Iron rich foods for 10 month baby

Iron-Rich Foods for Toddlers: 10 to Try

Iron is an essential nutrient that the body uses to produce hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that helps your blood carry oxygen to all the other cells in the body.

Iron is essential for:

  • supplying the body with oxygen
  • muscle metabolism
  • maintaining connective tissue
  • physical growth
  • nerve development
  • cell functioning
  • producing some hormones

Breast-fed babies usually get enough iron from their mother’s milk, while infants fed with formula should receive iron-fortified formula.

Iron-deficiency anemia

When your toddler switches to eating regular foods, they might not get enough iron. Rest assured, this isn’t common in the United States; only 8 percent of toddlers have iron deficiency.

However, low iron levels can lead to anemia, where the number of red blood cells in your body are too low, potentially causing problems with oxygen getting to key organs.

If your child has low iron levels, you may notice that they:

  • are pale
  • appear irritable
  • don’t want to eat

Longer term, it can lead to:

  • slower growth
  • delayed motor skill development
  • a higher number of infections, as iron supports the immune system

Symptoms may not appear at first, but in time, your child may experience:

  • fatigue
  • pale skin
  • irritability
  • fast or irregular heartbeat
  • decreased appetite
  • slow weight gain
  • dizziness
  • headaches
  • lightheadedness
  • difficulty concentrating

Some studies have found that children who drank tea were more likely to have iron-deficiency anemia. One reason for this may be that tannin, found in tea, decreases the body’s ability to absorb iron. Another is that children may be too full to eat after drinking tea.

Related: 10 signs and symptoms of iron deficiency

Iron is essential for a rapidly growing toddler. That’s why a lot of cereals and other toddler foods are fortified with iron.

The recommended daily requirements for iron vary by age.

  • age 0–6 months: 0.27 milligrams (mg) per day
  • age 6–12 months: 11 mg per day
  • ages 1–3 years: 7 mg per day
  • ages 4–8 years: 10 mg per day

Infants born preterm or with a low birth weight usually need more iron than those born with a healthy weight.

Heme vs. nonheme iron

Dietary iron has two main forms: heme and nonheme. Plants contain nonheme iron. Meats and seafood contain both heme and nonheme iron.

The body doesn’t absorb nonheme iron as easily as heme iron. This is true for both toddlers and adults. If your child eats a vegetarian or mostly vegetarian diet, aim for twice as much iron as the recommended amount.

The body absorbs iron better when you consume it with a source of vitamin C. To enable the body to absorb more iron, serve iron-rich foods alongside foods rich in vitamin C.

Examples of foods high in vitamin C include:

  • orange juice and oranges
  • grapefruit
  • kiwifruit
  • broccoli
  • tomatoes
  • strawberries
  • bell peppers
  • papaya
  • cantaloupe
  • sweet potatoes

Feeding your toddler iron-rich foods alongside foods high in vitamin C can help decrease their risk of developing iron deficiency.

1. Lean meats

Meat and poultry contain large amounts of heme iron, which is easy for the body to digest. Beef, organ meats, and liver in particular have a lot of iron. A 3-ounce serving of beef liver, for example, contains 5 mg of iron.

Dark chicken and turkey meat are also rich sources.

Make your toddler a stew or casserole with soft, well-cooked lean meat. Make sure to remove the fatty part of the meat since there is very little iron in the fatty parts. Spaghetti with meat and tomato sauce is another iron-friendly option.

Related: Top lean proteins you should eat


Fortified cereals

Fortified cereals and oatmeal are a good way to ensure your toddler gets enough iron.

A serving of iron-fortified cereals typically has 100 percent of the daily value for iron in just one serving. The exact amount will vary, so be sure to check the label. Dry cereals, like Cheerios, are usually fortified as well.

One cup of plain, uncooked, rolled oats contains around 3.5 mg of iron.

You can top your toddler’s iron-fortified breakfast cereal or oatmeal with some blueberries or strawberries for added vitamin C.

Note that while fortified cereals and juices can provide extra iron, they’re often high in sugar, too.

3. Beans

If you are aiming for a vegetarian diet or your child isn’t a fan of meat, beans are a great compromise. Soybeans, lima beans, kidney beans, lentils, and other beans and pulses contain iron, fiber, and other essential vitamins and minerals.

For example:

  • a half cup of white beans has 4 mg of iron
  • a half cup of lentils has 3 mg of iron
  • a half cup of red kidney beans has 2 mg of iron

Mash some cooked lentils or make a soup or mild chili. Try mashing in some enriched rice with your beans for a complete protein and high-iron meal.

