TOP 10 IRON RICH FOODS FOR KIDS AND TODDLERS
TOP 10 IRON RICH FOODS FOR KIDS AND TODDLERS
Have a toddler in your home? Is it time to start feeding your mushy baby with solid food? Worried much about how to get your baby to eat healthy food especially after remembering the stories your parents told you about how difficult your toddlerhood was for them? It is time to stop sweating. We have your back.
Feeding nutritious food to your kids is a struggle every parent can relate to. A growing child needs essential nutrition from the food they eat. But children are choosy especially with what they like to put in their mouth. These picky eaters can have a variety of logic for rejecting good food like ‘Greens – Not pleasing to my eyes’, ‘Smells like gourd–nope, not going to work for me’, ‘Oh! It looks a little extra white – must be bland’.
Caregivers have to make sure to give extra attention to children’s diet as not only is it highly important for their physical and mental growth but also because the deficiency of essential nutrients can lead to many problems and hinder their development.
One such essential nutrient that we are going to cover here is IRON.
Iron is one element that helps the body produce hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is required in the body to transport oxygen to the cells.
Iron deficiency (ID) is not uncommon among children and may have a bad impact on their neurodevelopment and their behavior. The deficiency of iron also causes anemia.
Based on the data provided by National Institutes of health –
A toddler who is 1 to 3 years old should have 7mg of daily iron intake.
For a baby who is 7 to 12 months old this daily requirement is 11 mg.
Children with an age range of 4 to 8 years should have 10 mg of iron daily.
However, newborn babies have iron stored up in their bodies that is sufficient for around the first four months. They consume iron from breast milk/formula too.
Iron is available in two forms: heme iron and non-heme iron. Animal meat contains heme iron and non-heme iron comes from plant-based foods. Foods like lean meats, seafood, and eggs/dairy contain both heme and non-heme iron. Heme iron gets easily absorbed in our body. Vegans/vegetarians and fussy children should consume more iron than recommended.
Now that you have taken a look at some of the reasons behind the buzz surrounding our component iron, without much ado let’s get you to the iron-rich foods you can incorporate into your child’s diet.
1. MEAT & SEAFOOD – Great sources of iron
From chicken to turkey breasts all meat contains iron. Lamb chops work as well. Seafood like oysters and canned tuna (which are also one of the top sources of omega 3’s) are great sources of iron as well. Children might tend to reject meat so entice them by trying chicken nuggets or spaghetti with meatballs. You can cut the meat in fun shapes. You could also try making your dish creamier by using avocado and milk.
2. DRIED FRUITS – Iron rich food items
Here is something that kids love. Raisins! Raisins beat constipation too. Prunes are also liked by children. You can also experiment with dried apricot, red tart cherries, and diced watermelons.
3. IRON – Fortified cereals & oatmeal
Many instant dry breakfast bowls of cereal catering to kids are fortified with iron with a 100% daily requirement value (DV). Make Oatmeal interesting by adding raisins and a pinch of cinnamon. However, avoid daily serving of these as they are also rich in sugar and sodium. Reminds me of Kylie Minogue’s song– why do all good things have extra sodium? Wait – that’s not the right lyrics. Whatever!
4. BEANS AND LENTILS – Pulses high in iron
Just Protein is not the reason why one should incorporate chickpeas, kidney beans, soybeans, lentils, and other beans and pulses in their diet. These daredevils are also a great source of iron. White beans are the best when it comes to Iron providing 8 mg per serving. Serve them with rice or as a sandwich. Peanut butter is also rich in iron and can be used as a spread on bread and served to the kids. It contains about 0.56 mg of iron per tablespoon. This number may vary depending upon the brand.
5. GREENS – The best source of iron
Though later the creator of the show Popeye – the sailor man (guilty – I still love watching it) denied the reports that they used spinach to reflect strength due to its high iron content, there is no saying that spinach is not a good source of iron. Spinach, kale, or Broccoli, the greens are must to have been it a child or an adult. Chop your greens into your child’s favourite dishes. Turn your kid’s smoothie extra nutritious by mixing greens in them.
6. DARK CHOCOLATE – Most loved iron rich food by toddlers
The fan base of dark chocolate is tremendous. It contains 7 mg of iron per 3oz serving. Rich in antioxidants many adults would happily incorporate it into their diet. However, toddlers might reject dark chocolate due to its slightly bitter taste. You can melt that dark chocolate and mix it with peanut butter for a relishing taste. Dark chocolate is one of the best iron-rich food for kids.
7. NUTS AND SEEDS – Rich in iron and healthy fats
Try adding crushed nuts like pistachios and cashews into that special dish that you are cooking for your child. Not only will it make it tasty but also nutrient-rich. They have proteins, they have healthy fats, and they also have iron, zinc, and whatnot. Certain seeds like Pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, and sesame seeds are also very healthy.
Don’t serve your kids with whole nuts or whole raisins; these can be great choking trouble.
8. POTATOES WITH SKIN & SWEET POTATOES
Next time you bake those lovely potatoes for your lovely kids remember to keep their skin on. The skin of potatoes has more iron and Vitamin C. Even sweet potatoes are rich in Vitamin C. TIP – Adding Vitamin C to your iron-rich diet is a great method to ensure that all that iron is getting absorbed in that body. A great source of food high in iron that can be served to your kids.
9. EGGS – One of the best iron rich food for kids
Rich in proteins, vitamins, and minerals like iron, eggs are audacious. Dye your hard-boiled eggs with some food colour to make it fun for children. You can also try serving them with scrambled eggs or fried egg sandwiches.
10. MUSHROOMS – Rich in iron and boosts immunity
Certain mushrooms like button mushrooms and oyster mushrooms are rich in Iron.
Consult a doctor for iron supplements or in case you think that the infant is iron deficient. Possible symptoms may include very pale skin, weakness in the muscle, fatigue, fast heartbeat, irritability, decreased appetite among others.
By keeping in mind the wellness of your infant, prepare healthful meals and encourage them to eat them by being a role model to them. If they watch you having it they might want to eat it too.