Go ahead and enjoy eating those Easter eggs - they’re good for you!
By: Jodie Shield, RD
Easter is this weekend. So I thought I’d get crackin’ and talk about eggs. (Sorry about all of the puns in this blog, but it’s too hard to resist!) Eggs are an excellent source of protein, which kids need to grow and remain healthy. One large egg has six grams of protein, more than half of which is found in the egg white. And because eggs contain so much protein, they are part of the USDA’s MyPlate Protein Group – one egg being equal to one ounce of meat.
Other egg nutrients that are particularly beneficial for growing kids include:
- iron, which creates oxygen-rich blood and prevents anemia;
- B vitamins (folate, riboflavin, and B12), which help convert food into energy so kids can grow, play, and learn.
- vitamin D, which works with calcium to build strong bones and teeth;
- vitamin E, which may boost immunity and ward off future diseases.
Because eggs are nutrient dense (they provide a large amount of nutrients in a small amount of calories), they’re great for young children, who have high nutritional needs and small stomach capacities. More good news:
Eggs are high in cholesterol but they’re no longer off-limits. One large egg contains a hefty does of cholesterol – about 200 milligrams – which is found entirely in the yolk. Even though eggs do contain a lot of cholesterol, they only contain about 5 grams of fat, most of it unsaturated – the good type of fat. The American Heart Association (AHA) no longer has a specific limit on how many eggs you eat, as long as you limit your total cholesterol consumption to 300 milligrams a day, on average (200 milligrams if you have heart disease, high cholesterol, or other coronary risk factors).
Eggs are quick and easy to prepare. They come naturally packaged in their own single-serve shell and take only minutes to cook. So it’s easy to whip up a quick meal or snack for your child without a lot of waste.
Eggs are easy to chew. Whether your child is a toddler or a grade-schooler (who’s missing a few baby teeth), eggs can be a high-quality, protein-rich meal with all sorts of tasty options.
Eggs play a key role in cooking. Let’s not forget that eggs help make custard and puddings thick, keep mayonnaise and salad dressings from separating, and bind ingredients together for everything from meat loaf to lasagna.
Eggs are a nutritonal bargain. No other animal protein cost less than a carton of eggs. Serving egg-based dinners like quiche or souffle can help trim dollars off your food budget.
As you can see, eggs do have a sunny side. To find out more about eggs, check out my next few blogs. Got any egg-cellent questions?