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20 Iron Rich Foods and Iron Supplements for Kids

This blog was originally written by Kavitha. To view more of her work, click here.

Iron-rich foods are the best way to prevent iron deficiency for most healthy children. Your child’s doctor may prescribe iron supplements if your child is diagnosed with anaemia caused by iron deficiency. We have hence included some brief knowledge about types of iron supplements below so make sure to read this article till the end.   

Iron-rich foods

1. Breastmilk: This liquid gold provides complete nutrition and supplies the desired iron requirement of a baby for first six months of life. This is an ideal source of iron until six months as the baby is born with iron stores. Breastmilk complements these stores until the child starts eating solid food.

2. Iron Fortified Formula:

Babies who are formula fed should drink formula that is fortified with iron. Iron fortification of infant formulas is required to replenish the physiological deficits in an infant. Iron-fortified formula feeding ensures that the child will have adequate iron stores and not suffer from iron deficiency or anaemia.

3. Ragi: Ragi is considered as a wonder grain as it is packed with all the essential minerals and nutrients especially iron. It is an excellent source of iron and is beneficial for kids with low haemoglobin levels. Our ragi recipes like sprouted ragi powder, ragi milk porridge, ragi roti or ragi malt are great options.

4. Bajra: Bajra or pearl millet is a rich source of iron. It is considered as a treatment for anaemia. Bajra helps significantly in raising the haemoglobin levels. You can make khichdi, porridges or roti using bajra.

5.Dark Leafy Greens:

Dark leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli are rich in iron. Adding these to your kid’s diet can boost their iron levels. Like dill leaves, methi leaves, pudina or mint leaves, palak. You can try out recipes like spinach paneer rice, spinach puree and spinach soup.

6. Dry Fruits:

Apricots: Apricots are a great source of iron and antioxidants. They contain more than 50% of the daily requirement of iron.

Prunes: Prune juice is a great source of iron. Apart from treating constipation, prune juice also helps to prevent and treat iron deficiency.

Raisins: Raisins are one of the best sources of iron and help in curing iron deficiency in our body. They are also rich in potassium, calcium, proteins and fibre.

7. Peas: Green peas are excellent sources of iron. Apart from iron, they are also high in protein and are one of the best options for vegetarians looking for iron. Green peas are rich in Vitamin C and will help in absorption of iron. Therefore, green peas are an ideal iron-rich plant food.

8. Jaggery: Vitamin C available in jaggery boosts iron absorption. Jaggery is obtained from sugar cane juice directly and is a very rich source of iron. The folate content in it helps in preventing anaemia.

9. Legumes, Lentils and other Beans: Unlike meat and other sources of iron, legumes or lentils are not high in fat and hence are a healthy source of iron. Baked beans, kidney beans, soybeans, chickpeas, all lentils like toor dal, masoor dal, etc are all good for your baby as they are rich in iron, protein and fibre.

10. Red Meat:

Meat - especially red meat - is a good source of iron as it contains large amounts of heme iron. Heme iron can be easily absorbed by the body and also helps to restore iron in the body.

11. Quinoa: Quinoa is a dense enough grain that is generally consumed as porridge during breakfast. It is a good source of dietary iron. Ideally, it has to be soaked to reduce the content of phytic acid which is an inhibitor of iron absorption. It can be easily used in baby food in form of porridge, dosa or khichdi.

12. Iron-fortified Cereals, Bread or Pasta: Iron-fortified cereals, bread or pasta are vital food items of every individual. They are fortified with a high concentration of iron. This combined with orange juice enhances the iron absorption. These also make a healthy and quick breakfast option.

13. Oily Fish or Seafood: Oily fish or seafood rich in fish oil is a good source of iron which does not demand any additional requirement of iron in your diet. Seafood with the oil is an excellent source of iron.

