How Many Eggs Can Kids Eat Every Day?

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

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Eggs, which contain protein, healthy fats, and a variety of other nutrients, can be a healthy part of your child's diet. However, you may wonder if there's a limit on how many eggs they should eat each day. You might also worry about the cholesterol content in eggs. But as long as your child is not overdoing cholesterol and saturated fat from other protein sources and is eating a variety of foods each day, your child can eat eggs every day, if desired.

Egg Nutrition

Eggs are inexpensive, versatile, easy to prepare, and popular with many kids. Eggs also provide key nutrients that are important to children's diets.

Protein

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 fiber-rich carbohydrates (such as whole-grain bread or pasta).

It’s ideal to strive for variety in a child’s food choices. So, 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. However, it's also fine for them to eat eggs at more than one meal a day, as needed or desired.

Choline

Eggs are also a good source of choline. Choline is an essential nutrient that supports cognitive development. One large hard-boiled egg has about 147 mg of choline. The recommended intake for children is:

  • 150 mg daily from 7 months to 1 year
  • 200 mg daily from 1 to 3 years
  • 250 mg daily from 4 to 8 years
  • 375 mg daily from 9 to 13 years
  • 550 mg daily from 14 to 18 years

So, one to two eggs daily will meet the requirement for younger children. Tweens and teens will need to get the rest of their allotment either from more eggs or other choline sources, such as meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, seeds, nuts, and whole grains.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Lutein and zeaxanthin are key nutrients that promote eye heath. These vitamins are carotenoids (yellow and red pigments) and are found in eggs as well as many vegetables. One hard-boiled egg contains 353 micrograms of lutein and zeaxanthin. However, there is currently no recommended daily dietary guideline for ideal amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin.

Babies can eat eggs whenever they start eating solid foods. 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. for example, 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.

Omega-3 Eggs

Generally, eggs don't contain a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important nutrients that prevent heart disease. However, some chickens are raised in ways that boost omega-3 content. This is typically done by feeding the chickens flax seeds. If your child does not get sufficient omega-3 from other sources (such as fatty fish like salmon), omega-3 eggs may be a good option for fulfilling that nutritional need.

Egg Food Safety Preparation

Be safe when preparing and storing eggs, which should be refrigerated. Cook eggs until the yolks are firm and make sure any foods prepared with eggs are cooked thoroughly. Add calcium to scrambled eggs and omelets by incorporating milk and/or cheese. You can also add in chopped vegetables to increase the fiber and vitamin content of egg dishes. You can also serve with whole-grain bread to further boost fiber intake—this is important as studies show that egg eaters tend to eat less fiber.

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Article Sources
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  2. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Choline. Updated July 10, 2020.

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  4. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Egg, whole, cooked, hard-boiled. Published April 1, 2019.

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

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

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