Iron Deficiency In Kids – 4 Delicious Ways to Get More Iron Into Your Child’s Diet
Back to school is in full swing and the everyday hectic routine is starting to set in. I bet you’re starting to see your kids as more sluggish and fatigued from school, homework and extra-curricular activities. You might want to see if your child is low in iron. Iron deficiency in kids leads to fatigue, headaches, lack of interest in play and decreased appetites. Making sure your kids are getting enough iron could be the boost they need to prevent those sluggish, low-energy days.
WHY IS IRON SO IMPORTANT FOR YOUR KIDS?
Iron is an essential nutrient, meaning, we must get it from our food. Iron makes red blood cells that deliver oxygen to the cells of the body. When there isn’t enough iron, organs and tissues won’t get the oxygen needed to thrive. Iron plays an important role in fighting infection, brain development and growth.
HEME IRON VS. NON-HEME IRON
What is the difference between heme iron and non-heme iron? The difference is simple.
Heme iron is derived from hemoglobin, therefore coming from animal sources. Non-heme iron comes from vegetarian sources. Although heme iron has the higher absorption of the two, sources of non-heme iron are more nutrient dense. A combination of the two is optimal.
4 DELICIOUS FOODS TO PREVENT IRON DEFICIENCY
There are tons of wonderful whole foods high in iron. Here are 4 of my favorite heme and non-heme sources. You can also find cereals and supplements fortified with iron, making it easy to get enough in your child’s diet.
With almost 40% of your daily needs in 1 cup of spinach, this is on the top of my list for non-heme iron sources.
Smoothies make it really easy to get spinach into your child’s diet. Add 1 cup to your morning smoothie for a delicious boost of iron. For smoothie recipes click here.
Lentils are fantastic with about 30% of your daily needs in 1 cup. Add lentils to soups or salads for an increase in energy.
Also very high in iron with almost 40% of your daily needs in 1 cup. Edemame beans are a great snack to pack in school lunches, they are easy and great for on-the-go. Make sure to look out for Non-GMO varieties.
Grass-fed beef is very high in heme iron. 3-4oz of beef 1-2 times per week will increase iron stores. Having 1/3 less saturated fat than conventionally raised beef, this makes for a healthier choice.
QUICK TIP: To increase iron absorption, take vitamin C along with iron-rich foods. Dark leafy greens have tons of Vitamin C and Iron making them more bang for your buck!