You can also try serving your toddler some low sugar baked beans with a piece of whole wheat bread for a high iron lunch. A side of mashed sweet potatoes adds vitamin C to the dish.

Chickpeas, known to some as garbanzo beans, are another type of bean high in iron and a great snack for toddlers (and adults!). You can blend the chickpeas to make your own iron-rich hummus.

Be aware that some people have a chickpea allergy. If you’re not sure about giving your child chickpeas, ask your doctor first.

4. Spinach

Dark green leafy vegetables like kale, broccoli, and spinach are among your best vegetable options for iron.

A half cup of boiled, drained spinach contains about 3 mg of iron.

Try serving your toddler finely chopped, steamed spinach or add chopped spinach or other greens to their:

  • mac and cheese
  • scrambled eggs
  • smoothies

Related: Which is better, spinach or kale?


Raisins and other dried fruit

Kids love to snack on raisins. The good news is that the dried fruit can give your toddler a boost in iron, while also helping prevent constipation. A quarter cup of raisins has about 1 mg of iron.

Related: Are dried fruits good or bad?

6. Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein, fiber, healthy fats, and minerals, including iron. A quarter cup of pumpkin seeds contains 2.5 mg of iron.

Try making a trail mix with raisins, prunes, dried apricots, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds.

Keep in mind that raisins and seeds may be choking hazards for very young children. Mash or cut these foods into small pieces and keep watch on your toddler while they munch on them.

Related: Super healthy seeds you should eat

7. Eggs

Eggs are a good source of essential protein, vitamins, and minerals, including iron. One hard-boiled egg contains 1 mg of iron.

For years, people tried to limit their egg consumption because eggs also contain cholesterol, which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Current research suggests, however, that eggs don’t increase the risk of CVD, after all.

Toddlers can eat eggs in many ways, such as:

  • soft boiled with toast sticks
  • hard boiled, whole or mashed
  • scrambled
  • as an omelet
  • in rice and noodle dishes

You can add chopped spinach and other iron-rich foods to omelets and scrambled eggs. Try different ways to see how your toddler likes them best.

Always make sure the egg is fresh and well cooked. If you can, use fresh, locally sourced organic, free-range eggs.

Related: Top 10 health benefits of eggs

8. Green peas

Green peas contain protein, fiber, iron, and other nutrients. Many toddlers love them, they’re easy to prepare, and they pair well with many dishes.

A half cup of green peas provides 1 mg of iron.

You can boil peas and serve them as a side, mash them with root vegetables for infants, or add them to soups, stews, and savory rice.

Keep a bag of peas in the freezer or get fresh peas in the pod in season. Ask your toddler to help you shell the fresh peas.

Peas may pose a choking hazard for young children, so consider mashing them for infants.

Related: Why green peas are healthy and nutritious

9. Tuna

Canned light tuna is a low calorie and low fat addition to your child’s diet that also supplies iron and other important nutrients like protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

Three ounces of light tuna, canned in water, contains 1 mg of iron.

Combine shredded tuna with pureed vegetables to boost your toddler’s iron intake, but hold off if seafood allergies run in your family.

Related: Mercury in tuna. How to eat it safely

10. Tofu

Tofu is a mild and versatile plant-based food that provides complete protein, calcium, iron, and other nutrients. It can provide some of the essential nutrients your toddler needs if they don’t eat meat.

A half cup of tofu contains 3 mg of iron.

Tofu comes in different forms. Firm tofu you can chop and add to salads or stir fries, bake or use to make nuggets. Silken tofu has a softer texture. You can mix it with salad dressings, add it to smoothies, or put fruit with it for a dessert.

There have been concerns about whether isoflavones, an ingredient in tofu, could be harmful for hormone balance. Experts currently believe this is “unlikely.”

Related: Using tofu and how to prepare it safely

According to the National Institutes of Health, around 12 percent of infants in their first year, and around 8 percent of toddlers have low iron levels.

It is always best for your child to get their nutrients from food, but if your doctor thinks your child may have iron-deficiency anemia, they may prescribe iron supplements.

Follow the instructions your doctor gives you and keep all supplements out of the reach of children. Consuming too much iron can lead to serious health problems.

Never give your child iron supplements without first consulting a doctor. Most children don’t need supplemental iron.

Iron Rich Foods for Babies, Toddlers and Kids

Home » Recipes by Age » 6-9 Months » Iron Rich Foods for Babies, Toddlers and Kids

In this complete guide to iron-rich foods, we will go over everything you need to know about what iron is, how much baby, toddler, and kids need in their diets, lists of the best iron-rich foods, plus over 50 easy iron-rich recipes that contain both animal and plant-based iron sources.

