Today I’ll begin by asking a few questions about your child. Let’s begin –

So does your child has any of the following conditions?

  • Has very little appetite?
  • Does your child feel exhausted/ tired after working for a little time?
  • Has a short attention span and lacks concentration?

And if the answer to any of these questions is ‘Yes’ then it’s high time you select the best iron rich foods for kids and add them to their diet.

Iron is an important nutrient as it helps in the production of hemoglobin which assists in carrying oxygen across our body.

The need for iron intake increases especially during the formative years as during the first few years our kids are rapidly growing and their mind is continuously developing.

It is also helpful when girls start menstruating because blood loss removes a lot of iron from their bodies.

So Why is Iron needed?

Iron is an important mineral that is required for the growth of the body and the development of the brain. Some of the benefits of having iron in our diet are –

  • It is needed for supplying oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.
  • It is important for physical growth and mental development
  • Iron is needed for the proper functioning of the nerves
  • Essential for facilitating cellular metabolism

How much Iron does a child need?

The amount of iron required varies as per the child’s age and sex. Here I am showing a table with the daily requirements of iron, based on your child’s age and gender.

Iron requirementMaleFemale
7 to 12 months11mg11mg
1-3 years9mg9mg
4-8 years10mg10mg
9-13 years8mg8mg
14-18 years11mg15mg
a study from National Health & Medical Research council

How do I know if my child’s diet lacks sufficient Iron?

If your child’s diet is deficient in iron, he or she will develop iron deficiency.

Your child could face some common symptoms such as reduced energy levels, lack of concentration, reduced appetite, pale skin, dizziness, etc.

Low iron levels may cause anemia, a condition in which the number of red blood cells in the body is insufficient. This can prevent oxygen from reaching the vital organs.

Broad Classification of Type of Iron in our Diet

There are two types of Iron nutrients found in the diet we take.

Heme Iron

You can find heme iron in animal-based iron foods such as red meat, white meat, and seafood. The good thing about haem iron is that it can be easily absorbed by the body.

Non-Heme Iron

This is a form of iron found in plant-based iron foods such as green vegetables, beans, raisins, etc. The non-heme is less absorbed by the body and taking it in excess can lead to digestion problems and stomach cramps.

How to Absorb Non-Heme Iron

  • Add a bit of Vitamin C in the the diet when consuming non-heme iron as Vitamin C helps in absorbing iron from the food.
  • Limit the consumption of dairy food during or after having an iron rich diet. Dairy foods contain calcium which hampers the absorption of iron from the meals.

So, If you want to supercharge your child and keep him/her energized throughout the day then here I am going to share a list of power-packed iron rich foods for kids.

Best Plant-Based Iron Rich foods for Kids | Non-Heme Iron

iron rich food for kids spinach citymom

Spinach – Iron Rich Foods for Kids

This green leafy vegetable contains 3mg of iron for half a cup of vegetables. This is one of the best sources of iron that your kids can have.

Raisins – Iron Rich Foods for Kids

Raisins are a favorite snack among children. This dried fruit will provide an iron boost and also prevent constipation. A quarter cup of raisins contains nearly 1 mg of iron in it.

Green Peas – Iron Rich Foods for Kids

They are also popular with most kids and can be added to a variety of dishes. 1 mg of iron is present in a half cup of green peas.

Beans – Iron Rich Foods for Kids

All forms of beans such as soybeans, lima beans, kidney beans, and lentils contain iron, fiber, other vitamins, and minerals.

While a half-cup of white beans contains 4 mg of iron. A similar half cup of lentils would have nearly 3 mg of Iron and likewise, a half cup of red kidney beans would contain 2 mg of Iron in it.

iron rich food for kids mushroom citymom

Mushrooms – Iron Rich Foods for Kids

If your kids love Mushrooms, then include them in their diet. Different mushrooms types have different iron content. For instance, oyster mushrooms have double the iron than present in white mushrooms. Nevertheless, all mushrooms are rich sources of iron for your kids.

Oatmeal – Iron Rich Foods for Kids

Oats are fortified cereals that are an excellent source of iron. A cup of oats can provide up to 3.4mg of iron.

Eggs – Iron Rich Foods for Kids

Experts say that eggs contain both heme and non-heme irons. For now, I am placing it in the non-heme as it’s not meat-based. A hard-boiled egg contains roughly 1 mg of Iron in it.

Best Animal-Based Iron Rich Foods for Kids | Heme Iron

iron rich food for kids meat citymom

Lamb – Iron Rich Foods for Kids

Lamb has a high content of heme iron. It is also an excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin B12. A 3-ounce serving can contain up to 2 mg of iron.

Oysters – Iron Rich Foods for Kids

Oysters are known to be rich in iron and zinc. A 3-ounce serving can contain up to 5.1gm of iron. Eating this seafood can also regulate the levels of cholesterol in the blood.

iron rich food for kids fish citymom

Fish – Iron Rich Foods for Kids

Eating fish is highly nutritious and hence you must try to have it in your kid’s diet. It is also a good source of proteins and omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for their heart and brain. Each serving of canned tuna fish contains up to 1 mg of iron.

A Few Words from CityMom

Our kids have so much to do during their day. As parents, we need to ensure they don’t miss out on their daily activities because of their low energy levels.

These iron rich foods for kids will supercharge their bodies and will provide them with adequate energy to do everything they wish to.

In addition to these iron rich foods, try these high fiber foods for kids to improve their digestion. Like my children, if your kids too feel hungry at odd hours and you don’t know what to give, try these healthy snacks to much in between the meals.

Resources | and many others!