Omelets make a delicious meal option for breakfast or brunch, but also work for lunch or dinner. To make sure that your pick supports your health and fitness goals, try these tips for making it balanced.
Load Up On Veggies
Omelets are an easy way to work some veggies into your day. Add your favorite greens and have fun experimenting with seasonal vegetables. A few ideas to get you started: spinach, kale, chard, broccoli, peppers, asparagus, and mushrooms.
Whole Eggs vs Whites
Opinions vary on which is best. The American Heart Association recommends up to 4 whole eggs per week if you’re on a heart-healthy diet, but many health experts say that most healthy people can safely consume more than that.
As a dietitian, I generally recommend my clients who are concerned about their saturated fat and cholesterol intake make their omelets with one egg and several whites, or do all whites if they want to make room for a filling high in fat like cheese, bacon, or sausage. If numbers are helpful, keep it to 2 eggs or ½ cup liquid egg whites.
Pick One High-Calorie Add-In
As a general rule of thumb, pick meat or cheese instead of both. You’re already getting plenty of protein in the eggs, so look at meat and cheese as accents to add a hint of flavor—a little goes a long way. If you pick cheese, remember that it’s going to melt and spread, so you can get away with using a light touch. Don’t be afraid to try some less obvious choices like cottage cheese or part-skim ricotta. Avocado is another filling or topping which is very calorie dense (a quarter contains about 75 calories) so keep that in mind when constructing your perfect omelet.
Know What Your Priorities Are
Knowing what you want to make room for helps you know what to cut out. Think about what your needs are and about what appeals most. For example, you can add some grilled chicken for a post-workout protein boost, or dress up a veggie omelet with a tablespoon of goat cheese if you’re trying to keep things light but want a little creaminess.
Pick Smart Sides
If you’re dining out, many places serve toast and potatoes. To keep the meal more balanced, pick one carb: potatoes, toast, or fruit. If you’re ordering toast, go for whole grain bread for the extra filling fiber. Sweet potatoes are a great alternative to white potatoes thanks to their higher antioxidant content and slow-burning complex carbs. A simple green salad also makes a great omelet pairing.
Don’t Be Afraid To Branch Out
Just because you always have your eggs the same way forever doesn’t mean you can’t try new things. You might just find a new healthy favorite.
Jessica Cording, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and writer. In addition to providing counseling for clients with a variety of nutritional needs, she writes for numerous print and online publications and works with food and healthcare companies. She blogs at Jessica Cording Nutrition.
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