Every parent wants his/her child to have a well-balanced and healthy diet. However, as far as children go, healthy food in their diet is easier said than done. One of the minerals children tend to miss out on is iron whose deficiency can cause anemia. Iron is better absorbed from an animal source which is why vegans and vegetarians need to ensure sufficient quantities of iron in their diet. Given below are some food items rich in iron:
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Spinach and other leafy vegetables
Green, leafy vegetables aren’t always on their favorite-food-ever chart but they are rich in iron. You cannot help how it tastes but you can always try to reinvent it and make it friendly for your child’s taste buds. You can make soups or boil them and use them to make fritters. On an average, a cup of spinach has about 3.5 mg of iron in it.
Roasted pumpkin seeds
Roasted pumpkin seeds don’t seem like much of a food option but they are full of iron. They can be eaten in between meals and they can be mixed with your child’s cereal to add an extra crunch to it. It’s very famous in the Middle-East and parts of Asia. Just remember to remove the shell covering the seed to avoid a bad stomach ache. Half a cup of roasted seeds contain approximately 8.5 mg of iron.
This is also a source for getting the daily iron requirements of the body but as compared to the others, oatmeal is not that high in protein. A cup of cooked oatmeal contains 1.6 mg of iron in it which is quite low. A child needs iron in bigger quantities to meet his daily nutrient requirements.
A lot of kids actually enjoy eating kidney beans and them being a source of iron is an added advantage. Kids tend to be very picky about their food and more often than not, they prefer to completely boycott food items like broccoli that have any kind of nutritional value. In such situations, giving children beans with toast or just simple cooked kidney beans with vegetables is a good option.
Cornflakes are enjoyed by the children and elderly alike. Along with being one of the best loved breakfast cereals, it is also one of the healthiest. Children love the sweet taste and crunchiness of cornflakes and it serves as a hassle free breakfast option for mothers. Now, what the children do not know is the high iron content in Kellogg’s and the nutritional value it has. So, if you know your child enjoys this particular cereal (iron content is not the same for all cereals), let him have it in larger quantities if he wishes to.
Here is a fruit that is delicious, refreshing and full of iron. That’s correct. Children generally like to eat watermelon as a whole fruit but if your child doesn’t, then you should know that watermelons are also available as smoothies, milkshakes and ice creams amongst other treats so you can always treat them to this fruit without making it sound very healthy (children have a tendency to dislike anything that is healthy).
Potatoes cooked with skin
Serving baked potatoes or potatoes cooked any other way with the skin is a great way to get some iron into their systems. Since children don’t understand the importance of having sufficient iron in their diet, as parents we have to disguise healthy food in order for them to like it and enjoy eating it. Children enjoy mashed potatoes so you can always boil the potatoes with the skin intact and then use it to make mashed potatoes or even hash browns.
Liver is high in iron content and children like it primarily because it is not a vegetable. You can get liver from the market. Duck and pork liver are the highest in their iron content. You can make liver pie, a stew or even chop it to make mince meat. 3 ounces of liver can have as much as 25 mg of iron in it.
Dark meat like turkey
Meat of any kind has high quantities of iron in it which is why vegetarians have a hard time getting a sufficient amount of it in their daily diet. Dark meats have more iron content in them as compared to white meats which is why it is a better supplier of dietary iron. Encourage your child to eat meats like turkey which has more iron in it than chicken.
Here is a source of iron your child is going to love. Research is showing more and more benefits of chocolate and their high iron content is one of the many benefits. Even though sweetened chocolate has some iron in it, dark chocolate and pure cocoa are the best sources of iron. It might be difficult for your child to enjoy bitter chocolate so you can try baking cakes using pure cocoa and dark chocolate to give healthy eating a completely new meaning.