The CDC has estimated that as many as one in six teenage girls may have iron levels in their body that are low enough to affect their mental growth. For toddlers, those numbers could be one in fourteen. It is easy enough to prevent your child from developing anemia, by providing them with foods high in iron. Although you can supplement iron to make sure your children get enough, they should also eat a well-balanced diet including foods that are naturally rich in iron.
There are quite a few different types of foods for children and toddlers that are rich in iron. Getting your kids to eat these foods may be easier said than done, however. Here are some tasty and iron rich foods that hopefully won’t be left on the plate:
Dried fruits like prunes, apricots, dates and raisins
Nuts or Tofu
Broccoli, asparagus, brussel sprouts and Swiss chard
Lentils, soy beans, pinto beans, black beans, lima beans, kidney beans
Poultry like turkey and chicken
Seafood, including tuna, salmon and shrimp
Lean red meats like lamb, pork and beef
Make sure to include plenty of animal meat, as this iron is more readily absorbed by the body than the iron found in plants.
There are also multiple types of kids’ foods high in iron:
Many cereals are now enriched with iron. These may also include too much sugar though, so check the label.
Some breads and pasta are fortified with iron, too. Check the labels to find the percentage of your daily allowance that is found in these foods. Remember, too, that most daily labels are made for adults, not children.
Symptoms of iron deficiency in children can include headache and fatigue, decreased athletic performance and decreased mental and memory function.
Foods high in iron can be very helpful in providing your children with the proper amounts of iron to satisfy their nutritional needs. If your physician prescribes an iron supplement, be VERY careful how much your child takes – children can get iron overdose very easily.
Here are some foods that offer your children .5 to 1.5 milligrams of iron:
Strawberries, 1 cup
Raspberries, 1 cup
Dried apricots, 5 halves
Whole wheat bread, 1 slice
Brussels sprouts, 1/2 cup cooked
Broccoli, 1/2 cup
Tomato juice, 6 ounces
Green peas, 1/2 cup
Chicken, 3 ounces
Here are some foods that provide 1.6 to 3 milligrams of iron for your child:
Raisins, 1/2 cup
Oatmeal, 1 cup cooked
Navy beans, 1/2 cup cooked
Lima beans, 1/2 cup cooked
Kidney beans, 1/2 cup cooked
Baked potato with skin
Lean hamburger, 3 ounces
Roast beef, 3 ounces
Here are some other foods high in iron for your child:
Unrefined sugars, such as molasses
Soy bean flour
Greens, all kinds
Lean beef, veal, pork or lamb