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Top 20 Iron Rich Foods For Your Kids

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Iron is one of the essential minerals for your growing kids. Iron deficiency may lead to several health issues like anemia. In this case your doctor may advise you to add iron supplements in the diet. However, you must also focus on the diet to avoid such pathetic health conditions. So, here we list out the 20 best iron rich foods for your kids along with some additional information, iron supplements and tips.

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Iron deficiency whether among adults or children is bad for your overall health. It is a very essential element for the development of children. They can be victims of anemia by not having enough iron in the body. To avoid such conditions children should be given an iron-rich diet to eat. Lack of blood can cause several health problems such as fatigue, gluten and dizziness. So, here is the list of best 20 iron rich foods, which you must include in your kids daily diet.

Best 20 Iron Rich Foods For Your Kids. 

Here are the list of iron rich foods for kids:

  1. Chicken Liver.
  2. Iron Fortified Formula Milk or Iron-Containing Cans Milk.
  3. Ragi.
  4. Bajra.
  5. Vegetables with Dark Green Leaves.
  6. Dry Fruits.
  7. Peas.
  8. Jaggery.
  9. Pulses and Legumes.
  10. Red Meat.
  11. Quinoa.
  12. Iron-rich cereals, bread or pasta.
  13. Oily Fish or Sea Foods.
  14. Tofu.
  15. Seeds.
  16. Nuts.
  17. Seeds of Amaranth or Rajgira.
  18. Sweet potato.
  19. Spinach.
  20. Dark Chocolate.

1. Chicken Liver. 

Chicken-Liver
Chicken Liver

It is one of the richest source of iron with vitamin B. You can feed this to your baby from the age of eight months. Cook and mashed it properly with the food before feeding. However, it may be difficult to digest at the beginning but thereafter you can give two or three teaspoon a week.(1)

nutri 1

2. Iron Fortified Formula Milk or Iron-Containing Cans Milk.

Parents who mostly preferred fortified formula milk to their children should ensure that fortified milk must be enriched with iron. This milk powder helps to overcome the iron deficiencies among the children and eradicate the chances of anemia, diarrhea and also helps in boosting immune system.(2)

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3. Ragi.

Ragi is a wonderful grain, because it is enriched with essential minerals and nutrients, especially iron. It is very beneficial for children who are suffering from anemia. You can use sprouted ragi powder, ragi milk porridge, ragi roti or ragi malt.(3),(4)

4. Millet. 

Millet
Millet

Millet or pearl millet is enriched with iron. It is also considered as the best food to eradicate anemia. Millet increases haemoglobin rate. You can make bajra khichdi, oatmeal or roti. (5)

5. Vegetables with Dark Green Leaves.

cruciferous
Green Vegetables

Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli are rich in iron. It can increase iron levels in the body.  Examples are soy, fennel, fennel leaves, fenugreek, peppermint and spinach etc.(6),(7)

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6. Dry Fruits.

Dry Fruits
Dry Fruits
  • Khumani (Apricots): It is the best iron rich fruit with a bundle of anti-oxidants. They meet the daily iron requirement by 50%.(8)
  • Prunes (Dried Plum): Prune juice is a very good source of iron. Apart from that, it also helps in constipation as well as cures iron deficiency.(9),(10)
  • Raisins: It is also rich in iron and helps to cure anemia. It also contains potassium, calcium, proteins and minerals.(11)

7. Green Peas. 

green-peas
Green Peas

Green peas contain a large amount of iron. Apart from iron, it also contains protein that caters to the iron needs of the vegetarians. It also contains vitamin C which helps the body to absorb iron. Therefore, green pea is considered to be the best for iron.(12)

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8. Jaggery. 

