After six months of birth, pediatricians suggest adding solid food to your baby’s diet. It is a really exciting period as before that your little one entirely depends on breastfeeding or formula milk for their nutrition, and now you have to decorate his plate with new flavors. Also, physicians may tell you to include iron-rich foods in your munchkin diet because iron reserves in their body start depleting after six months and cannot be fulfilled just from milk. Also, they prescribed supplements for infants, so they grow healthily. However, it is crucial to confirm the iron supplement dosage for the child from your doctor.
Indeed feeding fortified cereals to your munchkin is a good start as they contain abundant iron as well as other essential nutrients. So, don’t hesitate to give the porridge a variety of fortified cereals to your child. Apart from this, there are several other iron-rich foods that can help maintain adequate iron levels in small kids. Let us discuss them one by one here:
Beans & Lentils
Beans and lentils are good sources of iron and protein for kids. One serving gives your child almost 10% of his daily need for iron. They are an excellent addition to any meal plan, especially if you are following a vegan diet or if you want to give your child a vegetarian meal option. You can serve them with rice or pasta for a complete meal or mix them with other vegetables for a healthy side dish.
Eggs contain more than just protein! Eggs also provide significant amounts of iron which is necessary for the growth and development of the body. The yolk contains more iron than the white, but both should be eaten together to get the maximum benefits from this superfood!
Meat such as beef, chicken, pork, and lamb are all great sources of iron too! Some people may not like eating meat because they think it is too expensive or have ethical concerns about raising animals for consumption, but these are myths! Meat is actually very affordable when compared to other sources of iron.
Spinach, lettuce, broccoli, and kale are all good sources of iron. Just make sure that you don’t overcook them, so they retain their goodness (for example, steaming rather than boiling). Try making a salad with baby spinach leaves, cucumber slices, and tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing.
Raisins, dried apricots, prunes, and figs are good sources of iron. You can add these to your morning cereal or yogurt for breakfast or snack on them throughout the day. If you have trouble chewing on whole fruits, try chopping them into smaller pieces before eating them raw or mixing them into muffin batter for baked goods like muffins or pieces of bread.
Brown rice, wholemeal pasta, and bread give your child a good dose of fiber and iron-rich grains such as oats, quinoa, or millet. These whole-grain foods contain approximately 100 g of iron serving, which is enough for your child’s development.
Oranges & Other Vitamin C Rich Fruits
Iron absorption is increased when consumed with vitamin C-rich foods or supplements. Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron from plant sources such as legumes, whole grains, and spinach. So eating oranges or other citrus fruit simultaneously as these foods can help increase the amount of iron your child gets from them.
Peanut butter is another great source of plant-based iron because it contains both protein and fat — two nutrients that enhance the absorption of nonheme (plant-based) iron. Look for peanut butter that doesn’t contain added sugar and hydrogenated oils (trans fats). Try adding plain, unsweetened peanut butter to smoothies or oatmeal.
Chickpeas are one of the best plant-based iron sources because they’re rich in carbohydrate energy and nonheme (plant-based) iron. It is also called veg meat because of its nutritional value. But make sure to cook peas well before feeding them to the child. They can cause digestion issues if they remain undercooked.
The Bottom Line-:
Most kids consume less than the recommended daily allowance of iron, leading to anemia. Include the above foods in your loved one’s meal plan today and give them an iron alternative after confirming the iron supplement dosage for the child from the physician.