Iron Rich Foods for Toddlers
Submitted by Pregnancy and Baby Care team on May 15, 2012
Though iron is considered a trace element, it is extremely essential for the maintaining good health. Iron rich foods supply bioavailable iron to the body. This iron is then used to produce hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the pigment which gives the red blood cells their color. Hemoglobin is also required to transport oxygen through the body so that the vital organs of the body can get their required oxygen.
Pregnancy And Baby Care Questions
Iron has several other functions in the body such as fighting infection, improving energy and vitality, and formation of red blood cells.
How Can Children Develop Iron Deficiency?
Iron is one of the most common deficiencies in infants, toddlers, and older children. They are more prone to developing iron deficiency because they may not be consuming iron rich foods. Some of the main reasons why toddlers are at a greater risk of developing iron deficiency include:
- Infants are usually fed with milk and formula, which is low in iron content. Some of the other foods that toddlers consume may also have poor iron availability.
- Premature infants are born with low iron reserves. Their bodies are also not able to assimilate iron from the foods they are given. As a result, they develop iron deficiencies.
- Mothers who have poor nutritional status themselves are not able to provide adequate nutrition to their babies during their pregnancy. As a result, babies develop iron deficiencies and these deficiencies keep increasing as they grow.
- Some children grow and develop more rapidly and therefore, have higher nutritional needs. Low birth weight infants, for instance, usually require more iron than others, and a diet which is poor in iron may ultimately lead to iron deficiencies as the children grow.
- Toddlers who have blood disorders may have increased blood loss and subsequently increased iron losses as well.
Iron rich foods for toddlers can help decrease the risk of developing iron deficiencies. Toddlers should not be fed only milk because though milk contains calcium and vitamin D, it does not contain any iron. Iron fortified breads and cereals are ideal for your toddlers because they contain bioavailable iron. You can also include lean meats in your child’s diet as they too have high bioavailability of iron.
In addition to lean meats and cereals, give your toddler fruits and vegetables in each meal. Citrus fruits contain vitamin C which helps the body absorb iron better. Toddlers require about 6 to 7 mg of iron every day.
What Iron Rich Foods to Include in Your Children’s Diet?
Including iron rich foods in your toddler’s diet can really help control the iron deficiency. Here are some vegetarian food rich in irons for toddlers:
- Fortified cereals – both dry and instant cook
- Pumpkin seeds
- Squash seeds
- Blackstrap molasses
- White beans
- Cooked lentils
- Kidney beans
- Prune juice
- Lima beans
Here are some non-vegetarian food rich in irons for toddlers:
- Canned or drained clams
- Organ meats such as liver and giblets
- Chuck beef, sirloin and ground beef
- Canned sardines
- Lamb shoulders
- Canned shrimp
- Duck meat
Great Iron Rich Recipes for Children
You can use iron rich foods to make iron rich meals for your toddler. Look for 5 best iron rich food recipes for toddlers and make one of them every day of the week. Some of the best recipes are as follows:
Open Corn and Spinach Sandwiches: Sauté ½ cup of spinach in vegetable oil and boil a handful of sweet kernel corn. Mix them together and add a pinch of salt and pepper to it. Apply the mixture on two slices of bread and serve them as open sandwiches.
Blended Meats: Place ½ cup of minced chicken in a saucepan and add just enough water to it so that the meat is covered with a light layer of water. Simmer uncovered till the meat is tender. Strain the meat with a strainer and add the seasoning of your choice to it.
Meat Casserole: Heat 1 tsp. of oil in a pan and fry half a cup of minced lamb in it. Slice 125 g of mushrooms, dice 2 carrots and 1 capsicum, and add them to the lamb. Cook for about one hour on low heat. Serve on a bed of boiled rice.
Read more articles from the Toddler Meals Category.