Best Iron Rich Foods for Babies
Best Iron Rich Foods for Babies
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Most of the babies are born with a small storage of iron in their bodies. On top of that, they get all the required iron from breast milk or formula milk for the next six months. But after six months, their need for iron will increase, which you cannot satisfy with milk alone. Thus you have to introduce some of the best iron-rich foods for the babies in their diet. If your baby is premature or has a lower birth weight, she/ he will not include enough iron stores in their little body from birth until six months of age. In that case, you have to consult your physician or doctor about when you need to start the solids to ensure they include a sufficient amount of iron in their body.
Kids require iron for their development in the growing years to achieve all their milestones correctly. Its deficiency in the body will lead to a health condition called iron deficiency or anemia. So, in this write-up, we have compiled the names of the iron-rich foods for infants and toddlers and have discussed their benefits. So without more delay, let’s continue below to know them in detail.
Minced meat is one of the best recipes to try. You can cook any meat, be it lamb, pork, or beef, till it is soft and there is no pink mass visible. Puree or mash it to the lumpiness degree for which your kid is ready. You might also combine it with any sweet vegetable like cooked sweet potato, pumpkin, or carrot. It will help your baby to eat the meat and get the required iron from it. Never add any soy sauce or salt to the food as it will damage their developing kidneys. Soft cooked meat is also perfect as finger food as the little ones can hold in their hand without much difficulty.
You can include turkey or chicken in the diet of your baby with no skin. Minced chicken breast steamed or poached is ideal as the first iron-rich foods. Ensure that the chicken is cooked thoroughly without any hint of pink texture. Turkey and chicken combine well with the pear, tomato, spinach, button mushrooms, apple, capsicum, and avocado. You can also try out other combinations that might work well for your baby.
Nuts are a high source of protein and you can give them to your babies in the form of paste, butter, or flour. But remember that whole nuts can cause a choking hazard and should not be given to toddlers or babies. Some of the nuts that you might include in their meal are peanut and hazelnut butter, almond and cashew paste, and walnut flour. Never add sugar to these pastes or flours as the baby does not need them.
You can mix these nut butter with pureed and soft fruits and vegetables like apple, carrot, parsnip, berries, avocado, and pumpkin. The vitamin C present in them will assist your baby in absorbing the iron present in the nuts. You can also give nut butter on whole-grain bread as finger food and a coating of groundnut with chicken or fish pieces. Some nuts might cause any allergic reaction to the babies. Unless your baby suffers from any allergic reactions, your toddler should regularly consume nuts before turning one year old.
4. Baby Cereals
Many kids start their 6-month solid food journey with iron-fortified rice cereals. It is plain in taste, and you can mix it well with formula or breast milk to enhance the flavors. You can decrease the cereal amount and add other items, like fresh fruits and vegetables get more flavors. Always select vegetables and fruits that contain high vitamin C like strawberries, capsicum, rockmelon, leafy greens, broccoli, sweet potato, or mango to absorb the iron in the food.
Tofu is full of iron and is an outstanding source of taste for the kids. You can also give an iron boost by combining it with vegetables and fruits. Add some pieces of tofu to fresh fruit dishes like mashed banana or cooked pear or apple. If your baby is fond of finger foods, then you can give them a stick of tofu with a squeeze of little lemon or orange over it. You can also offer a tomato puree as a side condiment.
6. Legume and Beans
Legumes and beans are a perfect iron source and are plain in taste. Thus you can add some little spices and make them in the puree form. Soak and cook cannellini beans, chickpeas, kidney lentils, or beans and white beans. Do not use any canned beans in their diet as they might contain added salt and sugar. Thus it is best to cook these food items fresh for your little one without salt or sugar. You can make a ball of the legumes and beans and fry with a little oil or bake in the oven. You might also offer the baked beans to an older toddler in a bowl to let them enjoy their pincer-gripping challenge. Baked beans are also a great transitional food for the babies to lumpy ones from a puree form.
You can give hard-boiled and well-cooked eggs or combine them with other foods for the babies. Eggs are one of the best foods with iron for babies, and you can also mash them into cooked avocado, cereals, or vegetables. Scrambled egg with the addition of little milk is a great snack for infants. Your baby might also like strips of eggs cooked with finely chopped spinach, basil, coriander, or parsley and give them to him/her as finger foods. Some toddlers like roughly chopped boiled eggs to pick up from the plate and eat. But remember, uncooked or raw eggs might contain salmonella bacteria which might lead to food poisoning.
Fish is another one of the best iron-rich foods for the child. Fish helps the children to get accustomed to different textures and tastes. You can encourage your child to eat two to three servings of fish every week. Make sure that you have thoroughly deboned the fishes before giving them to your baby. Since most babies are consuming purees, fishes like barramundi or flathead will deliver them mild taste when it is poached or steamed in water. After deboning, you can mash it and combine it with pumpkin, carrot, zucchini, or broccoli. A little bit of cheese will also enhance the flavor.
Do not use tinned or canned fish like tuna or salmon. Instead, cook them fresh for your baby. Some fishes contain higher mercury levels than others. We would recommend serving only 75 gram or one serving of swordfish and shark or marlin fish every fortnight. Also, restrict one serving of orange catfish every week.
9. Green Leafy vegetables
You can cook any iron-rich foods for baby recipes with green leafy vegetables. Silverbeet, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, spinach, kale, and bok choy are green vegetables with high iron content. Some good recipes also include different iron-rich fruits for babies like carrot and spinach, broccoli and apple, spinach and white beans, pumpkin and silverbeet, and broccoli and chicken. Steamed carrot or broccoli is another great finger food that most babies like to hold and eat, as finger food.
What are the benefits of Iron enriched foods for your Babies?
Iron plays a vital role in the various biological processes of children. Now let us check out the different benefits of high iron foods for babies in their diet.
- Iron helps to bind the hemoglobin that will enable the oxygen transfer from the lungs to the other body parts
- Iron is significant for mental and physical growth
- Creates essential amino acids, hormones, neurotransmitters, and new tissue cells
- Converts blood sugar level into energy
- Help in the proper functioning of the cognitive development and immune systems in the children
How much Iron does your Baby need?
Iron is significant if consumed in the correct quantities. Excessive iron intake might make it difficult for the body to absorb and convert it into a nutrient. Additional iron will get stored in your baby’s vital organs like the heart, pancreas, and heart, which might end in life-threatening disorders or diseases. Thus it is imperative to know that your child will get enough iron for his/her growth and not too much. Below we have shared the quantity of iron your child will require according to his or her age.
- Toddlers of 1 to 3 years of age should get 7 mg of iron/day
- Young kids of 4 to 8 years of age require 10 mg of iron every day
- Older children of 9 to 12 years need only 8 mg of iron per day
Iron is significant for growing and developing babies. Luckily we have ample iron-rich foods to include in their diet. By allowing your little ones to enjoy these foods every day, you can assist them to boost their iron intake!