How Many Eggs Can Your Child Eat Each Day?

Nutrition Question of the Week

A girl sitting at dining table eating boiled egg, side view
Is it ok to let your kids eat eggs everyday?. AAGAMIA/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Q. I am worried about my kids also getting high cholesterol. Should I let them eat eggs? How many eggs can my kids eat each week?

A. General dietary recommendations once advised that adults eat no more than 3-4 eggs yolks each week. There weren't any formal recommendations for children, but like adults, it was once recommended that children avoid eating eggs too often because it was thought that it would lead to having a diet that is too high in cholesterol.

Eggs and Child Nutrition

Eggs can be a healthy part of your child's diet though and shouldn't be avoided. In addition to being high in cholesterol, eggs also have a lot of benefits, including being high in protein, iron, minerals and B vitamins.

Instead of worrying about how many eggs your child eats, it is more important to look at and plan his overall diet by trying to follow the MyPlate guidelines. In these nutrition guidelines, eggs are a part of the protein food group.

School age children, aged 9-13, should get 5-ounce equivalents from this food group each day while younger children might have only 2-4 ounces. In general, an egg counts as an ounce in the protein food group, but you usually wouldn't want a single food to be your sole source of protein for the day.

Eggs and Cholesterol

In addition to recommended daily servings of the protein-rich foods, it is important to look at how much cholesterol your child is getting from other foods.

If he already has a diet that is high in cholesterol, with large amounts of whole milk, cheese, yogurt, processed meats or ice cream, then eating eggs on a regular basis might not be a good idea. If his diet is low in cholesterol and saturated fats and he eats a lot of foods with fiber, then routinely eating eggs is probably okay.

It is also important to keep in mind that the general recommendations for eating eggs include eggs that are eaten as an ingredient in other foods, such as cakes. For example, if you use 4 eggs to bake a cake and your child eats 2 of the 8 pieces of the cake, then that is equal to eating one whole egg.

And the relationship between dietary cholesterol and how or whether or not it influences your blood cholesterol level is now better understood. Many experts criticized the old recommendations about avoiding eggs because they thought that it was much more important to limit the amount of saturated fat in a person's diet, instead of limiting cholesterol. And that is what most of the newer recommendations now say.

What To Know About Kids Eating Eggs

In addition to these tips, other things to know about your kids eating eggs include that:

  • Eating an egg each day is not thought to raise your blood cholesterol.
     
  • Eggs are considered a good source of protein.
     
  • An egg contains about 213mg of cholesterol
     
  • Many people should eat fewer eggs, not because they need to get less cholesterol in their diet, but because they already eat too many high protein foods. They should instead eat more fruits, vegetables, and other "under consumed food groups."
     
  • Delaying the introduction of 'allergy foods' to infants, like egg whites and peanut butter, is no longer recommended to try and prevent food allergies.
     

And be safe when preparing and storing eggs.

Sources:

AHA Scientific Statement. AHA Dietary Guidelines.Revision 2000: A Statement for Healthcare Professionals From the Nutrition Committee of the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2000; 102: 2284-2299

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015.

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