The best Iron-rich foods for kids
Many young children, particularly toddlers, are at risk for iron deficiency which is the most common cause of anemia in children. It is even more difficult for a picky-eater to obtain enough from solid foods. So what iron-rich foods can I feed my kid? Here is our top 5 hit list:
Lean meat and poultry are good sources of iron because they contain large amounts of heme iron which is easier for the body to absorb. If your child eats a vegan or vegetarian diet, definitely aim for twice as much iron as the recommended amount. An iron supplement might be something worth looking into!
Lean meats rich in iron:
- Chicken (dark meat)
- Turkey (dark meat)
- Beef, organ meats, liver
Fortified-iron and low-sugar cereals like oatmeal are one of the best ways to ensure your toddler gets enough iron - without the extra sugar. A serving of iron-fortified cereals and oatmeal typically has 100% of the daily value for iron in just one serving!
Fortified cereal rich in iron:
- Brown Rice
Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart, the more you eat the more...iron you’ll have! If you are aiming to give your kids a vegan or vegetarian diet, or your picky child isn’t a fan of meat, beans are a fantastic compromise. Soybeans, lima beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, and lentils, for example, are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals, including iron.
Beans rich in iron:
- Lentil beans
- Lima beans
- Kidney beans
Iron heavy seeds such as pumpkin seeds contain nearly 6 milligrams of iron per half-cup. A great way to make them more appealing is to add them to a trail mix with raisins, prunes, dried apricots. Make sure you mash or cut large seeds into smaller pieces and keep watch on your toddler while they munch on them.
Seeds rich in iron:
- Pumpkin seed
- Sunflower seed
- Squash seed
- Sesame seed
Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach are among your best vegetable options for getting iron. A half-cup of leafy greens typically has about 3 milligrams of iron. If your kid isn’t into greens, try being sneaky with it and add a few chopped greens to your toddler’s favorite dish - they probably won’t even notice! If they’re serious Picky Eaters, an iron supplement or multivitamin with iron might help simplify meals.
Leafy Greens rich in iron:
Sometimes, diet doesn't cut it. Many children with low Iron levels can benefit from taking an Iron Supplement.