Breaking It Down: What Kind of Eggs Should I Be Buying?

It's hump day, party people! The week is moving right along, and Friday will be here before we know it. How's your week going so far? Are you sticking with the goals and intentions you set for the week? I set the goal of upping my water intake and trying to eat at least three servings of veggies each day. It's helpful to set some goals on Sunday that you can work towards sticking to for the week ahead. Writing down goals (no matter how small they are - it can be just to park further away in the parking lot at work) and placing them somewhere you'll see them will hold you accountable during the week. Accountability is key for a lot people. Whether it's a post-it note on your fridge, computer at work, maybe it's a daily reminder you set on your cell phone, or a friend that you told you'll walk with three times this week, it will remind you throughout the week of what you're trying to work towards. If you haven't tried that before I encourage you to give it a shot this coming Sunday. Take just a few minutes to yourself at some point on Sunday and think about what you would like to do in the upcoming week to improve your health, and then let me know how it goes! You can email me at joyfullyjennablog@gmail.com, comment on this blog post or on my Instagram (joyfullyjenna) or Facebook page! 

Alright, so what are we talking about today besides setting goals? Eggs! It seems like there are so many different words being thrown around eggs these days: organic, cage-free, there's brown eggs, there's white eggs - which is a gal supposed to choose? What's the healthiest option? What really and truly matters when it comes to buying eggs? I'm here to break it down for ya!

White vs. Brown Eggs

Alright, let's start here. I think a lot of us are under the impression that brown is always better when it comes to food. For example, white bread over a whole wheat (brown) bread - whole wheat wins the healthy award, hands down, but that isn't the case for eggs. The color of eggs simply depends on the breed of chicken that lays the eggs, the taste and nutrition aren't affected. White eggs are laid by white-feathered chickens with white or light-colored earlobes, while brown eggs are laid by brown-feathered chickens with red earlobes. So, wait, why do brown eggs always cost more than white eggs then? Well, the chickens that lay brown eggs have a bigger appetite, which means it costs more to feed them, hence the increased price at the supermarket. So, now we know that we don't really need to be concerned about the color of the eggs we buy. 

Cage-Free

Sadly, this only means that chickens were not kept in cages/cases. They can still be confined in very close quarters inside a building and may not be able to move very much. They have little access to the outdoors (not cool). Good that they're not in cages, but no access to the outdoors and being on close quarters ain't too cool in my book. 

Free-Range

According to the USDA regulation, this means that chickens had access to the outside, but there are no specifications in terms of the quality or the duration of outside exposure. This means that chickens could still be crammed into a large warehouse that has only one small door to a tiny outside area. Most of the chickens may not even be able to access that door, or even know there is an outside space. 

Omega-3

So, you see this on your carton of eggs and you're wondering what it means. If your carton of eggs has omega-3 stamped on it, it generally means that the hens were given feed that included flax, fish oils, marine algae, and other ingredients to boost the levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their eggs. This is a plus, but not entirely necessary to look for in my opinion when purchasing your eggs.

Organic

This is another one to be on the lookout for! If your eggs are organic, you know that the facility the hens are in has been checked by accredited certifiers. You also know that the hens have been raised on feed grown without synthetic pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, or fertilizers. These hens are supposed to have access to the outdoors, but there is some questioning as to if that is actually enforced. Organic eggs are going to cost you more because of the cost of feed, smaller flock size, and certification cost. However, in my opinion, it's worth it. 

Pasture Raised:

This is a very important term to look for! This term is being used by sustainable farmers to mean that chickens are being raised outdoors...in a pasture (crazy that this just isn't the norm). Definitely be on a lookout for this term when you head to the grocery store.  

All in all, I would say it's most important to look for the words organic and pasture raised (with cage-free and free-range the next two to look for) when shopping for your eggs. I'm lucky enough to be able to buy my eggs at a local farm, where I can actually see the hens that the eggs come from, and I know that they're being fed a good diet and they're able to roam around. If you're able to find a farm or someone near you who sells eggs from their own hens, that would be my absolute first choice, because for me knowing exactly where my food is coming from is the. best. thing ever. If you're not able to buy local eggs, just be on the lookout for organic and pasture raised eggs at the supermarket!

Thank you guys so much for reading my post today. I hope that it will help you navigate all of the buzzwords that have been thrown around eggs recently! It would mean the world to me if you would subscribe to my blog - if you're on your computer it will be on the right side of your screen, if you're on your phone it will be towards the bottom of the blog. All you have to do is enter in your email address and then confirm your subscription. You can also follow me on Instagram (username: joyfullyjenna) and on my Facebook page! 

For more information on eggs and the terms that surround them, head to: http://certifiedhumane.org/free-range-and-pasture-raised-officially-defined-by-hfac-for-certified-humane-label/

Have an awesome, productive, fun, and healthy day, friends!

Jenna

*Some of the information for this post was taken from SmartCooky.com, Consumerreports.org, and Livinghomegrown.com