Vitamin C present in jaggery increases the potency of iron absorption. Jaggery is made from sugarcane juice, hence rich in iron content. It helps to prevent folate anemia.(13),(14)

9. Pulses and Legumes.

beans
Pulses

Legumes or pulses do not have fat like meat and other supplements. So, they are considered a healthy alternative to iron. Baked beans, rajma or kidney beans, soybeans, chickpeas or white chickpeas, all pulses like tur dal, masoor dal contains iron as well as protein and hence best for the baby.(15)

10. Red Meat.

Beef Tendon Nutrition
Red Meat

Meat, especially red meat contains a large amount of heme iron. Heme iron helps to absorb iron in the body and also meets iron deficiency.(16),(17)

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11. Quinoa. 

quinoa pic Iron Rich Foods For Kids
Quinoa

Quinoa is a coarse grain that can be consumed during breakfast by making a porridge. This food is a good source of iron. Ideally, it should be soaked for a while, so that the amount of acetic acid is reduced. This allows children to be fed as a dal, as khichdi or dosa.(18)

12. Iron-rich Cereals, Bread or Pasta.

Bread
Bread

Iron-rich cereals, breads or pasta are essential foods for all people. They do not contain iron, but are fortified with iron. Taking it with orange juice helps to absorb iron in the body. It is a healthy and tasty snack for breakfast.(19)

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13. Oily Fish or Sea Foods.

Salmon Fish Iron Rich Foods For Kids
Fish

Oily fish or sea foods are rich in fish oil, which has a very high iron content and also effective for overall health and wellbeing.

14. Tofu. 

Tofu
Tofu

Tofu is a good alternative to iron for vegetarians, which is made from soya milk. It completes 20% iron requirements a day. It also contains calcium, phosphorus and magnesium in large quantities. You can use tofu in vegetables as tofu blocks and khichdi instead of paneer.(20)

15. Seeds. 

pulses Iron Rich Foods For Kids
Seeds

Sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds are iron-rich plants. It can be consumed in raw or mixed with something else. It is also a good source of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.

16. Nuts. 

peanuts
Nuts

Nuts are a rich source of iron. Iron rich nuts are almonds, cashews or pine. They all contain a good amount of iron and fiber as well as antioxidants.(21)

17. Seeds of Amaranth or Rajgira.

Seeds of amaranth or rajgira also contain iron as well as phytic acid. You can consume it by soaking up at night or can also use it as a similar like millet recipe. Hence, gives a very good result.(22)

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18. Sweet Potato.

sweet potato Iron Rich Foods For Kids
Sweet Potato

It is iron rich food and has a mineral fiber that relieves constipation.(23)

19. Spinach. 

spinach Iron Rich Foods For Kids
Spinach

Spinach is one of the well know source of iron.(24) Along with iron it also contains Vitamin A, B2, B6, E and K. It is also a good source of  proteins as well as magnesium. Thereby, it is good for blood, eyes, immune system and skin.

20. Dark Chocolate.

Dark Chocolate
Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is one of the good sources of iron. Consumption of iron-rich food with dark chocolate can heal anemia. It also contains flavonoids that speed up blood flow.

Recommended Dietary Allowances.

According to National Institute of Nutrition the recommended dietary allowances of iron for kids are:

Iron

*Iron absorption reported for infants was 15%

Source- RDA book 2020, National Institute of Nutrition

5 Tips To Add Iron To Baby Food.

  • Use iron rich ingredients in any recipes you make.
  • Make a good food plan.
  • Give vitamin C food with iron-rich food, which boost iron absorption in the body.
  • Use iron pots while making food.
  • Reduce milk intake as it hampers iron absorption.

Safe Iron Supplements for Kids.

Liquid Drops.

Liquid supplements are easy to give to the children rather than swallowing pills.

Syrup.

Syrup can be easily measured and given to the baby. But the metallic taste of iron is not good for children and it also threatens to taint the teeth.

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Chewers.

Chewing supplements are best for those who consider measuring syrup as a hassle. These supplements come in different tastes and also very pleasing to the children. Keep them out of reach to the children.

Gum.

Majority of children like vitamin gums because they taste like toffee. There are several gums in the market which contain iron. You can easily give the required amount of iron through the gum.

Powder.

Iron powder supplements can be easily added to the food such as oatmeal and yogurt. It is best for young school going children.

Bottom Line.