Medically reviewed and co-written by Jamie Johnson, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)

Iron Rich Foods for Baby

Confused about what iron is and why your child needs it? Then you have come to the right place!

Iron is essential for growing babies, toddlers, and kids, as it helps with brain development. It’s also essential for producing red blood cells, which sends oxygen from our lungs to different parts of the body. While babies are born with enough iron stores to last them until 6 months of age, it is important to make sure you are providing enough iron in their diets after their iron reserves are depleted.

In this complete guide to iron, we will go over everything you need to know about what iron is, how much baby, toddler, and kids need in their diets, lists of the best iron-rich foods, plus over 50 easy iron-rich recipes that contain both animal and plant-based iron sources.

Check it out! Looking for even more great recipes for your little one, then be sure to check out my best-selling cookbook for even more information and recipes.

Iron Rich Foods Video

Watch to see what iron-rich foods are best for your baby or toddler.

Why is Iron Important?

Iron plays a role in many different functions in our body. Most notably, it is important in producing red blood cells, which carry oxygen from our lungs to different parts of the body. Iron helps support the immune system and helps regulate body temperature. It’s also needed for brain development and maintaining healthy hair, skin, and nails, and making hormones. 

What is Iron Deficiency?

Iron deficiency anemia happens when there is not enough iron in the body to properly make red blood cells. This can affect brain growth and development in children, which can lead to learning and behavioral problems. Some side effects of iron deficiency anemia are fatigue, weakness, irritability, pale skin, fast heartbeat, cold hands and feet, more frequent infections, brittle nails, headaches, poor appetite, or cravings for non-food items like ice or dirt.  

Babies who drink cow’s milk before the age of 1 (which is not recommended) and toddlers who drink too much cow’s milk are at risk of developing iron-deficiency anemia because it can interfere with iron absorption. Ensure your toddler is not drinking more than 16-24 ounces a day of cow’s milk. 

  • Pale skin
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Slowed growth and development
  • Poor appetite or craving non-food items (like ice or dirt)
  • Brittle nails

Most infants are usually screened for iron-deficiency anemia by 12 months of age, but if these symptoms sound like they are describing your baby, please contact your pediatrician.

Does my Baby or Toddler need an Iron Supplement?

Babies usually have enough iron stores to get them through their first four-six months. If your baby is breastfed, it is important to give baby iron-rich foods when they are ready to start solids or give a supplement. This is because breast milk lacks iron. On the other hand, most infant formulas are fortified with iron, so this is not as much of a concern for these babies. In many cases, a diet full of iron-rich foods can raise iron levels to where they need to be. But your baby may need an iron supplement if her iron is low enough to warrant one, and your pediatrician feels that diet alone may not be enough to raise it. Your pediatrician may also recommend a supplement if your baby is premature, has a low birth weight or has a health condition that affects iron absorption.

How Much Iron Does my Baby or Child Need?

Infants 0-6 Months: need .27 mg a day, which is usually met through breastfeeding or iron-fortified infant formula. After six months, natural iron stores are depleted and iron needs increase due to rapid growth of your child. 

Infants 7-12 Months: need 11 mg a day, which can be met with complementing breast milk or formula with iron-rich foods or an iron supplement.

Best Iron Rich Foods for Babies

Fortunately, there are a ton of great iron-rich foods that are great for your baby as a puree or as a finger food if you are doing baby-led weaning.

  • Beef, Pork, Lamb: ground, pureed, served on the bone for baby-led weaning or made into meatballs
  • Dark Greens: great in a puree, smoothie or egg muffins
  • Lentils: can be added to any puree, or gently mashed and handed to baby as a finger food
  • Eggs: pureed, mashed, hardboiled, or scrambled
  • Chicken, Turkey: pureed and added to favorite puree, chopped or in strips for blw
  • Quinoa: great as baby cereal, or made into a mini muffin
  • Beans, Lentils and Tofu: great option to add into a puree or gently mashed and handed to baby
  • Broccoli: can be pureed or offered as a finger food
  • Sweet Potatoes: can be pureed or offered as a finger food
  • Oats: can make your own oatmeal or use instant oatmeal baby cereal
  • Fortified Baby Cereal: easy store-bought option

Note: heme iron, most concentrated in animal sources, will be better absorbed by the body, as opposed to nonheme iron, which is mostly found in plant sources. If you do not follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, try to serve a mix of animal and plant sources of iron to your baby. 

