How Many Eggs Can Your Child Eat Every Day?

Parent offering child frying pan of sunnyside up eggs at breakfast table

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Eggs can be a healthy part of your child's diet, but you may wonder if there's a limit on how many eggs they should eat each day. Dietary recommendations have shifted away from fear of the cholesterol in eggs. But you still need to balance whether your child is already getting cholesterol and saturated fat from other protein sources, and if your child is eating a variety of foods each day.

Egg Nutrition

Eggs provide several nutrients that are important to children, including protein, iron, vitamin D, choline, and selenium, as well as an assortment of minerals and B vitamins. In the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, eggs are included in the protein food group, along with seafood, chicken, soy foods, nuts, seeds, and red meat.

According to the guidelines, children ages 9 to 13 should get five to six ounce-equivalents from this food group each day, while younger children might need only two to four ounce-equivalents. One egg counts as one ounce in the protein food group.

While it's helpful to have a sense of how much protein a child might need each day, remember that overall nutrition is the sum of more than just a single day of eating. If counting ounce-equivalents feels overwhelming, use the plate balance concept: Aim for your child's plate to be one-third fruits and vegetables, one-third a protein-rich food (such as eggs), and one-third a fiber-rich carbohydrate (such as whole grain bread or grains).

It’s important to strive for as much variety as possible in a child’s food choices. If an egg provides the protein at breakfast, opt for another type of protein at lunch and dinner. This not only provides nutrient variety, but also texture and flavor variety.

Delaying the introduction of "allergy foods," including eggs and peanut butter, is no longer recommended as a way to prevent food allergies.

Eggs and Cholesterol

In addition to the importance of variety in nutrients, texture, and flavor, another important reason to ensure that eggs aren’t a child’s only source of protein is that eggs contain cholesterol. The American Heart Association recommends less than 300mg of cholesterol each day (less if you have heart disease or elevated LDL cholesterol). One large egg contains 187mg of cholesterol.

Cholesterol is found in foods that come from animals. These other foods, including full-fat dairy products, red meat, shellfish, and chicken, all contribute to daily cholesterol intake and the 300mg limit. An egg at breakfast (187mg), tuna at lunch (13mg in a half-cup tuna salad), whole milk yogurt for a snack (25mg in 5 ounces), and ice cream after dinner (29mg in 1/2 cup) would yield around 254mg for the day.

Be safe when preparing and storing eggs. Cook eggs until the yolks are firm and make sure any foods prepared with eggs are cooked thoroughly.

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

  2. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Prevention of allergies and asthma in children.

  3. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. What you need to know about egg safety. Updated March 28, 2018.