It has come to my attention recently that I could be more proactive in ensuring my family members are eating foods which are good sources of iron. Especially now that the winter months are looming, and tiredness and lethargy and likely to become increasingly common complaints.
I decided to do a little research online, and found the information to be either, vague, too scientific, or just not family friendly. Clams and oysters may be a good scource of iron, however, my purse strings are not that long, I’m not a gourmet chef and I doubt anyone in my household would eat such foods anyway.
After several hours trawling through dozens of websites I thought I would share with you what I have learnt, and let you know my ideas for child friendly meals. So here goes:
Facts About Iron:
- There are two types of iron.
- Non Haem iron – which comes from plant sources.
- Haem iron – which comes from animal sources.
- Haem iron is more easily absorbed by the body than non-haem iron.
- Excessive cow’s milk can inhibit iron absorption (Note: no one suggests you should cut out milk as in itself milk contains important vitamins and minerals. If you are concerned please seek medical advice.)
- Vitamin C can encourage iron absorption – try to combine high iron foods with foods which contain Vitamin C to get the most benefit.
The following foods are high in iron: (*source NHS)
- liver (not suitable when you are pregnant)
- dried fruit
- fortified breakfast cereals
- soybean flour
- most dark leafy vegetables
Right…. simple! Yes? No? It didnt exactly answer my question of what am I going to feed a four year old! So using this new found knowledge I constructed a list of meals which I know my child will eat and provide a healthy amount of iron. I hope you get some ideas …
Breakfast (Washed down with fruit juice eg. orange for the Vitamin C effect.)
- Iron fortified breakfast cereals – when browsing the aisles check the boxes. Many cereals are fortified with vitamins and iron. You could also add fresh berries such as strawberries and blueberries for added Vitamin C.
- Egg on wholemeal toast.
- Yoghurt with dried fruit such as raisins, apricots and figs. Add some chopped nuts for an extra boost (walnuts and almonds for example).
- Baked beans on wholemeal toast.
- Cheese and tomato on wholemeal bread with Marmite.
- Omelette with added peppers and ham.
- Baked potato with tuna, and side salad or orange juice.
- Homemade vegetable soup – spefically, and coincidentally, my own recipe is good for this, you can find it here. Obviously it could be blended if your children prefered.
- Spaghetti bolognaise with extra peppers.
- Gammon with cabbage and skin on wedges. You can find a great tasty recipe here, just substitute the white cabbage for savoy.
- Vegetarian lasagne with oodles of spinach.
- Pork sausages with cheesy broccoli pasta.
- Sweet and sour turkey with brown rice.
- Sliced ham served with canteloupe melon
- Dark chocolate
- Raisins, or other dried fruit such as apricots, figs and dates
Obviously these ideas are only a small example of the type of meals that contain high iron foods. It just goes to show you don’t need to serve up fillet steak and seafood paella!
If these fail however, you can always try the old fashioned method of cooking in an iron pan. Apparently some of the minerals will transfer to the food.
Do you have any favourite high iron child friendly meal suggestions?