Best Iron Rich Recipes for Babies
  • Beef + Sweet Potato Baby Food Puree with Thyme
  • Apple Kale Baby Food Puree
  • The Best Sweet Potato Baby Food Puree
  • Basic Beef Baby Food Puree
  • Chicken, Squash + Cauliflower Baby Food
  • Mango Kale Baby Food Puree with Ginger
  • Spinach Apple Baby Puree
  • Baby’s First Spinach Smoothie
  • Apple, Spinach + Broccoli Baby Food Puree
  • Eggs for Babies – 10 Easy Recipes
  • Spinach Avocado Oatmeal Breakfast Cereal for Baby
  • Oats, Spinach + Avocado Baby Food Puree
  • The Best Broccoli Baby Food
  • Sweet Potato for Baby – 6 Delicious Ways
  • Spiced Sweet Potato Mini Muffins
  • Strawberry Quinoa Breakfast Cereal
  • Broccoli, Apple + White Beans for Baby
  • Apple, Green Beans and Broccoli Baby Food Puree
  • Banana, Tofu + Pear Baby Food Puree
  • Easy Scrambled Eggs
  • Basic Chicken Baby Food Recipe
  • Homemade Quinoa Baby Cereal
  • Apple, Carrot + Sweet Potato Baby Food Puree
  • Grinch Mini Muffins
  • Sweet Potato, Beets + White Beans Baby Food Puree
  • 4 Breakfast Egg Muffins

Best Iron Rich Recipes for Baby-Led Weaning
  • Kale Pesto Chicken Quesadilla
  • Spinach Basil Pesto
  • Freezer-Friendly Spinach Waffles
  • Easy Blender Spinach Pancakes
  • Grinch Mini Muffins
  • Baby’s First Chicken Noodle Soup
  • Eggs for Babies – 10 Easy Recipes
  • Baby’s First Spinach Smoothie
  • Broccoli, Apple + White Beans for Baby
  • Easy Scrambled Eggs
  • Chicken, Squash + Cauliflower Baby Food
  • Sweet Potato Pancakes
  • Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa Bites
  • Monster Frozen Yogurt Bark
  • Sweet Potato Wedges
  • Chicken Parmesan Meatballs
  • 4 Breakfast Egg Muffins
  • Avocado Egg Toast
  • Broccoli Egg Cups
  • Mexican Sweet Potato Boats
  • Roasted Broccoli Finger Food
  • Mild Curry Chicken & Veggies
  • Veggie-Loaded Hummus
  • Sweet Potato for Baby – 6 Delicious Ways
  • Spiced Sweet Potato Mini Muffins
  • Easy Cheesy Garlic Broccoli Pasta
  • Baked Seasoned Chicken Tenders
  • Baked Seasoned Tofu Nuggets

How Much Iron does my Toddler or Child Need?

Children ages 1-3 need 7 mg a day
Children ages 4-8 need 10 mg a day
Children ages 9-13 need 8 mg a day

For reference, here are some of the top foods my kids eat and how much iron they have:

  • Peanut Butter: 0. 6 mg
  • Cereal (iron-fortified): 3.4 mg
  • Chicken: 1.8 mg
  • Eggs: 0.6 mg
  • Spinach Smoothie: 2.7 mg

Thankfully there are plenty of good sources of iron in easy-to-find and low-cost foods that can be found at most grocery stores. And chances are you are probably already serving some iron-rich foods to your child. An easy way to make sure they are getting enough iron is to aim for them to eat 2-3 servings a day of any of the foods listed below.

While that may seem like a lot, remember that toddler and child portions are generally smaller than you would think, and it may be possible they are already eating the recommended amount.

Serving Sizes for Toddlers and Kids

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, these are the recommended serving size for a child between:

1 and 3 years of age

  • Grains: 1/4 – 1/2 slice of bread, 1/4 cup of cereal, pasta or rice
  • Vegetables: 1 tbsp for each year of age
  • Fruit: 1/4 cup canned or 1/2 piece of fresh
  • Dairy: 1/2 cup of milk, 1/2 oz cheese, or 1/3 cup of yogurt
  • Protein: 1 oz (equal to two 1-inch cubes of solid meat or 2 tbsp of ground)
  • Eggs: 1/2 any size, yolk and white
  • Beans: 2 tbsp

4 and 6 years of age

  • Grains: 1/2 slice of bread, 1/3 cup of pasta or rice, 1/2 dry cereal
  • Vegetables: 1/4 cup cooked or 1/2 cup salad
  • Fruit: 1/3 cup canned or 1/2 piece of fresh
  • Dairy: 1/2 cup of milk, 1oz cheese, or 1/2 cup of yogurt
  • Protein: 1oz (equal to two 1-inch cubes of solid meat or 2 tbsp of ground)
  • Eggs: 1 egg any size, yolk and white
  • Beans: 1/3 cup cooked

