Toddlers can be picky about food. Even a child who likes a wide variety of foods may decide he wants to eat one particular food, eggs for example, for days on end. Most parents and pediatricians agree that forcing the issue and making your child eat different foods before he is ready, only leads to increased resistance. Your toddler's lunch of choice may be a scrambled egg for the next few weeks, but this does not have to be a source of worry. Giving your toddler an egg daily is just fine.
Calorie Requirement for Toddlers
Your toddler is growing in leaps and bounds and needs sufficient calories to support both his developmental and physical growth during this time. MayoClinic.com reports that children between the ages of 2 and 3 require from 1000 to 1400 calories daily to give them the energy and nutrition needed to play, learn and explore. Eggs are not especially high in calories. A hard boiled egg contains just 77 calories, while scrambling the egg with a bit of fat increases the calorie count to 90. Giving your child an egg each day, along with other nutritious foods like whole grains, milk and fresh fruits and vegetables, does not pose a risk in terms of overfeeding or underfeeding your toddler.
Fat and Cholesterol
Toddlers require fat and cholesterol in their diets for healthy development. You should not limit these nutrients in children under age 2, although healthy sources of fat, such as in milk, cheese and fish, are preferable over the saturated fats present in some types of snack foods. Dr. Richard E. Allen explains in the November 2006 issue of "American Family Physician" that toddlers should get 30 percent of their daily calories through fat, and suggests serving eggs as part of a healthy diet for children between the ages of 18 months and 4 years old.
Eggs are a rich source of protein. People of all ages need protein in their diets, especially those who are vegetarian. An egg a day is an excellent source of protein and also vitamin B-12 for toddlers. Another advantage of eggs over meat for toddlers is the ease of chewing. Toddlers who cut their teeth late may have an easier time chewing eggs than beef, pork or chicken.
Establishing Good Habits
As a parent, you want to establish good eating patterns in your child early on, to help her learn to like different foods and to reduce the risk of future health problems. Though serving eggs every day may be fine from a nutritional perspective when your toddler is young, incorporate a wide variety of foods into mealtimes, including those that are lower in cholesterol, as your child grows older. Prepare eggs in a healthy manner, using cooking spray for scrambling instead of large amounts of butter, to instill good habits at an early age.
- Government of South Australia: Parenting and Child Health: Feeding Toddlers; March 2011
- "American Family Physician"; Nutrition in Toddlers; Richard E. Allen et al.; November 2006
- American Dietetic Association: Feeding Vegetarian and Vegan Infants and Todders
- HealthyChildren.org; Optimizing Nutrition for Toddlers; May 2011
- MayoClinic.com; Nutrition for Kids: Guidelines for a Healthy Diet; July 2009