I'm an RD, and This Is the One Thing I Eat At 7 a.m. Every Day
I must admit, my morning routine is rather unique. After I grab a cup of piping hot dark roast, I put my boots on and head out to the backyard to let our chickens out for the day.
We have 13 free-to-roam chickens that keep us entertained on our small farm in Northern Virginia. In exchange for a few easy farm chores, they provide us with delicious, high-quality free-range eggs each morning.
Each chicken lays approximately one egg a day, so naturally, we eat eggs for breakfast!
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If you've never had free-range eggs, the first thing you will notice is the distinct golden, orange yolks. Most conventionally raised birds lay lackluster eggs. In fact, research shows that free-range farming increases the natural Vitamin D in eggs. This is especially important in the wintertime when we have decreased sun exposure and typically see a drop in Vitamin D levels in North Americans.
Further, this environment is their natural habitat and provides their natural diet. Chickens are naturally omnivores meaning they like to forage on bugs, insects, and plants.
Our chickens have fresh air since they are not cooped up during the day. They spent their days foraging in the fields for bugs, scratching through the forests, and pecking at the grass.
Now, you don't need to become a chicken farmer to reap these benefits. Next time you run to the store for eggs, search for the labels "free-range," "pasture-raised," or "free-to-roam" to find eggs from chickens with the same environment!
Oftentimes, labels like 'vegetarian fed' or 'organic' do not dictate how the birds were actually raised or what access to the outdoors they have.
You might also consider checking out your local farmers' market to talk to the farmers directly about how they raise their chickens. Most farmers take a lot of pride in their methods and are happy to explain what they do at home.
If you want more information on how to decipher egg labels, we have compiled a list of the 26 Things You Need to Know Before Buying a Carton of Eggs.