7 and 10 years of age

  • Grains: 1 slice of bread, 1/2 cup of pasta or rice, 1 cup dry cereal
  • Vegetables: 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup salad
  • Fruit: 1/3 cup canned or 1 piece of fresh
  • Dairy: 1 cup of milk, 1oz cheese or 3/4 cup of yogurt
  • Protein: 2-3oz of meat
  • Eggs: 1 or 2 eggs
  • Beans: 1/3 cup cooked

Best Iron Rich Foods for Toddlers and Kids
  • Beef, Pork, Lamb
  • Dried Fruit: apricots, raisins, prunes, dates, etc
  • Dark Greens: spinach, kale, collard green, etc
  • Lentils
  • Eggs
  • Chicken, Turkey
  • Quinoa
  • Beans, Lentils and Tofu
  • Broccoli
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Peanut Butter
  • Fish and Shellfish
  • Iron-Fortified Grains: such as cereals, bread or tortillas

Best Iron-Rich Recipes for Toddler + Kids
  • Kale Pesto Chicken Quesadilla
  • Freezer-Friendly Spinach Waffles
  • Baby’s First Chicken Noodle Soup
  • Kale + Spinach with Apple Quesadilla
  • Spinach Basil Pesto
  • Eggs for Babies – 10 Easy Recipes
  • Green Tropical Smoothie Popsicles
  • Easy Blender Spinach Pancakes
  • Easy Scrambled Eggs
  • Sweet Potato Pancakes
  • Mexican Sweet Potato Boats
  • Chicken Parmesan Meatballs
  • Easy Cheesy Garlic Broccoli Pasta
  • Veggie-Loaded Hummus
  • Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa Bites
  • Mild Curry Chicken & Veggies
  • Baked Seasoned Tofu Nuggets
  • Healthy Chicken Nuggets with Green Bean “Fries”
  • Black Bean Tostadas with Strawberry Salsa
  • 3 Green Smoothies for Toddler + Kids
  • Broccoli Egg Cups

Foods with Vitamin C

To achieve maximum absorption, it is important to serve foods with vitamin C alongside foods with iron. Here is a list of foods that are high in vitamin C.

  • Red and Green Bell Peppers
  • Kiwi
  • Oranges
  • Strawberries
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Pineapple
  • Cauliflower
  • Mango
  • Peas
  • Tomatoes

Some great combinations would be to add in chopped red or green peppers while cooking ground beef or chicken, adding in oranges to a spinach smoothie, cooking broccoli and egg cups, serving a piece of fortified bread with peanut butter with a side of pineapple chunks as a snack, etc. There are plenty of easy options that allow you to get both vitamin C and iron into your child’s diet.

  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk, regular, almond, coconut, hemp, etc
  • 1/2 cup broccoli, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • salt and pepper to taste, optional
  • Prep: Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 8 muffin tins with silicone muffin molds or generously spray with cooking oil to prevent sticking.

  • Whisk: In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together.

  • Stir: Add in the broccoli, cheese, salt and pepper and stir until combined.

  • Pour: Carefully pour the egg mixture into the muffin tins until 3/4 the way full.

  • Bake: place the muffin tin in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until eggs have set and the cheese is golden brown.

Age: 6+ months

Storage: in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Reheat Frozen: to reheat the frozen egg cups, simply place on a microwave-safe plate and microwave in 30-second intervals until warm.

Stackable Glass Bowl Set

Muffin Pan

Silicone Muffin Cups

Bumkins Grip Plate

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Iron products for children

Proteins, fats and carbohydrates are the main nutrients that are the building blocks and source of energy for all living things. But no less significant biological role belongs to minerals. Despite their insignificant presence in the human body, they take part in numerous reactions and metabolic processes, therefore they are absolutely necessary for normal life in any of the periods of life. Minerals are part of enzymes, hormones and other biologically active molecules that, like conductors, direct and regulate metabolic processes. 81 chemical elements have been found in the human body, and the stability of their regular intake is a prerequisite for health. Minerals are not synthesized on their own, they come from outside and are absorbed with food and water. Their sufficient amount is especially important during periods of active growth and development, which determines the importance of a rational and balanced diet for pregnant women and children, because a deficiency of even one of the elements can adversely affect health.