14. Tofu:

Tofu is an excellent vegetarian supplement of iron made from soy milk. It supplements about 20% of the recommended allowance of iron that is required in a day. It also has a high content of calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. You can replace paneer to use this in simple recipes like vegetable paneer puree, paneer blocks, daliya paneer khichdi, etc.

15. Seeds: Sunflower, pumpkin, sesame seeds are the other iron-rich plant products. They can either be consumed raw or by adding it to any of your favourite foods. They are a good source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids as well.

16. Nuts:

Nuts and the butter obtained from these nuts are a good source of non-heme iron. The iron-rich nuts include almonds, cashews, pine nuts. They are also a good source of protein and fibres along with loads of antioxidants. You can try our dry fruits powder, nuts powder recipes.

17. Amaranth or Rajgira Seeds: Amaranth or Rajgira seeds are rich in iron and iron inhibitors like phytic acid. It is good to soak it overnight before consumption to see great results. It goes well as a replacement for any millet recipe.

18. Sweet Potato: Sweet potato is the ideal food that can be given to children at a very young age. It is loaded with iron and has rich fibre content which will help in relieving constipation. Sweet potato is one of the earliest, iron-rich foods which is introduced to babies.

19. Eggs: Eggs contain the ideal amount of iron that is required for babies. Give only egg yolks to babies to avoid any allergy issues. You can find several egg yolk recipes for babies on the internet.

20. Dark Chocolate: The bittersweet taste of dark chocolate has to be relished to get the required iron supplement. Dark chocolate along with other iron-rich foods is known to reverse iron deficiency anaemia. It is also a rich source of flavonoids which increase the blood circulation.

5 Tips to Include iron in your Child’s diet

1. Try and make recipes including Iron rich foods.

2. Meal plans work best.

3. For best absorption of iron in your baby’s or kid’s body, combine Iron-rich foods with the one which is rich in Vitamin C.

4. Use cast iron pots and pans for cooking.

5. Try and reduce intake of milk as it hinders iron absorption.

Iron Supplements are suggested by doctors if iron deficiency is found after doing several tests. The below is mere knowledge purpose. So please don’t forget to talk to a paediatrician before introducing any.

Types of Safe Iron Supplements for Babies or Kids

Liquid Drops: Liquid supplements typically are easier for kids than pills as we can squirt the liquid straight into the child’s mouth instead of forcing them to swallow.

Syrups: Syrups can be easily measured and given to children. But the metallic taste of iron is not liked by children and also with iron syrups, the teeth can get stained.

Chewable: Chewables are best suited for those who do not want to deal with measuring liquids and syrup. These supplements come in different flavours and kids just love them. Make sure you keep these out of children’s reach.

Gummies: Kids just love vitamin gummy as it tastes good and resembles a candy. Gummies are an ideal way to deliver the required content of iron. They are also available in different flavours and colours.

Powder: Iron supplements which are in powder form can be mixed easily with kids foods such as oatmeal, yoghurt etc and kids might not even know about it. These are ideal in case of toddlers and school-going children.

Iron Fortified Drinks or Juices

If the above looks boring to your kids, you can include any of Iron Fortified Drinks or Juices in their diet. Tropicana has recently launched 2 varieties of Health Drinks - Tropicana Essentials Iron and Tropicana Essentials Fruits and Veggies.

The Tropicana Essentials IRON consists of concentrated fruit juices like apple, carrot, mango, orange, pineapple, and banana. These juices have added nutrients to them like Iron, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C. Each serving (200 ml) of Tropicana Essentials IRON provides 15% RDA of Iron. That is, consuming 1 serve of this juice would satisfy 15% of the estimated daily iron requirement.

1. Above 2 years kids can drink this on a daily basis

2. These juices are also good for women who fall into the second largest category of anemics in India after kids.

3. Tropicana Essentials juices are preservative and additive-free.

4. These juices contain no added Sugar, just concentrated juice.

5. They are flash pasteurized.

6. They are packed in 6 layer tetra pack for better life.

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