Feeding babies is not an easy task, they are very picky eaters. They have so many reasons to not eat the food. For elder persons, it becomes even harder to feed them food, especially nutritional food. Before moving to the iron-rich foods for babies and some very interesting ways to help them with the same, let’s move to the requirement of iron for babies.
As per the National Institutes of Health (NIA), a child should get this per iron intake in milligrams:
Infants- 7-12 months, 11 mg
Toddlers- 1-3 years, 7 mg
Children- 4-8 years- 10 mg
This data is just a suggestion and is not fixed amount though. The daily recommendation level depends on the food and health of a kid. Too much iron intake will be deposited in the liver and can even cause liver damage.
Most of the kids refuse to eat for literally no reason. We offer some really healthy and iron rich foods for babies, so don’t feel discouraged. If your kid is low birth weight or premature one, then they will demand more iron content.
There are 2 forms of dietary iron i.e., Heme and Non heme. The first one is named as Heme iron and is derived from Hemoglobin and found in animal foods that has Hb in them. Like Red Meats, Fish, Poultry and Seafood. Another one is Non-heme iron and is more easily consumed with Vitamin C like fruit juice. Most of the dietary iron is non heme iron and our bodies absorb them less. Spinach, Beans and Broccoli are some good sources of non-heme iron.
Iron Deficiency Anemia is the most common form of anemia defined as the decrease in the number of RBC’s. Iron is required to produce hemoglobin that is responsible to carry oxygen to the body tissues.
Iron Rich Foods for Kids
- Breakfast Cereals: There are so many cereals available in the market that contains daily requirement of iron. Check out ingredients to find out the iron content. Make sure the breakfast cereal does not have so much sodium and fats.
- Oatmeal is good for every age group toddlers and is a versatile product to cook with. So, 3/4th cup of oatmeal have 4.5 to 6.6 mg of iron. It is rich in fiber that is good for skin and also to tackle digestive problems, constipation mainly. Adding dry fruits, jaggery and a pinch of cinnamon can boost digestion.
- Eggs are one of the best sources of protein but little of us know that it contains iron as well. One hard boiled egg iron content contains 1 mg of iron. Scrambled egg, omelette can also be an option for kids. Try making this stuff with vegetables like onion, tomato, capsicum and tomato. Eggs are easily available in the market and incorporating egg yolks into multiple recipes is good.
- Beans and pulses provide quite a decent amount of iron. White beans provides 8mg of iron per serving.
- Peanut Butter: This is something that is liked by almost all age groups. Peanut butter cookies are tasty and nutritional. Peanut butter is packed with iron and the best part is it can be used in various ways.
- If you are a vegetarian, tofu is probably the best option as iron foods for babies and kids. Luckily, it can be consumed by children who are lactose-intolerant. Iron rich foods vegetarian is also a long list indeed.
- Fish is a really good food for kids and provides high nutrition. It provides high amount of omega-3 fatty acids. They are good for a healthy heart and brain functioning.
Kids are new to the world of healthy eating and the way you feed them will be their future growth. As a new parent, try to give them veggies and nuts as much as possible with fun. It’s always better to have at least one meal of the day with family. Introduce them nutritional food with fun and creativity. We have a guide for MCT Oil as well.
How To Increase The Absorption Of Iron From Foods For Babies?
- Reward them for their good deeds regardless of giving them as a punishment.
- Body absorbs more iron with vitamin C so increase the amount of vitamin C to let the body absorb more iron.Give your toddlers more tomatoes, grapefruit, oranges and sweet potatoes. A research says, 100 mg of vitamin C can increase the iron absorption by 67%.
- Better not to give them food in between meals. Even if they ask for food, give them fruits with iron, nuts or vegetables in the raw form. Choose healthier snacks that are high in nutrients and less in calories.
- Your kids should be comfortable enough to ask for more or less food. Giving more foods that contain iron is not a better option. There’s always an alternate for healthy food like broccoli for spinach. Also, don’t give more than 24 ounces of milk in a day to a child.
- Make a food chart with iron rich foods for kids and follow it religiously.
- It’s not easy to prepare babies to have good food, so develop habits of healthy eating at a young age. Be creative with their food. To keep them with you while cooking is also a good option.
- Have fun in the kitchen, let them know about the food names and preparation. You can give them eggs to peel but under supervision. Different colors have different impacts on the brain and mood so try to use as much as vibrant colors.
- Encourage your children to eat slowly and with proper chew.
Babies who are on breastfeeding does not require iron or supplements. Iron is required to promote adequate amount of growth and development to prevent anaemia. Most of them do not need iron supplements till the age of 4 months. Some common symptoms of iron deficiency in kids are Fatigue, Pale skin, Poor appetite, Muscle weakness and Behavioral problems. Before making any change to the diet, visit your dietitian to prevent any sort of loss.