How to boost your kid’s iron intake?

Is your little one getting easily tired or acting lazy? Do you sense that your child is suddenly showing disinterest in playing or get involved in physical activities? It may be a sign of lack of proper nutrition- mainly because of iron deficiency. The mineral responsible to boost our energy levels optimally, it is this dash of iron to your kid’s diet that will take care of his fatigue. Iron increases the number of red blood cells, upsurges oxygen in the body and will help your energizer-bunny remain super active!

Here are a few foods that you can give to your kiddo and increase the overall iron intake:

1. Leafy Greens

The dark leafy greens are a must for your children as they are a rich source of iron, vitamins and fiber.

Some greens like spinach and turnip greens need to be boiled first so that iron is absorbed better. Meanwhile, other vegetables like Beet green, Kale, Chard, etc. are better consumed raw.

Salads and burger patties are great ways to sneak the greens into your kid’s plate.

green veggies for kids- Easy tips by ZenParent

Nutrition experts recommend the below dosage of greens,

  • Teens: 1.5 to 2 cups
  • 4-8 year olds: 1 cup
  • 2-3 year olds: Half cup

2. Red meat

Those who eat non-eat, beef and lamb are great providers of iron. Just as liver, red meat is a good source of iron. Soups, casseroles, pies, stews and sandwiches with red meat are staple kiddie favorites. If you want to go the tikka way, make sure you shallow-fry it, as the key for a healthy recipe is less oil and less spices.

red meat good for kids- Easy tips by ZenParent

3. Beans and Pulses 

Soybeans, kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils are popular protein sources and they have plenty of iron to offer as well. One cup of chickpeas has 5 mg of iron while one cup of soybeans has 8mg.

From the iconic Indian Daals to Choles and Rajmas, you can try out a number of lip-smacking delicacies with various pulses. You can also churn out several delish dishes with beans like Crunchy Bean Salads or Bean Soups. Get more creative and mix and match the beans with shrimps or prawns or dry fruits to double up the delight.

Good news for vegetarians: Beans and pulses have as much iron as red meat.

pulses are good for children- Easy tips by ZenParent

4. Seeds

Have you ever tasted roasted salty pumpkin seeds? They are delightfully crunchy and yummy! Chances are your kid will get hooked to the taste. Pumpkin seeds are the best known iron snack! Just a handful of pumpkin seeds contains about 1milligram of iron. That’s about 5% of the recommended daily value! Pack a cup of roasted seeds for your kid and there is your power snack on the go.

Other seeds like flax, squash and sesame also are good sources of iron.

As a part of muffin batter or topping, either way you can serve the seeds in a tasty way.

why seeds are healthy for kids- Easy tips by ZenParent

5. Nuts & Dried Fruits

Almonds or cashews, hazelnuts or peanuts, pick 10 of these dry fruits every day for a regulated iron boost. Not only does it fulfill your kid’s iron requirement but it also adds nutrition in umpteen other ways including the calcium and protein increase in the body that aids overall growth in kids.

Trade the candy box for a driedfruit snack. Make assorted dried fruit balls, adding other fruits like dates, raisins, peaches, prunes, figs, apricots, currants. Oh so yum!

Added bonus: Dates and raisins strengthen your kid’s teeth and slow down tooth decay.

dry fruits are good for kids- Easy tips by ZenParent

6.Dark Chocolate

Tired of telling your kid to stop eating chocolates? Don’t!

Offer dark chocolates instead. Filled with vitamins, iron and other minerals, this may not be a bad choice after all. But keep a check on the quantity at the same time.

A cup of hot cocoa also can have the same effect. Tasty and healthy!

dark choc yum and healthy for kids- Easy tips by ZenParent

7. Fortified cereals

Start your kid’s day with a bowl of milk and fortified cereal. You can refer the nutritional label on the pack to get an idea of amount of iron per serving.

Having cereal with milk regularly will also increase your kid’s milk intake.

healthy cereals for kids- Easy tips by ZenParent

8. Tofu

Another substitute for vegetarians- tofu is a rich source of amino acids and minerals including iron. Regular intake of tofu lowers fat cholesterol levels.

Apart from being an excellent source of nutrients, soft tofu contains micro chemicals that build immunity.

healthy tofu yum for kids- Easy tips by ZenParent

 Some useful tips for iron absorption:

For your kid to benefit from iron rich foods, you have to supplement them with the right options. Because iron has to be absorbed by the body for it to be effective.

  • Foods with Vitamin C help the body in dietary iron absorption (Orange juice, strawberries, tomatoes)
  • Foods with Calcium hinder iron absorption. So avoid taking calcium tablets/mik and foods rich in iron at the same time
  • Coffee and tea are best avoided for children

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