Content: Hide

  1. Lack of iron
  2. manifestations of iron deficiency anemia
  3. Causes of deficiency
  4. Prevention of deficiency
  5. enriched products
9000 9000 minerals can be divided into trace elements (for example, zinc, iodine, fluorine, copper, selenium, manganese) - these are scattered minerals, their presence in the body is minimal, as well as macronutrients (for example, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, chlorine and sulfur) — their concentration is several times higher than that of the previous group. “The spool is small, but expensive,” this proverb reflects the fact that, despite the minimum concentrations in the body, the biological role of minerals is very high. One of the most important minerals is iron. This is a trace element, on average, in an adult, its content is about 4 grams. And in terms of a kilogram of weight, the largest amount of iron in the tissues is observed in the neonatal period, when the baby is born with the stock of the element acquired from the mother during intrauterine development. The main part of iron is found in the blood in the structure of hemoglobin. This protein binds with oxygen to transport it to every cell of the body, providing tissue respiration, and hence the operation of all organs and systems. Then, having given up oxygen, hemoglobin combines with carbon dioxide and transports it for subsequent release by the lungs from the human body. It is hemoglobin that colors blood red. In addition to blood cells, iron is found in the bone marrow, liver, muscles, and spleen. This mineral is part of enzymes that accelerate DNA synthesis during cell division.

IMPORTANT! The effective operation of these structures is especially necessary during periods of growth and maturation of organs. Iron is also a structural component of about 50% of the enzymes involved in energy metabolism, as well as in the reactions of neutralizing foreign substances in the liver. Without it, the normal functioning of brain cells is impossible.

Iron deficiency

Unfortunately, insufficient intake of minerals is a common phenomenon in the modern world among both adults and children. Iron deficiency disrupts the work of all body cells, especially if their functioning requires intensive metabolism and oxygen supply. The changes concern the main organs and systems, manifested by a decrease in the activity of all processes and the ability to withstand the negative impact of external factors. A late and already pronounced manifestation of iron deficiency is the development of anemia, in the common people - anemia. In this condition, the amount of hemoglobin decreases, and the formation of altered erythrocytes (red blood cells) also occurs - they become pale and reduced in size. In humans, the total iron content in the blood serum decreases.

Manifestations of iron deficiency anemia

The symptoms of this disease are varied and not always specific. In infancy, manifestations may be blurred, and the main signs of iron deficiency will be insufficient growth or a delay in the formation of motor skills, deviations in neuropsychic development. In older children, iron deficiency can be manifested by problems in assimilation of information and learning, low concentration of attention and behavioral anomalies.

IMPORTANT! With a significant lack of iron, changes in the skin and mucous membranes are often observed: pallor and dryness, the appearance of cracks on the arms, legs and around the mouth, layering and increased fragility of nails, dull hair. Babies often develop painful sores in the oral cavity and changes in the tongue - manifestations of stomatitis.

Other typical symptoms of this micronutrient deficiency are muscle weakness, irritability and sleep disturbances. The child quickly gets tired, does not cope well with the usual load for his age. People with iron deficiency anemia often have altered taste and appetite, and may also develop a desire to eat inedible items such as chalk and lime.

Causes of deficiency

In young children and pregnant women, the main factor in iron deficiency in the body is its low intake from food. Indeed, due to intensive growth and development, first intrauterine, and then independent, the need for this trace element is very high. That is, in these groups, iron deficiency is always associated with its negative balance - insufficient intake compared to the need for daily expenditure. This leads first to depletion from the depot, and then to the depletion of the mineral reserves in the body. Why is this happening? In the modern life of an urban person, refined foods are often used in nutrition, and food is depleted in vitamins and minerals.

IMPORTANT! Iron deficiency during pregnancy and then during breastfeeding is transmitted to the infant from the mother and can have an adverse and even sometimes irreversible effect on his health. Therefore, it is extremely important that the nutrition of a pregnant and lactating woman is complete, containing all the necessary nutrients in sufficient quantities and enriched with useful substances.

It is impossible to neglect the recommendations for taking vitamin-mineral complexes during pregnancy and lactation, since very often it is not possible to make a woman's diet sufficient and balanced. On the contrary, babies in their first year of life get everything they need from food, without the use of special preparations for the prevention of deficient conditions. In the first half of the year, the main role in the nutrition of the child belongs to breast milk, the main source of essential substances, vitamins and minerals, including iron. However, by the sixth month of life, exclusively natural feeding can only satisfy the child's needs for iron by 6-7%. At the same time, the nutrition of the mother at this age does not significantly affect the supply of this trace element to the baby. The main task is not to delay and start the introduction of complementary foods on time to meet the high demand for this element in the second half of life.

Deficiency prevention

What foods are rich in this micronutrient, and what complementary foods for children can be sources of iron? The leader in the amount of iron in the composition is food of animal origin, its highest content is in meat, fish and eggs. Different types of meat products differ in the presence of minerals and vitamins.