Therefore, it can be said that iron plays a very crucial role in the human body. Hence, it is essential to include iron rich foods in the diet of your kids as they are at a growing stage.

I hope you have liked this article and don’t forget to share the article among your friends.

+24 Sources

Freaktofit has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, educational research institutes, and medical organizations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and up-to-date by reading our editorial policy.

  1. Increasing iron intake of children through complementary foods; https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/15648265070284S412
  2. Iron fortification of infant milk formula: the effect on iron status and immune function; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1714697/
  3. Effect of ragi (eleusine coracana) vermicelli supplementation on anemic school children; https://www.journalcra.com/article/effect-ragi-eleusine-coracana-vermicelli-supplementation-anemic-school-children
  4. Effect of puffing on calcium and iron contents of ragi varieties and their utilization; https://www.researchgate.net/publication/287765534_Effect_of_puffing_on_calcium_and_iron_contents_of_ragi_varieties_and_their_utilization
  5. Higher iron pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum L.) provides more absorbable iron that is limited by increased polyphenolic content; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4325945/
  6. Consumption of Dark Green Leafy Vegetables Predicts Vitamin A and Iron Intake and Status among Female Small-Scale Farmers in Tanzania; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6567817/
  7. Effect of green leafy vegetables powder on anaemia and vitamin-A status of Ghanaian school children; https://bmcnutr.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40795-018-0235-x
  8. Research reveals iron-deficiency anaemia in Indian women and children: Have these 5 iron-rich foods; https://www.indiatvnews.com/health/research-reveals-iron-deficiency-anaemia-in-indian-women-and-children-have-these-5-iron-rich-foods-668041
  9. Anemia caused by low iron – children; https://ufhealth.org/anemia-caused-low-iron-children
  10. Iron deficiency in early childhood; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3787170/
  11. Association of raisin and raisin‐containing food consumption with nutrient intake and diet quality in US children: NHANES 2001‐2012; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6261178/
  12. Iron in Your Child’s Diet; https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/content-public/pdf/bayside-medical-group/BMG_PCHA_IronInYourChildsDiet_FN.pdf
  13. Iron food supplement; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12503656/
  14. EFFECTIVENESS OF AMLA, JAGGERY AND PUMPKIN LEAVES EXTRACT ON THE LEVEL OF HAEMOGLOBIN, VITAMIN C AND IRON AMONG ADOLESCENT GIRLS WITH IRON DEFICIENCY ANEMIA; https://ijpsr.com/bft-article/effectiveness-of-amla-jaggery-and-pumpkin-leaves-extract-on-the-level-of-haemoglobin-vitamin-c-and-iron-among-adolescent-girls-with-iron-deficiency-anemia/?view=fulltext
  15. Use of Pulse Crops in Complementary Feeding of 6-23-Month-Old Infants and Young Children in Taba Kebele, Damot Gale District, Southern Ethiopia; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5349259/
  16. Importance of Dietary Sources of Iron in Infants and Toddlers: Lessons from the FITS Study; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5537847/
  17. Iron, Meat and Health; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257743/
  18. The nutritional quality of an infant food from quinoa and its effect on the plasma level of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) in undernourished children; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11939108/
  19. Effectiveness of iron-fortified infant cereals on hemoglobin levels of children aged 12–24 months: A cross-sectional study from New Delhi, India; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5958597/
  20. Iron Status of Vegetarian Children: A Review of Literature; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28319940/
  21. Iron and zinc content of selected foods in the diet of schoolchildren in Kumi district, east of Uganda: a cross-sectional study; https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-2891-10-81
  22. Efficacy of amaranth grain (Amaranthus cruentus) on anaemia and iron deficiency in Kenyan pre-school children; https://www.researchgate.net/publication/239849889_Efficacy_of_amaranth_grain_Amaranthus_cruentus_on_anaemia_and_iron_deficiency_in_Kenyan_pre-school_children
  23. Iron Bioavailability and Provitamin A from Sweet Potato- and Cereal-Based Complementary Foods; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5224543/
  24. Iron; https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/iron/
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