You may be nervous about giving eggs to infants and children, but eggs are naturally nutritious and a good source of protein to support children’s growth.
When can I give my baby eggs?
The early years of a child’s life are a time of rapid growth and development. For the first six months of their life, breast milk or infant formula supply all the nutrition a baby needs. However from six months of age, foods need to be introduced to complement milk. After the first year, healthy food becomes an important part of a child’s world as milk intake is reduced and more foods are eaten.
Infants and toddlers should be given and encouraged to eat a wide variety of foods to make sure they get the necessary vitamins and minerals to complement the rapid growth occurring in their bodies. A variety of foods also exposes toddlers to different textures and flavours.
Plunket recommends including mashed egg in a babies diet from the age of 7-8 months.
Mashed egg is not only an easy food for a young child to eat and digest but eggs are also the base of many healthy well balanced meals. Eggs are very nutritious as they contain a range of nutrients including high quality protein, good fats, vitamins and minerals. It is important to include both the yolk and white in a child’s diet as they provide different nutrients. Egg white contains only protein. Egg yolk contains all the fat, some protein and most of the vitamins and minerals.
Protein is made up of 20 amino acids and the quality of the protein is determined by the balance of the amino acids present. The protein in egg is called high quality or ‘complete protein’ because it contains all the essential amino acids needed for growth, development and health. Essential amino acids are those that cannot be made by the body and therefore need to be sourced from foods we eat. For their weight eggs provide the highest quality protein of all foods.
Fat is an important nutrient but like many things it is all about balance – not too much and not too little. Eggs are incorrectly thought to be high in fat but in reality a large egg contains only about 5 grams of fat and less than half that is saturated fat. The fat in eggs supplies energy and fat-soluble vitamins, both important for growth.
Important: The first time you introduce your baby to any new foods be sure to watch for signs of allergic reactions including hives, difficulty breathing or asthma type symptoms, swelling of the mouth or throat, vomiting, diarrhea and even loss of consciousness. If this occurs seek immediate help and call emergency services to assist.
Can children eat eggs every day?
Eggs are an ideal food for inclusion in children’s diets as they are naturally nutritious and provide useful amounts of folate, vitamin A, iron, zinc, iodine and omega-3s in particular. Eggs also provide a very good source of protein for children to support their growth.
Eggs are so versatile and there are many nutritious recipes that kids will love, and they have a very useful role in the diets of children who may be fussy eaters who may refuse to eat other foods.
Due to their high quality protein and 11 vitamins and minerals, eggs are a great choice for kids and can be enjoyed by most people every day.