Modern Mom: Are eggs all they're cracked up to be?

Sarah Brooks

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Eggs are high in protein, but also high in cholesterol. Do the nutritional benefits outweigh the downsides? And are eggs safe for kids?

Girl holding eggs

Photo credit:Westend61/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Eggs are inexpensive, easy to make and can be eaten by everyone — including babies old enough to eat solids. This can simplify the breakfast routine if you have kids of varying ages and not leave you feeling guilty for giving them Pop-Tarts again, right? Though eggs are healthy, they do contain high amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat and intake should be monitored.

Nutrition facts

One large egg contains 70 calories, 5 grams of fat, 211 milligrams of cholesterol (70 percent daily value) and 6 grams of protein. Health benefits include:

  • Raises HDL (high density lipoprotein) cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol)
  • Good source of B vitamins
  • Good source of iron
  • Contains antioxidants in the egg yolk
  • Excellent source of protein
  • Main source of choline, vital for brain function

How many eggs can kids have?

One egg contains over half the recommended amount of cholesterol for adults per day (the recommended amount is no more than 300 milligrams). Children should also consume no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day, meaning at most one egg per day is healthy.

Recommendations state eating anywhere from two to six whole eggs per week is safe. Though, some will argue that any amount of eggs eaten per week won’t have damaging health effects. One study found that those who consume whole eggs regularly are no more likely to develop heart disease than those who avoid eggs. In fact, there may even be a reduced risk of stroke for those that consume eggs.

Keep in mind that eggs are found in baked goods, breads, ice cream, pie fillings, puddings and more. If your child consumes many egg-based products, take that into consideration when deciding how many and how often they should eat whole eggs.

Remember, too, that your child's diet is all about balance. If they're consuming plenty of fiber-rich foods, fruits, veggies and whole grains, a few extra eggs here and there won't hurt them. If their diet consists of high-fat, high-cholesterol foods already, it'll be more important to limit their intake of eggs.

Kids that love eggs

My kids are hit-or-miss when it comes to eggs. Some mornings they request them; others they act like I’m trying to poison them. We have weeks where scrambled eggs are consumed five out of seven mornings, and other weeks where they aren’t consumed at all. It balances out, but one trick I’ve discovered to help limit cholesterol intake is to add milk to the scrambled eggs or add in a few extra egg whites, but toss the yolks. The milk makes them fluffy; the egg whites provide extra protein and help keep your kids fuller, longer.

Our favorite egg recipes

Who doesn’t love a homemade omelet or delicious deviled egg every now and then? A few of our favorite mouth-watering egg recipes include:

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Sarah Brooks
Newlywed, new mom and first-time home buyer, Sarah is currently playing out her exciting life in Phoenix, Arizona. She recently gave up her job in finance to stay at home with her baby girl, who between bath time and feeding time, keeps her very busy. In addition to settling into her new neighborhood and parenthood, she is also a writer and contributor for SheKnows.com.