Looking for iron rich foods for babies?
Are you worried that your child isn’t getting enough iron?
Don’t worry, I have a big list for you!
I remember showing the blood test reports of my daughter to the pediatrician. Anshika had an infection due to which she had green poop, consistent fever and congestion. The ped gave us medicines and indicated she should also have an iron supplement as her haemoglobin levels seemed low. I had asked him in detail the iron rich foods that can be given to her. Today’s post is about the 31 iron rich foods for babies, toddlers and kids .
An exclusive breastfed baby gets enough iron required for his body from breast milk. But post 6 months, foods in the form of liquids, purees and semi solids have to be introduced as breast milk alone can’t provide the enough nutrients, especially iron.
Iron is responsible for the production of red blood cells, in turn helping in the transportation of oxygen throughout the body. It provides hemoglobin which is the protein found in red blood cells.
Iron deficiency or low hemoglobin can lead to growth deficiencies and behavioral issues in babies and kids.
Let us look at how much Iron a child requires according to his/her age:
- Babies in the age range of 0-6 months need 0.27 mg/day
- Children who are in the age bracket of 7-12 months need 11 mg / day.
- Toddlers between 1-3 years require 7 mg/day.
- Kids who are 4-8 years old need 10 mg/day and so on.
Giving iron supplements to your child
I have observed that most parents, upon realising that their kids’ haemoglobin levels are low, resort to giving iron supplements.
I am not saying that it is wrong, but giving iron supplements without your doctor telling you to do so, can have adverse effects. Only a doctor can tell you whether or not your child requires iron supplements. If he/she does require it, then do follow the amount as specified and for the time specified.
The best way to ensure that your child receives the necessary amount of Iron is through food. If, due to some reason it is happening, then supplements are fine. Excess of supplements/ giving your child supplements without a doctor’s prescription can cause the iron to get deposited in the body.
Below given are the iron rich foods that can be made a part of baby’s diet above 6 months.
Please note foods like soya bean, ground nuts etc should be given only after 1 year as it cause allergy in babies.
35 Iron Rich Foods for Babies, Toddlers and Kids:
Here are the 35 foods rich in iron for babies, toddlers and kids.
#1. METHI / FENUGREEK LEAVES
Methi / fenugreek leaves / uluva is enriched with iron and can be introduced in the form of methi parathas, methi dal etc. I think it’s easily available in grocery shops too.
Broccoli with tomato helps to release the iron content in the broccoli. You can also give broccoli in the form of broccoli-tomato soup, broccoli cheese mash etc.
If your baby is interested in finger foods, broccoli stir fry is an apt choice.
#3. PALAK / SPINACH / KIRAI
I can say Palak / Spinach is the easily available form of iron. Spinach can also be provided to babies in the form of spinach soup, spinach dal, curries etc.
Amaranth is another leafy vegetable which can be an excellent source of iron.
I have seen this in grocery stores in Mumbai, but have never used it. It’s said to be an excellent source of iron which can be provided in the form of soups or a garnish/tadka in curries
#6. MINT / PUDINA
Mint / pudina can be used to make chutneys and provided along with rotis, sandwiches etc.
#7. RAJGIRA (AMARANTH SEEDS)
An excellent source of the adequate iron required for a human body. Rajgira ladoos are an excellent way of providing iron to your babies and toddlers
#8. SPRING ONION
In the form of soups / stir fries or as garnish in rice
#9. RADISH LEAVES
The leaves of radish shouldn’t be discarded and I have eaten curries with it which tastes awesome. It’s a sure shot way for intake of iron.
#10. MUSTARD LEAVES
Mustard leaves famous for the sarson ka saag dish is enriched with iron. It can also be given in the form of soups.
#11. COWPEAS LEAVES / COWPEAS
Cowpeas/leaves can be cooked in the form of curries / stir fries which are an excellent source of iron
Can be provided in the form of curries, mashes etc.
#13. CORIANDER LEAVES
Can be used in the form of chutney, gravies for chicken, fish, vegetables etc.
#14. MORINGA LEAVES
Moringa or drum stick leaves in the form of curries or stir fries or soup are excellent sources of iron. You can read the recipe of Moringa leaves soup.
Liver of chicken can be cooked and given to toddlers. Excellent in iron, it helps to increase the hemoglobin levels. You can use pepper powder instead of the chilli powder to reduce the spice levels.
An excellent source of iron, fish can be steamed, fried or curried as required.
Eggs are an easy way to give iron to babies on an everyday basis. Read the 8 egg recipes for babies and toddlers.
#18. UNPOLISHED RICE / BROWN RICE
Give brown rice or the unpolished rice to babies and kids in the form of kanji/ gruel
Can be used to make rotis or ladoos.
To be provided in the form of porridges, rotis, dosas, idlis etc
#21. CHAWLI/LONG BEANS
Best served in the form of curries or dry form.
Fresh / Frozen peas can be served in the form of stir fries, curries, pulav etc.
#23. SOYA BEAN
Soya bean can be introduced in the form of curries. You can mix soya flour with wheat flour to make nutritious rotis. Make sure your baby is above 1 year to give soya as it can cause allergy.
Any lentils like masoor dal, split pea, chana dal all are rich in iron
#25. DRY FRUITS
A trail mix or a handful of dry fruits(almonds, raisins,dates,figs, walnuts etc) can provide the adequate iron required for a baby. You can also use it powdered to be mixed in the milk for babies. Another way is to make trail mix by adding some sunflower seeds to this. (Btw, sunflower seeds are good sources of Iron too!)
#26. GROUND NUTS
Excellent source of iron which is easily available
#27. ROASTED CHANA
Roasted Chana in the form of evening snacks is an excellent option for toddlers and kids for intake of required iron
#28. RICE FLAKES
Rice flakes or poha or flattened rice can impart the required amount of iron in your baby’s diet
Jaggery can replace sugar in your baby’s porridge or kheer. This can help in fortifying your baby’s food with a natural source of iron.
Beetroot is always known for its unique property of increasing blood supply. You can provide beetroot in the form of beetroot soups or beetroot rice.
Yes Oats is an ideal source of giving iron to your baby in the form of porridges, kheer etc.
#32. SESAME SEEDS
You knew that the oil was good, but did you know that sesame seeds were good too? A good reason to be adding a til ka laddoo to your child’s menu more frequently.
Tofu is a good source of iron and you can give this stir fried or batter fried.
#34. SWEET POTATO
I am yet to see a kid who doesn’t like potatoes. And sweet potatoes just sweetens the deal! Apart from curries and mashes, you can even roast it to make a tasty snack for your kids.
#35. DARK CHOCOLATE
I saved the best (or is it) for the last. You can give dark chocolate occasionally or add it to desserts to kids above 2.
Some of the iron rich Indian foods: Thepla, Besan Ladoo, Peanut Ladoo, Beet-carrot tomato soup, multigrain and vegetable parathas and cooked sprouted legumes.
The relationship between Iron and Vitamin C
Before we get to the topic of giving iron rich food items, you have to know about one thing – the relationship between Iron and Vitamin C.
Vitamin C can help to increase the absorption of Iron by the body.
So if you feel that despite giving an iron rich diet, your child still is lacking in Iron levels, then try adding Vitamin C to his meal.
You can do that by giving citrus fruits, apples, broccoli, tomatoes etc.
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