I’m discussing the benefits of introducing eggs early and often to reduce the risk of egg allergy, and sharing a soft veggie egg casserole that’s perfect for baby and adults alike! Pin it for later here.
Disclosures: This post was created in partnership with Egg Nutrition Center using my own opinions. Thanks for supporting this blog!
Here we go again, round 2 of introducing potential allergens to a baby under my roof and it’s egg time lezzzgo! It can feel a bit nerve-wracking as a new parent to introduce potential allergens to a tiny human you love so much, but rest assured it’s actually the right thing to do both early and often. My favorite way to introduce eggs to my kids is with an egg casserole because it’s particularly soft. Here I’m sharing a simple veggie egg casserole that’s great for both babies and adults.
My Past as an Egg Allergy Mom
Since my oldest daughter had an egg allergy, which she has since outgrown, I’m familiar with how to introduce eggs and what signs to look out for in case of a food allergy. Her allergy also puts my son at higher risk for having an egg allergy (though fortunately no signs of a reaction so far!).
At about six months old, after introducing eggs by spoon and baked in foods a few times to my daughter, I let her feed herself eggs with her hands. Immediately she developed red, itchy dots everywhere the egg touched. She started crying and scratching herself. I tossed her in the bath and fortunately it subsided within about 15 minutes. As you should always do if you suspect a food allergy, I notified my pediatrician who referred me to an allergist. The allergist confirmed an egg allergy with a skin-prick test. The allergist recommended she continue to have eggs baked in foods which she tolerated previously (like bread or these whole wheat chocolate chip pancake poppers – read more about offering baked eggs here), and was re-tested at around 19 months where we learned she had fortunately outgrown the allergy.
When Should You Introduce Eggs?
The 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s Scientific Report recommends eggs as a first food for babies when they are developmentally ready (e.g. baby is able to hold his head up, sit in a high chair, shows interest in solid foods, etc. – I wrote about realistic advice for introducing solids here) (1, 2). Eggs are recommended as a first food because of their nutrition, providing 8 essential nutrients that help build a healthy foundation for life, and because early introduction of eggs may reduce the risk of developing an egg allergy (1). Importantly, eggs are one of the most concentrated food sources of choline, which is important for cognitive development.
Early exposure to eggs may reduce the risk of developing an egg allergy (3). Easy ways to introduce eggs are scrambled, egg casserole, soft French toast or pancakes. Research on early introduction of potential food allergens reducing the risk of developing a food allergy is strongest in peanuts and eggs, and may be particularly important when baby is at higher risk for an allergy (3,4). A recent randomized trial found early introduction of egg reduced overall rate of egg allergy by 79% (5). Notably, up to 80% of kids with an egg or milk allergy are able to tolerate extensively baked eggs (e.g. muffins, breads, etc.), like my daughter was able to (6).
In addition to peanuts and eggs, there are other potential allergens that are important to introduce to baby when developmentally ready. These include milk, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, wheat and soybeans. Although over 160 different foods could cause an allergic reaction, these eight foods, known as “The Big 8,” account for approximately 90% of food allergic reactions (7). Per the American Academy of Pediatrics, there is no reason to delay introduction of any potential food allergen (4).
How Will I Know if My Baby is Allergic to a Food?
Always be sure to offer one potential food allergen at a time. When introducing potential allergens, offer a small amount to baby and watch for any allergic reactions over the next two hours. Allergic reactions are often presented in ways other than anaphylaxis, and you don’t necessarily need to keep a medication on hand in case of a reaction. If your child does have a confirmed allergy you will then get a prescription from your pediatrician or allergist.
Ways an allergic reaction might present itself are (7):
- Hives (red, itchy dots) – this is what happened to my daughter
- Flushed skin or rash
- Face, tongue or lip swelling
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
If any of these occur, notify your pediatrician and you will likely be referred to an allergist for follow-up testing. Work with your pediatrician or allergist to develop a treatment plan for your baby. Although up to 2% of children are allergic to eggs, about 70% outgrow the allergy by age 16 (8).
Anaphylactic reactions are rare in babies and very young children and most frequently occur from cow’s milk. In the small chance there is wheezing or shortness of breath after eating eggs or any other allergen, your baby should go to the hospital immediately (9).
Offer Eggs Often
Once you’ve determined your baby tolerates eggs, you should offer them several times a week. Offering tolerated allergens often can help baby maintain tolerance and minimize the risk of developing a food allergy.
How to Introduce Eggs with Veggie Egg Casserole
I prefer egg casserole to scrambled eggs (although that’s totally an option!) because it tends to be softer and fluffier given the addition of cheese and cottage cheese. I have a plain egg casserole recipe here if you prefer but this veggie egg casserole is a nice way to introduce soft veggies to your tag-along. Plus, eggs can help the body better absorb nutrients found in plant foods like vitamin E and carotenoids.
Depending on baby’s development and motor skills, I like to offer this veggie egg casserole either by:
- Cutting small squares for baby to feed himself, or
- Making a simple mash with my fork and spoon-feeding or letting baby spoon-feed himself.
Personally, with my son at 5 months, I am mashing and spoon-feeding him while watching closely for his cues. I let him come to the spoon and stop offering when he loses interest or becomes fussy.
Veggie Egg Casserole Recipe
As a mom, I’m always looking for simple recipes that work for everyone in the house. This veggie egg casserole recipe fits the bill as a soft way to introduce eggs to baby while being a sure crowd-pleaser for the adults. Save your leftovers for a quick breakfast, lunch or dinner all week long!
As always, I hope you love this veggie egg casserole recipe! It’s a favorite in our house, and a simple way to introduce nutrient-rich eggs. Now go fire up those ovens!
Pin this Veggie Egg Casserole recipe for later here.
Veggie Egg Casserole
- 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
- 1 head broccoli florets
- 1 bell pepper, chopped (I prefer red, yellow or orange)
- 2 tsp canola oil (can use avocado oil or olive oil)
- 1 dozen eggs
- 1 c shredded cheese
- 2 c low-fat cottage cheese
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 Tbsp flour
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 9x13 pan.
- Prepare veggies. Chop onion and bell pepper (if serving to baby might want a slightly smaller chop). Pick apart broccoli florets into small pieces and remove most of stem.
- Heat a medium-sized frying pan to medium heat. Add canola oil and mix around pan. Add onions and mix into oil. Cook ~3-4 minutes until they start softening.
- Add broccoli and red bell pepper. Mix in with onions. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook 1-2 minutes, then cover with a lid to steam for another 2-3 minutes until broccoli looks bright green. Remove veggies from stovetop.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs. Add in cottage cheese, cheese, baking powder and flour. Add in veggies. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to 9x13 pan.
- Bake at 350°F for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and enjoy!