For Teens Only: Egg-Cellent News!

10_egg.ftwc-300-small-cIt’s official, whole eggs are back on the menu. Gone are the days… ok, decades … of banishing nutrient-rich egg yolks from the daily plate.

Yes, it’s time to overcome the unfounded fear that eating those golden yolks (and other foods) would raise blood cholesterol and increase the risk for heart disease just because they contain dietary cholesterol.

New science, new rules

Turns out, the available evidence we have today just doesn’t show a link between the cholesterol you eat and the cholesterol your body makes. So when the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans were recently published, the recommendation in previous guidelines to limit cholesterol intake was completely removed. In its place, you’ll find a statement more in line with what today’s research shows: “Cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.” It’s music to an egg-lover’s ear.

The return of the yolk

So, after decades of being tossed into the trash, shunned by the egg-white-only crowd, and generally banished from tables across America, whole eggs are back on the menu. And, they are brimming with nutrients that fuel a growing teen’s body and brain.

Ready, set, eat

One large egg contains only 70 calories, yet delivers an impressive 19 essential vitamins and minerals – in amounts ranging from 1% to over 20% Daily Value – as well as other nutrients like choline.

In fact, eggs are a particularly good source of six key nutrients with targeted benefits for teens. Take a look:

  • Body-fueling protein. One large egg provides 6 grams of protein (12% Daily Value). If you tossed the yolk, you would be throwing out almost half the protein. Don’t. Enjoy eggs, especially at breakfast, for a protein boost. See For Teens Only: 5 Ways to Up the Power of Breakfast on how eggs are featured in the high-protein breakfasts Lorna serves her teens. For example, Sunny Eggs & Beans can be ready in less than 10 minutes. Cheesy Scrambled Eggs & Bacon is perfect for cheese lovers. And, Eggs, Bacon & Beans is ideal for when more hunger-curbing fiber is needed to tackle a busy school day.
  • Acne-zapping vitamin A. One large egg provides 270 IU of vitamin A (5% Daily Value). Vitamin A is needed for every cell in your body to work at peak performance. It plays a key role in eye, immune and skin health. Vitamin A has even been shown to help reduce teen acne. For all the details, see For Teens Only: Acne Zapping Power of Vitamin A.
  • Multi-tasking vitamin D. One large egg provides 41 IU of vitamin D (10% Daily Value). This bone-building vitamin also plays a role in immune function and muscle strength. What’s more, consuming enough vitamin D has benefits for dry, scaly winter skin. For all the details, see For Teens Only: Soothe Winter-Related Eczema.
  • Immune-boosting selenium. One large egg provides 15 micrograms of selenium (22% Daily Value). Adding eggs to your healthy diet is sure to help you get enough of this essential mineral to stay healthy during the winter months and all year long. For added immune protection, don’t forget to add other good habits to your regular routine. For all the details, see 8 Immune-Boosting Tips for Today’s Teens.
  • Energizing riboflavin (vitamin B2). One large egg provides 0.23 milligrams (13% Daily Value) of riboflavin. This B vitamin plays a central role in metabolism. It not only helps convert the food you eat into energy your cells can use, but also helps fully activate other B vitamins. What’s more, riboflavin has protective antioxidant properties.
  • Brain-fueling choline. One large egg provides an impressive 150 milligrams of choline (all in the yolk). In fact, the egg yolk is one of the richest food sources of choline. For comparison, an adequate intake for teen girls is 375 to 400 milligrams per day, depending on age. For teen boys, it’s 375 to 550 milligrams per day, depending on age. Choline is a chemical cousin to the B vitamin family and is critical for many functions, including memory storage and muscle control.

Nutrition Nugget

Hard-boiled eggs can make healthy snacks an easy option, especially on busy school days. Simple boil up several eggs and store them in the refrigerator in their shells. They will stay fresh for about one week, waiting to fend off your next snack attack. (If you peel them, you need to eat them the same day.) For cooking tips to make perfect boiled eggs, you can’t beat Chef Jeff’s video on How to Hard-Boil Eggs over at the Incredible Egg Cooking School.

Here’s to adding eggs to your daily plate!

Kathleen Dunn, MPH, RD
Co-author of Eating for A’s

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PS – Teens, we’re here to help you on your quest to be the best you. If you have any questions or need additional information, just join us on Facebook and drop us a note. Take it one day at a time. Soon you’ll reach your goal.  Work hard, play hard, study hard, and have fun! Good luck, the EatingFor Team is cheering you on!