Eggs are nutrient-dense, easy to eat and have built in portion control. There are a lot more choices in eggs besides the size. It can be overwhelming deciding between organic, free-range, and cage-free eggs. The type of eggs you buy are a personal choice so it’s best to choose based on your priorities. Here is a simple buying guide to help you buy the right egg for you:
Egg Nutrition Facts for one large egg
- 6 grams of protein
- 5 grams of fat (1.5 grams saturated)
- Yolk is where you will find a lot of important nutrients so eat it to reap these benefits.
- 5 percent of your daily vitamin A needs
- 10 percent of your daily vitamin D needs
- 27 percent of the daily amount of brain-boosting choline you need
- eggs labeled “omega-3” generally means the hens were fed a diet supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids, usually DHA
- The number of eggs you eat each week depends on the individual. For those who have a personal or family history of heart disease, eat egg yokes within the context of your saturated fat intake for the day.
Conventional Eggs come from hens living in battery cages. These are cramped mesh cages that prevent the hens from stretching, nesting, spreading their wings, basically anything besides laying eggs. The cages are not electric, the name battery comes from hundreds and thousands of cages next to each other like a battery cell.
Natural Eggs means nothing. All eggs meet this USDA regulation because nothing is added to eggs.
Free-range Eggs means hens have shelter and also have access to the outdoors. There is no regulation on how much time the hens stay outside or if the area is covered with vegetation.
Cage-free Eggs means hens stay indoors but have unlimited access to food and water and do not live in a cage. The hens generally have space to walk and run, spread their wings, and actually lay their eggs in nests. While this is a very good environment, it doesn’t mean the hen lives a cruelty-free life and could have their beak burned off (a common practice), or transported long distances without food or water.
Pastured or Pasture-raised Eggs come from hens that are uncaged, free to walk around and nest, and given access to the outdoors. While this is a very good environment, it doesn’t mean the hen lives a cruelty-free life and could have their beak burned off (a common practice), or transported long distances without food or water. Pasture-raised hens were able to eat bugs and grass and likely richest in “omega-3s” then all other eggs.
Organic Eggs are raised at the same standards as pasture-raised hens. “USDA certified organic eggs” were produced without pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers and the hens were fed an organic diet without those substances or fed any animal by-products or antibiotics. Organic eggs are also non-GMO because the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) prohibits the use of GMOs.
Shop Local. The best way to find out how a hen is cared for is to learn about the company. This can easily be done by talking to your local farmers about how they raise their egg-laying hens.
My favorite eggs to buy are pasture-raised eggs. I prefer to buy them from a local farmer. If I can’t get pasture-raised eggs from a local farmer, I’ll order these.