With Easter right around the corner, I decided to highlight a popular food around this time…the egg! Eggs contain many nutrients that are helpful to our bodies such as protein, vitamin A, vitamin D, and antioxidants.
One egg has about 75 calories, 7 grams of protein, and 5 grams of fat. Although eggs often get a bad rap because of cholesterol content, it is considered a medium fat food. The cholesterol in the egg is found in the yolk portion. One large egg contains about 212 mg cholesterol, and the daily goal is less than 300 mg. So you can see that eating too many eggs can put you over the recommended limit.
However, eggs are a great way to get in your protein! They are considered a complete protein, which means that they contain all of the amino acids (the building blocks of protein), including the ones that our bodies can’t make. This puts eggs in the meat group according to MyPyramid. Eggs are an excellent way to include protein at breakfast time, as well as part of a vegetarian diet. The egg white is the part of the egg that is packed full of protein.
So, with high protein yet high cholesterol levels…should we give eggs to our children or not? My recommendation is: yes, in moderation. If you serve an egg at breakfast time, control total daily cholesterol intake by limiting other types of animal foods for the remaining meals. Cholesterol is only found in animal foods. Examples include whole or 2% milk, red meats, and butter. Also, the family can choose to enjoy the protein in the egg without the cholesterol by separating the eggs or buying liquid egg whites.
Selection: Eggs come in different sizes and colors. The nutrient content is the same, although specific nutrient amounts may be a bit lower in a smaller egg. The numbers given in this post are based on a large egg. When shopping, always choose eggs that are not cracked and that are clean.
Storage: Eggs must be stored in the refrigerator, preferably on an inside shelf versus the door (which often varies in temperature with constant opening).They are generally good for about three weeks after bringing them home.
Safety: Eggs must be thoroughly cooked before serving, especially for young kids. This means not only plain eggs, but also in dishes that use raw eggs. One major example is in raw cookie dough or raw cake mix. Eating raw eggs puts one at risk for a Salmonella infection. Be sure to wash hands, surfaces, and utensils that come in contact with raw eggs. This includes the egg shell.
Important Note: Eggs are a common allergy for children and should be introduced with caution. The allergy is usually to the protein in either the egg white or egg yolk. I recommend waiting until one year old to introduce eggs, in particular, the egg white.
Does your child eat eggs? How do you usually eat them?