When I start to think about eggs, the song from the musical Oliver, (“Food, glorious food…”) starts running through my head, (I think it may have been an Egg Council jingle eons ago) and I begin to wonder about all the different egg choices, but specifically brown eggs vs. white eggs. (Don’t judge, I know you are curious too, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this. Gotcha there!) Let me back up a bit and explain why I even started pondering eggs at all.
A few years ago I was doing our weekly grocery shopping…at Costco (yes, I really do shop at a bulk store every week), and I really didn’t want to pay the $8 they were charging for a 5 dozen flat of eggs, but I couldn’t just not get eggs. (How would our cookies get made?) So I picked up an 18 count container of brown eggs which happened to be a bit cheaper at that moment. I’d heard they were better for you so I figured it was a win-win. Until, that is, I opened the container to check for breakages and my 4 year old gasped and looked at me with horror in her eyes. “Ewww!” she complained…loudly. Embarrassed, but recognizing a golden moment when I saw one, I decided to make brown eggs a treat rather than punishment.
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I opened the box back up and looked at the eggs with her…
Now, if you’ve never really looked at a brown egg before you may not know what I’m talking about, but, brown eggs are quite pretty. They are a soft mocha-ish brown that looks just a little pink. AHA!! “These are special Princess eggs,” I said. “See how they’re pink? We only get to have Princess eggs on VERY special occasions.” As I went on and on about how pretty they were the look of disgust turned to a smile, and we purchased the eggs excitedly. The next morning this same daughter (who, by the way, HATED eggs at the time) happily helped me scramble those Princess eggs and ate every bite. Now every time we go into the store to buy eggs my daughter, who is now 8, still asks for Princess eggs.
As it turns out it was a cheaper buy that day, but not necessarily a healthier one.
The benefits and detriments of eggs have been argued for decades. Some factions say you should limit your intake to no more than 2 eggs per week; others claim you can have 2 eggs at every sitting and be healthier than ever. I grew up in a house with a bunch of boys that ate like nobody’s business, and MY mom said no more than 3 eggs at a time. Since my mom was NEVER wrong, :), I have the 3 egg limit in my house too. (Before you die of shock that a kid could want more than 3 eggs at a sitting, you should see my 12 year old eat!)
According to the American Egg Board (Oh My GOSH! I can’t believe I actually typed that with a straight face.) “Eggs now contain 41 IU of vitamin D…(contain) Lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants found in egg yolks, (which) help prevent macular degeneration, a leading cause of age-related blindness. (and have) 6 grams of protein,” all in one large 70 calorie egg. (American Egg Board, http://www.incredibleegg.org/) Those benefits are across the board…there is no difference between brown eggs vs. white eggs…unless you are a princess.
The true difference lies in the color of the hen that does the laying. Hens with white feathers and white ear lobes (who knew chickens had ear lobes?) lay white eggs, while the red feathered and lobed hens lay brown eggs. Red hens tend to be a bit larger and consume more food, hence the higher price of brown eggs. So what about the “Omega-3” eggs? Those chickens are simply fed a diet higher in Omega-3 fats. (The jury is still out on whether they actually are any better for you.) Generally speaking, brown eggs, and white eggs, have the same nutrients, calories, and health benefits. What matters most is what the chicken are fed. If the chickens are free-range and are allowed to eat what they want, like grasses and seeds then they will be healthier, regardless of their egg color. There is more about eggs in this article.
Quite frankly, I’m glad there’s no disparity between the two. I like my kids thinking that Princess eggs are really special and I love buying my white eggs in 5 dozen flats. This way it really is a win-win situation.
I’d love to hear what some of your egg traditions are. Let me know. Until then… happy health!
(Some blog images from Flickr.com, RGBstock.com, & Wikipedia.com)