.

Categories: Clinical Nutrition | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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