Every kid has a hidden Superhero in himself.
But, can you guess my favourite Superhero?
Yes, it’s Iron Man!
Do you know why?
Because he has the power of iron not only in his suit but also a powerful brain and a powerful body to combat dangerous situations with ease.
In fact, a Superhero is not a hero from his suit but from inside as well. And from where he gets these powers?
Of course from the nutritious food, more so from the iron-rich foods!
Why do kids need iron-rich foods?
Since I have focused on Iron Man, so let’s talk about the iron in your food which is required to:
- Produce haemoglobin in blood and carry oxygen to all the organs of the body.
- Increase immunity so that the villains like bacteria and viruses are kept at bay.
- Maintain healthy hair, skin and nails that will eventually make you look smart like Iron Man.
Thus, iron is the most important mineral for infants, toddlers, and adolescents as their body are in the developing phase.
4-8 years old need 10 mg and 9-13 years old need 8 mg of iron daily.
If you do not eat iron as needed, you will develop iron deficiency anaemia which leads to:
- General fatigue and tiredness
- Pale skin and nails
- Brittle hair and nails
- Increased rate of infections
- Muscle weakness and reduced motor skills like difficulty in walking, running, jumping, picking up the toys, etc.
Now, how can Iron Man work if he is suffering from iron deficiency?
He needs all his skills to fulfil his tasks and so do you.
So, you can’t be a Superhero without eating iron-rich foods.
However, iron in our diet is present in two forms: Haem iron from animal sources and non-haem iron from plant sources.
Non-haem iron isn’t easily absorbed in the body, so our vegetarian superheroes need to eat double the amount of recommended iron.
Also, all your favourite citrus fruits like orange, lemon, tomatoes berries, etc. contain Vitamin C which increases the rate of absorption of iron in your body.
What are the iron-rich foods for kids?
The first thing that strikes a mom’s mind on hearing iron-rich foods are the green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, broccoli etc. But, it makes any kid turn away his face, leave alone eat them.
So, here are the iron-rich foods every kid will eat without making faces:
Lean meat and Tuna
For our non-vegetarian heroes, this is the source of haem iron. Organ meat, liver, dark chicken and shredded tuna are the important part of their meal.
Pro tip: Remove the fat from the meat and make a light stew or shredded tuna salad for the kid. Mix it with pureed vegetables to give an extra boost.
Did you know that potatoes also contain iron and Vitamin C?
However, potato skin contains five times as much iron as the potato. And every kid loves potatoes in any way. So, leave the skin on while cooking chips or baked potatoes.
For vegetarians, this is a good compromise. Even ½ cup of soya bean, kidney beans or white beans has approximately 4 gm of iron.
Mash your beans and add to your vegetables or lentil salad. Serve the beans with chapatti or rice for a full meal.
Pro tip: Hummus made with chickpea will add to the nutrition.
Kids love dry fruits especially raisins which are rich in iron. They also prevent constipation. So, you can add them to their favourite sweet dish like halwa, kheer, etc.
Oatmeal cereals available in markets are fortified with additional iron to help kids get maximum nutrition. They are also a good source of fibre. One serving of oatmeal suffices for 100 percent daily intake of iron.
Peanut butter and jelly
Use them with multigrain bread for a kid-friendly nutritious meal of the day. After all, all our heroes deserve a treat as well.
Pumpkins are already full of nutrition. Their seeds also contain 6 mg of iron per half cup. Use them in your seasonings or mix them with raisins for a trail mix. Dried apricots and prunes can be used as well.
Lastly, you can’t resist giving green leafy vegetables to your kids as they are the richest source of iron, containing 13 mg per half cup. So, mix them with potato and make your favourite cutlets or parathas.
And kids, if you dream of being a Superhero, then stop making your moms run behind you and start helping them in making you healthy. After all, “Super work begins at home”.
You might also like:
- How to motivate your child to eat healthy food?
- 7 things to take care of while packing a child’s lunchbox
Liked the post? Don’t forget to share!
Do you have any other ideas to make your child eat iron-rich foods without making faces? Share them in the comments below!
Well, our deitician can prepare specific diet-chart to overcome iron-deficiency in your child. Get in touch with us today!Consult Us