IMPORTANT! Thus, the highest content of iron is found in red meat - veal and beef, and there is also a lot of it in the liver of animals. In addition, they contain iron in an easily digestible heme form, which increases the absorption of this element in the intestine.

Modern industrial technologies for the production of baby food allow the production of products with a very high degree of grinding - a homogeneous consistency. Therefore, meat complementary foods can be safely included in the diet of babies from 6 months old, and this is one of the fundamental innovations in the nutrition of children in the first year of life. Previously, meat complementary foods were introduced only to children older than 7 months.

Other sources

Are there iron-rich foods among plant foods? Yes, this trace element is present in legumes, nuts and seeds, grains, and some types of greens (parsley, thyme, lettuce). But compared to meat products, the content of iron in them, as well as the degree of its absorption in the intestines, is lower. Among the foods of plant origin, buckwheat should be singled out, which is used in whole grain form and is several times superior to other crops in terms of iron content.

IMPORTANT! Therefore, at the age of 4–5 months, when deciding on the start of the introduction and choice of complementary foods, preference should be given to porridge, especially in babies at risk of developing iron deficiency anemia and poorly gaining weight. In addition, in cases of late start of the introduction of complementary foods, this is also a good choice as a start.

And buckwheat at this age should be singled out as a priority among cereals due to the high content of vegetable protein and rich mineral and vitamin composition. Another important feature that must be taken into account when compiling a menu for babies is the fact that when meat puree is combined with grains, the degree of absorption of non-heme iron from a vegetable source increases and its biological value increases. Therefore, in children older than 6 months, cereal complementary foods are included in the diet not only in the form of milk porridge, but also as a component of meat and vegetable dishes, in which meat is balanced with dairy-free porridge.

Fortified foods

Despite the high nutritional value and varied vitamin and mineral composition of natural products recommended in baby food, the content of micronutrients in the finished meal does not always satisfy the high need for these substances at an early age.

IMPORTANT! The way out of this situation is to use in the nutrition of babies products that are additionally enriched with biologically active substances that are vital during periods of active growth and development. An example of such specialized products is the line of instant cereals Bebi Premium. Their composition is developed in accordance with the age characteristics of babies of the first year of life, enriched with the most necessary vitamins and minerals for normal physical and mental development in the recommended amount and ratio.

All cereals and instant biscuits for children from this manufacturer are enriched with iron, which covers from 10 to 30% of the recommended daily requirement for this trace element and is an effective prevention of the development of iron deficiency conditions. Preparation of complementary foods of the Bebi Premium line does not require aggressive cooking, which allows you to save biologically active substances in the most useful and easily digestible form.

11 IRON-RICH FOODS FOR BABY! MedUnion will tell you!📝

Everyone knows that young children are picky eaters, but there are plenty of iron-rich foods that even the pickiest little ones will appreciate.

Small children refuse food for various reasons - maybe it is too red or too green, too mushy, etc. Parents of course worry about the lack of nutrients that growing bodies of babies need.

Iron deficiency is a fairly common problem in children, and it is estimated that about 8 percent of babies are iron deficient.

In this article, you'll learn how much iron babies need, 11 iron-rich foods, and recipes and ways to include these foods in your baby's diet.


According to the National Institutes of Health, children should receive the following amount of iron in milligrams (mg) daily:

  • Infants 7-12 months old - 11mg0010
  • Children 4-8 years 10 mg

However, the recommended amount of iron varies depending on the foods infants eat.

There are two types of iron: heme and non-heme. Heme iron is found only in animal products such as meat and seafood. Non-heme iron is found in plant foods and fermented foods.

Both forms of iron can help a person meet their daily iron requirement. However, heme iron is more easily broken down by the body. For this reason, people who get iron from non-animal sources, including vegans, vegetarians, and picky toddlers, should consume 1.8 times the amount of iron recommended for their age group.


Oatmeal is a rich source of iron for babies

Many children are incredibly cranky and will refuse food many times before they start eating, so do not be discouraged and continue to offer healthy food.

For a balanced diet, change your iron sources more often and encourage your little ones to try different foods.

Almost all babies love foods that are a great source of iron, such as:

  • 1. Iron-fortified breakfast cereals

Many breakfast cereals are fortified with iron. They usually contain 100 percent of the daily value of iron for adults. The iron content can be found on the packaging.

Remember that many breakfast cereals are high in sugar and salt. This type of breakfast can be given occasionally as a treat or in small portions with a balanced diet.

  • 2. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a nutritious snack that many children love. According to one source, 0.75 cups of oatmeal contains about 4.5 - 6.6 mg of iron.

Oatmeal is also rich in fiber, which is good for children with digestive problems, including constipation.

