A well-balanced diet is essential to the health and well-being of your little ones. Food rich in vitamins and minerals helps children develop and grow. One important nutrient is iron.
Iron contributes to the production of hemoglobin, a protein that helps red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body. Without enough iron, children can develop a specific form of anemia, so parents must include iron-rich foods in their little ones' diets.
What Are Foods High in Iron?
You can include a variety of foods in your little one's diet that can contribute to iron intake. Some of the best food choices include:
- Animal proteins (beef and poultry)
- Sweet potato
How Much Iron Does Your Kid Need?
The amount of iron your little one needs depends on their age. For example, a toddler between one and three needs about 7 mg daily, but a child between four and eight needs 10 mg.
If your little one eats a balanced diet, they likely get what they need. Still, you can ensure they get enough iron with Wellements Organic Iron Drops.
When looking for iron-rich recipes, you want to find things that use proteins and vegetables. An excellent option is the Slow Cooker Beef Burrito Recipe with Veggies. The recipe includes carrots, sweet potato, butternut squash, ground beef, and various spices. You can prepare the recipe in 15 minutes and let it cook for seven hours.
You can also choose the make-ahead Spinach Egg Muffins for a quick and easy meal. The recipe makes 12 servings, enough for two mini muffins per person. Not only will your little one benefit from healthy spinach, but they'll also get all the flavor of mild salsa.
Picky Eater Iron-Rich Recipes
Parents may struggle to find iron-rich options for picky eaters. Usually, it is best to stick to only a few ingredients with kids who are too picky.
A perfect recipe for parents with access to an Instant Pot is an American cuisine classic: BBQ chicken. The recipe serves four, and it is straightforward. You place a pound of skinless chicken thighs, frozen or raw, into the instant pot with a 1/2 cup of water. Top the chicken with 1/2 cup of a preferred BBQ sauce. Cook for eight to 10 minutes, depending on whether the chicken is raw or frozen.
Another option for the picky eater in your house is Baked Chicken Meatballs with Sweet Potatoes. For this recipe, you'll need one pound of sweet Italian chicken sausage, one cup of roasted, mashed sweet potato, 1/4 to 1/2 cup of cornmeal or breadcrumbs, and 1/4 cup of grated parmesan.
Set the oven to 375°F, line a baking pan with foil, and spray with a nonstick substance. Mix ingredients in a bowl and form meatballs. Place the balls onto the rack and bake for 22 to 25 minutes.
Vegan & Vegetarian Iron-Rich Recipes
Not all children are meat-eaters. For vegetarians and vegans, tofu is an excellent iron-rich protein source. A simple recipe is Quick and Easy Sesame Tofu. It takes about 30 minutes of prep and only 12 minutes of cooking, and all you need is toasted sesame seed oil and 16 oz of extra firm tofu.
Another tasty vegetarian option is the Big Batch Vegetarian Bean Chili. The recipe contains loads of kid-friendly veggies and powerhouse plant-based protein beans. It takes a little longer to cook, but it's worth it.
Iron is essential to healthy growth and development. Finding foods rich in iron to add to your child's diet helps ensure they get enough minerals. If you're worried your little one isn't getting enough iron, supplement their diet or take them to their pediatrician.