The Best Iron-Rich Foods For Children

Plus, kid-approved recipes made by a mom for moms (and of course, our Picky Eaters)

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 Meats

lean meats for kids

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!

    • Tuna
    • Chicken (dark meat)
    • Turkey (dark meat)
    • Beef, organ meats, liver

Fortified Cereal

Cereal with iron

 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 percent of the daily value for iron in just one serving!

    • Cereal
    • Oatmeal
    • Brown Rice
    • Quinoa


beans for kids

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.

    • Lentil beans
    • Lima beans
    • Soybeans
    • Kidney beans 


Seeds for kids

Iron heavy seeds such as pumpkin seed 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.

    • Pumpkin seed
    • Sunflower seed
    • Squash seed
    • Sesame seed 

Leafy Greens

Salads for Kids 
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!
    • Spinach
    • Kale
    • Broccoli

Want More?

3 easy and yummy recipes they’ll love to eat and you’ll love to make.