To make porridge more appetizing, sprinkle it with cinnamon, a little brown sugar and a handful of raisins.

  • 3. Meat

All meat products are rich in iron. Although many toddlers often refuse meat, there are a few ways to convince them to give it a try:

  • Use fun cutters to cut meat products. The iron content can be increased by placing a piece of cold cuts on white bread, which will add another 1 mg of iron.
  • Try chicken nuggets. Many toddlers who refuse meat enjoy eating chicken nuggets. However, be careful as they are high in salt and saturated fat.
  • Try mixing ground beef or duck with a little milk before cooking for a creamier texture that many babies love.
  • 4. Peanut Butter Sandwiches

The amount of iron in peanut butter varies by brand, but typically contains about 0.56 mg of iron per teaspoon. To get extra iron, you can make a sandwich with white bread, which will provide another 1 mg of iron.

Peanut butter is also high in protein, which is a great option for kids who don't eat meat.

Peanut butter and honey or banana sandwiches can be made as an alternative to cookies and other low-nutrient snacks.

  • 5. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is a rich source of antioxidants and helps your baby get the right amount of iron. Second after meat, dark chocolate is one of the richest foods in terms of iron content, containing 7 mg of iron per 90 grams of product.

Some children do not like the bitter taste of dark chocolate. You can try melting it and mixing it with peanut butter and then spreading it on bread.

  • 6. Eggs

A hard-boiled egg contains 1 mg of iron. Many children love to peel eggs from the shell. Snacking can be made even more fun by coloring the eggs first.

If your little one doesn't like hard-boiled eggs, try making scrambled eggs instead, or use animal molds.

Some children like fried egg sandwiches. Lightly fry the egg, then place it on a piece of bread and add some ketchup.

  • 7. Legumes

Legumes are an excellent source of iron. White beans are considered to be one of the richest sources of iron and contain 8 mg per serving.

To get kids to eat legumes, use the following recipes:

  • Cook beans and potatoes, mash them and add some cinnamon
  • Legumes can be made into odd-shaped patties or put on bread
  • 8. Nuts

Nuts, including cashews and pistachios, are an excellent source of iron, protein and other essential nutrients.

However, nuts can pose a risk of choking in children, so do not give whole nuts to children who are just learning to chew.

You can make nut crumbs or spread nut butter on crackers or whole grain bread.

  • 9. Fish

Consider including fish in your baby's diet as it is highly nutritious and a great source of protein, and some species, such as mackerel and salmon, are high in omega-3 saturated fatty acids that are good for brain work.

Canned tuna contains 1 mg of iron per serving. You can make tuna crackers or put it on bread.

Canned tuna is also suitable for children who like to dip one food into another. You can mix tuna with avocado for a creamier texture that's easy to dip into crackers or chips.

  • 10. Vegetables

Children refusing to eat vegetables is a common problem. Try making a vegetable smoothie for a nutritious, iron-rich snack that even the pickiest of kids will love.

You can try the following recipes:

  • Boil and puree spinach. Spinach contains 0.81 mg of iron per cup. Next, mix it with watermelon, frozen blueberries, raspberries and a slice of avocado for a hearty and nutritious smoothie.
  • Mix a teaspoon of honey with mashed broccoli, add chard, honey melon and figs for a delicious treat.
  • 11. Fruits

Some fruits are excellent sources of iron. The following amount of iron is found in 1 cup of these fruits:

  • Raisins, 4 mg
  • Dried apricots, 3.46 mg
  • Red-skinned cherries, 0.71 mg
  • Diced watermelon, 0.36 mg
  • Prunes, 0.36 mg

Fruit smoothie tastes even better when mixed with a little yogurt and honey.

Your baby's favorite fruit can be made into popsicles. Freeze fruit puree for 2-3 hours and enjoy healthy iron-rich ice cream.


Low energy levels in babies can be a sign of iron deficiency

If you're worried that your baby may be iron deficient, don't wait until symptoms appear. See your doctor to have your baby's blood tested for iron. Continue giving your child iron-rich foods and ask your doctor to prescribe an iron supplement.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies and young children be tested for iron deficiency at 9-12 months of age and again at 15 months of age.

Symptoms of iron deficiency include:

  • Very pale skin
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Painful or crimson tongue
  • Very low energy
  • Rapid heart rate
  • all children put objects in their mouths
  • Muscle weakness

Children with certain medical conditions have difficulty absorbing iron regardless of diet. Talk to your doctor or dietitian about how you can prevent iron deficiency in children with digestive problems, frequent diarrhea, a heart disorder, a metabolic disorder, or cancer.

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