The newly released 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans include recommendations for birth to 24 months old and specifically recommend eggs as an important first food for infants and toddlers, as well as for pregnant women and lactating moms.
The new guidelines confirm that eggs provide several key nutrients important for babies during the time in which their brains are rapidly developing. The guidelines emphasize the importance of choline, a nutrient in eggs. Just one large egg provides the daily choline needs for babies and toddlers, and two large eggs provide more than half of daily choline needs for pregnant moms. Additionally, early introduction of eggs may also assist in reducing the risk of developing an egg allergy.
But do they offer other benefits outside of those that are nutritional? The answer is yes.
Lately my son has been obsessed with the idea of cooking eggs, not because he wants to eat them all the time, but he loves the process. As a mom, I do too.
Of course, I supervise but when I allow him to crack eggs, dump them into a pan and then watch as I stir them it helps develop his five senses (sight, sound, smell, taste and touch). Penn State Extension would agree, according to its website, “Eating and preparing foods can be a great sensory experience for children and a fun learning opportunity.”
While cooking the eggs, my little guy makes a point of telling me the pan is empty, the shell is whole and that we still need to grease the pan. He can see that I will eventually cook them and that when they are done, I melt cheese on top.
He can hear the eggs crack against the bowl and enjoys imitating the sound of them sizzling in the pan, while he occasionally gets to help stir them in the bowl, I do most of that myself.
I think the touch aspect is probably self-explanatory, but just image the sweetest little boy voice saying, “Momma, feel the edges, I cracked it.”
I always laugh when he says, “Mmm, momma that smells good,” as the cheese melts.
The best part is always the end, when he eats the eggs, with an adult fork because he is clearly not a baby anymore, just ask him.
“By letting children learn about foods and help prepare foods, they may be more willing to try new foods,” Penn State Extension site said.
I think the industry should be really excited about not only the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans, but also, the idea of educating moms about the sensory benefits young children can gain from cooking eggs with their parents.