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.
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:
- Chicken Liver.
- Iron Fortified Formula Milk or Iron-Containing Cans Milk.
- Vegetables with Dark Green Leaves.
- Dry Fruits.
- Pulses and Legumes.
- Red Meat.
- Iron-rich cereals, bread or pasta.
- Oily Fish or Sea Foods.
- Seeds of Amaranth or Rajgira.
- Sweet potato.
- Dark Chocolate.
1. 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)
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)
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)
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.
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)
6. 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 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)
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.
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.
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)
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.
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)
13. Oily Fish or Sea Foods.
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.
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)
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.
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)
18. Sweet Potato.
It is iron rich food and has a mineral fiber that relieves constipation.(23)
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 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 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 supplements are easy to give to the children rather than swallowing pills.
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.
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.
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.
Iron powder supplements can be easily added to the food such as oatmeal and yogurt. It is best for young school going children.
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.
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