Iron Rich Foods

Your little baby has grown and blossomed into a sturdier busy toddler. Looking back I sometimes think it was so much easier when they were tiny, vulnerable new-borns and all you had to worry about in relation to their diet was their milk feed (even if I didn’t think so at the time!).

Although they are much sturdier little beings now, they rely on you to make sure they are getting everything they need. One important nutrient to remember is Iron.

Why is iron important

Their little brains are still growing and developing at a rapid pace. Iron is really important to support this growth and development.

Where can you get iron & what are the differences:

  • You can get it from a variety of sources. But it is important that you keep in mind the different types of iron: Haem iron and non-haem iron
  • Haem iron is found is meat and fish and is easily absorbed by the body
  • Non-haem iron is found in non-meat/fish sources and is harder for the body to absorb. But eating vitamin C rich foods (e.g. citrus fruits, berries) at the same time boosts the absorption of the iron by the body.

Sources of haem iron Sources of non-haem iron

  • Red meat (e.g. beef, pork, lamb) Eggs (well cooked)
  • Poultry (e.g. chicken, turkey) Green leafy vegetables (e.g. spinach, broccoli, cabbage)
  • Oily fish (e.g. salmon, herring) Peas, Beans & Lentils
  • Iron fortified foods (e.g. breakfast cereals and milks)
  • Wholemeal bread

Top tips:

  • Include iron rich foods every day, including both haem and non-haem sources.
  • If you give your toddler a non-haem source of iron, make sure to include a source of vitamin C in the same meal.
  • Ham and bacon are generally high in salt and should only be given occasionally.
  • Use the iron calculator to see how your toddler is doing
  • Check out these iron-rich recipes

Meal time combinations to help boost their iron intake from non-haem iron sources:

  • Breakfast:
    Iron fortified breakfast cereal, with some blueberries/strawberries (contains vitamin C) either sprinkled over the cereal or to eat on the side.
  • Lunch:
    Baked beans on wholemeal bread and orange segments (contains vitamin C) on the side.
  • Dinner:
    Cheese omelette made with peas & sweetcorn (contains vitamin C), boiled potato and vegetables on the side.