Are Eggs Harmful to Toddlers?
Eggs are a healthy source of protein and can supply your toddler with long-lasting energy. In most cases, eggs are safe for toddlers to eat, but a potential egg allergy is one reason to proceed with caution. If your toddler doesn't have a reaction to eggs, she receives numerous nutrition and health benefits, so eggs can be a regular part of her diet.
One large egg contains 72 calories and 4.76 grams of fat, of which 1.5 grams are saturated. The remaining 3.26 grams of fat are healthy unsaturated fats, which give your child energy and promote healthy brain development. A large egg supplies your child with 6.28 grams of protein and 28 milligrams of bone-building calcium. An egg provides 0.88 of the 7 milligrams of iron your toddler needs for proper red blood cell formation and a strong immune system. Your toddler also gets small amounts of potassium, magnesium, vitamin A and vitamin D from an egg.
If egg allergies run in your family, speak with your toddler's pediatrician before serving her eggs. If your toddler has an egg allergy, her body reacts to the proteins in the food, which can cause:
- a rash
- swelling around her mouth
- belly cramps
- itchy eyes
- runny nose
Very rarely, an egg allergy can cause anaphylaxis, which leads to closed airways, difficulty breathing and a dangerous drop in blood pressure. Most children outgrow an egg allergy by age 5, but in the meantime, your toddler will need to avoid eggs and any food that contains eggs. If there is no history of an egg allergy in your family, but your toddler has a reaction after eating them, get emergency medical help immediately.
The omega-3 fatty acids in eggs can support your toddler's brain development. The specific omega-3 present in eggs is docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA. During your child's first 6 months of life, DHA helps her nervous system and eyesight develop properly. After the age of 6 months, DHA promotes normal brain function and might help improve school performance. Adequate intake of DHA can reduce the risk of nervous system degenerative disease, such as multiple sclerosis, according to AskDr.Sears, a website from renowned doctor William Sears. In addition to eggs, fatty fish such as salmon are good sources of DHA.
Serve your toddler scrambled eggs for breakfast. Add chopped vegetables, such as tomatoes, mushrooms or peppers, to increase the nutritional value. Set up an omelet bar with a variety of nutritious ingredients, such as spinach or lean ham, and let your toddler choose what he wants in his eggs. Top a whole-wheat English muffin with scrambled eggs and a slice of cheddar cheese for a nutritious breakfast sandwich that supplies protein, calcium and fiber. Offer your toddler a sliced, hard-boiled egg as part of a healthy meal or as a nutritious snack. Slice a hard-boiled egg into tuna or chicken salad to increase the protein content of the food.
- United States Department of Agriculture: Nutrient Data for 01123, Egg, Whole, Raw, Fresh
- KidsHealth: Egg Allergy
- AskDr.Sears: DHA as Brain Food
- Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition: Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Neural Development to 2 Years of Age: Do We Know Enough for Dietary Recommendations?
- KidsHealth: Iron and Your Child