Today I’m doing another blog in my series about perfect options as cupboard staples during weaning. Today is the day for eggs. A food that often causes confusion for a number of reasons during weaning and that I’m forever answering questions on too!
Eggs are a great option during weaning. The reason for this?
- An allergen (good to introduce early)
- A useful ingredient in lots of other foods
- Quick to cook
When it comes to eggs they are a really quick, go to option for meals for babies that you know is also nutrient rich.
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin D
- B vitamins such as folate & riboflavin
- As well as being an excellent source of protein and containing some omega-3 fatty acids too.*
* Info taken from https://www.egginfo.co.uk/egg-nutrition-and-health/egg-nutrition-information/vitamins-and-minerals & based on info from Nutrition & Health Claims register
That’s quite some feat!
And add to that the fact that they are so easy to combine with some veggies (think peas) and some carbs (think potatoes or toast fingers) and you can see why they are often a go to option for parents and when feeding baby!
But, can baby have too many?
I get asked this question all the time. How many eggs can baby have? What’s too much?
Previously eggs were recommended to be limited to 3 a week for adults, which is why there are lots of questions about how many can be eaten. But this advice was dropped in 2007 due to more research and more knowledge on the safety of eggs.
There are no official recommendations on HOW MANY eggs can be eaten a day, for adults or for children. Therefore it’s absolutely fine to offer eggs regularly, as part of a balanced diet and offering an egg a day is also OK to do for babies during weaning and after first tastes.
HOWEVER, there is a caveat, and that is variety is always key when it comes to baby’s diet. So although eggs are super nutrient-rich, it’s good to get a variety of nutrients from a variety of sources each day. I also always recommend that people vary their protein sources so little ones are getting a variety from: meat, eggs, fish, beans, lentils, pulses etc.
Risk of food poisoning:
In 1988 a polititian said that eggs contained salmonella, leading to widespread concerns about eating them. Since then, chickens have been vaccinated and the risk of salmonella is minimal.
Previously pregnant women and babies were recommended to ONLY have well cooked eggs, but this advice changed back in 2017 and now advice is that babies and pregnant women can have soft cooked or runny eggs from 6 months as long as they contain the Red Lion Stamp.
Other eggs are fine for baby as long as they are well cooked all the way through, just as a precaution.
You can read more about these changes on the Food Standards Agency website.
Allergies to eggs:
My dietitian friend, Penny has written all about allergies and went into some detail about eggs and how to introduce them into baby’s diet in my blog Introducing Allergens to Baby. So check that out if you’re concerned about offering eggs to your baby. There is actually lots of research suggesting that early introduction could be important to reduce the risk of an allergy developing.
There seem to be lots of parents who are concerned that their little ones have an egg allergy. It can be scary but there are also tonnes of egg free recipes available too.
One of my favourite egg alternatives to use in egg based recipes such as pancakes and baking is a Chia Seed egg. There is a video below which shows how to make these – they are super simple.
You can also try a flaxseed egg (similar recipe to chia seed egg) or you can get egg replacers from health food stores too.
Some people worry about sustainability around eggs as well as for ethical reasons they may choose not to have them, and for very good reasons too. Some of the things I try to do for this myself are the following:
- Vary the protein sources that Raffy has so he’s having lots of plant based proteins such as chickpeas, lentils, tofu, beans, nut butters as well as some eggs and fish (and meat, if your family eats it)
- Choose organic and/or free range eggs where possible – they are a little more expensive, but if you vary eggs with other super cheap protein sources such as tins of beans or dried lentils, you can balance out the costs
- Choose local eggs from local hens and just make sure you cook them thoroughly. We have a farm near my parents house and also some family members who have their own eggs, so we will get our eggs from here whenever possible.
If your baby is vegan or vegetarian, check out my blog on this topic as it might help to make sure you’re still balancing out nutrient intakes if you aren’t including fish, eggs and meat in little one’s diets.
If you have any more tips on this, I’d love to hear them, so feel free to send them through.
A cupboard staple (and how to eat):
For all the reasons above, eggs are a great store cupboard staple to have during weaning and throughout all ages too.
They are so quick to put into recipes and I love some of the below ways of using them:
- Eggy rice
- Cakes (obviously)
- Scrambled egg on toast
- Hard boiled egg fingers
For me, eggs make a really simple option when I’ve run out of ideas, or a good nutritious option when I’m in a rush or need just a light meal for baby too.