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5 superfoods that support kids’ eye health

(BPT) – The start of the school year means a laundry list of to-do’s for parents. From shopping for school supplies to scheduling an annual physical, it’s a hectic yet exciting time for the entire family.

As kids settle back into the groove of the school year, you can ensure they are prepared with the right pencils and notebooks, but if they are straining to see the teacher, learning will be a challenge.

“The first step is to have your child’s vision checked annually by a doctor,” says registered dietitian, Tammy Lakatos. “The next step is to maintain healthy vision which parents can easily do by providing a wholesome diet rich in vitamin-packed foods proven to support eye health.”

While carrots have a reputation as an eye-healthy food, there are many other options that keep kids seeing sharp. These five superfoods will help keep your kids’ eyes healthy so they can better focus at school.

Berries
Bulk up on berries to maintain that perfect vision. Blueberries, blackberries and strawberries are packed with eye-healthy vitamin C. Bonus: because vitamin C is an antioxidant that boosts the immune system, it will help stave off the coughs and colds that often come along with the start of school.

Nuts and seeds
When kids crave crunch, seeds and nuts are the perfect choice. English walnuts, raw almonds, flax seed and sunflower seeds are satisfying on top of yogurt or in a homemade trail mix. Plus, these nuts and seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids, which research shows can help support vision.

Eggs
This breakfast staple can boost eye health, but keep in mind not all eggs are created equal. Eggland’s Best eggs come from hens fed a wholesome, all-vegetarian diet that results in a superior egg packed with eye-healthy nutrients such as 38 percent more lutein, three times more vitamin B 12 and five times more vitamin D than ordinary eggs.

Dark green vegetables
Antioxidants in kale, spinach and broccoli help keep eyes healthy and prevent disease. Each vegetable contains high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, which studies have found lowers the risk of advanced macular degeneration and cataracts.

Citrus fruit
Oranges make awesome snacks or meal add-ons. Because citrus fruits are loaded with vitamin C, you’re not only giving your child a naturally sweet treat, you’re helping support eye health. Plus, the smell of citrus will awaken the senses to help fight the afternoon slump.

Want a tasty recipe kids will love that incorporates multiple eye-healthy superfoods? Get into the back-to-school spirit and try these Green Eggs and Ham Cups for breakfast or lunch. For more recipe ideas, Lakatos recommends visiting www.egglandsbest.com.

Green Eggs and Ham Cups

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Makes 12 cups

Ingredients:

7 Eggland’s Best Eggs (large)
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
1/4 cup onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup broccoli florets, finely chopped
3/4 cups extra lean ham, diced 
Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
Shredded cheese of your choice (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Sauté onions and broccoli over medium heat until soft. Add spinach, ham and continue cooking until spinach is wilted.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and seasonings. Add vegetable and ham mixture to eggs.

Coat 12 muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray and fill each muffin cup with egg/veggie mixture.

Top with shredded cheese.

Bake 15-17 minutes or until eggs spring back or toothpick comes out clean.

Cool on a rack and remove from pan. Enjoy warm or room temperature.

*Egg cups can be rewarmed in the microwave or toaster oven if desired.

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U.S. report: Eggs essential to top 3 healthy diets, but some eggs are better than others

(BPT) – They’re considered by many to be among nature’s most perfect foods, and nutritionists are increasingly touting their health benefits.

That’s convenient for the rest of us, since eggs are also among the world’s most versatile treats. Think tasty Eggs Benedict, warm hash brown frittata, refreshing egg salad, savory egg-fried rice or sweet and creamy egg custard.

Not only can the compact and creamy protein be incorporated into a huge range of main dishes, side dishes and desserts, but it also works perfectly with many of today’s popular eating patterns. In fact, eggs are recommended in all three eating plans promoted by the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture in their dietary report released last year: The Healthy U.S.-Style Pattern, the Healthy Mediterranean-Style Pattern and the Healthy Vegetarian Pattern. The Mediterranean diet, for example, focuses on nutrient-dense foods and recommends that breakfasts feature a quality protein like eggs along with fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Of course, eggs are also gluten-free.

“Eggs are a nutrient power-house and one of the most wholesome ways to start your day,” says registered dietitian, Lyssie Lakatos. “Not only are they low in calories and an excellent source of protein that can keep you satiated for hours, but their endless versatility makes it easy to prepare them ahead of time for a healthy grab-and-go snack.”

Not all eggs are created equal

Consumers should know, however, that not all eggs are created equal, and the diets of the hens that lay them plays a significant part. Eggland’s Best eggs offer the benefit of five times the Vitamin D and 25 percent less saturated fat than ordinary eggs. EB eggs are also packed with other important nutrients including three times the Vitamin B12, more than twice the omega-3s, 10 times the Vitamin E and 38 percent more lutein than regular eggs.

Eggland’s Best’s superior nutritional profile is due to EB’s proprietary, all-vegetarian diet of healthy grains, canola oil and a supplement of rice brain, alfalfa, sea kelp and Vitamin E. In addition, the hens’ feed contains no added hormones, antibiotics, steroids, animal by-products, or recycled or processed foods. The resulting eggs are produced locally throughout the U.S. so they are delivered farm fresh to your local supermarket.  In fact, a recent independent study showed that Eggland’s Best eggs stay fresher longer than ordinary eggs.

“I always look to provide my family and clients with the best, and Eggland’s Best eggs are just that,” said Lakatos. “I tell my clients to include foods that are the biggest nutritional bang for your calorie buck, and Eggland’s Best eggs offer more for your calories since they are much higher in essential nutrients – and all for only 60 calories!”

See a recipe below by Eggland’s Best that is perfect for those following the Mediterranean diet:

Mediterranean Baked Eggs

Ingredients

  • 4 Eggland’s Best Eggs (large)
  • 2 cups frozen  hash brown potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium (3/4 cup) onion, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 (6-ounce) bag fresh spinach leaves
  • 6 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 small (1/2 cup) tomato, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil leaves

Preparation

  • Heat oven to 400°F. Butter 4 (each 8-ounces & 1 1/4- to 1 1/2-inch deep) individual glass or ceramic baking dishes.
  • Spoon 1/2 cup potatoes evenly onto bottom of each baking dish.
  • Bake 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are very lightly browned.
  • Melt butter in 12-inch skillet until sizzling; add onions and mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until vegetables are softened.
  • Add spinach leaves; continue cooking, turning spinach often, 4-5 minutes or until spinach is wilted.
  • Add whipping cream, garlic, salt and pepper; continue cooking 1 minute.
  • Add tomato, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and basil.
  • Spread mixture over partially cooked potatoes; sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.
  • Using a spoon, make an indentation in center of mixture in each baking dish.
  • Crack 1 egg into each indentation. Bake 18-20 minutes or until yolks are set or yolk temperature reaches 160°F.

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