Iron deficiency, also known as anaemia, is a serious problem for some children. A deficiency in iron can lead to developmental delays and behavioural problems. Getting kids to eat healthy food can be quite a chore. Some food rich in iron such as spinach or kale will go uneaten if put on a child's plate. There are some foods that are kid-friendly that are also rich in iron -- you just have to know which ones.
Fortified Breakfast Cereals
Kids generally love the fun breakfast cereals that have toys on them or games on the back. These are usually laden with sugar and don't always have much nutritional value. That is slowly changing, though, and now many cereals marketed toward children are being fortified with vitamins and minerals, including iron. Look closely on the package to see if it is iron fortified, as these are better for children than those with little or no iron.
Most meats contain a good dose of protein and iron. Both of these are good things for your kids. Amongst the healthiest meats that include iron are salmon and other fish, which kids don't always go for. Instead, try turkey, lean pork, lean beef and chicken. These can be in the form of a hamburger or grilled chicken fingers, which are kid friendly. Processed versions of these such as chicken nuggets sometimes contain little chicken or iron, so read packages carefully to see if they are truly a good source of iron for your child.
Fruits and Veggies
Leafy green vegetables and broccoli are two iron-rich foods that you may have trouble getting your kids to eat. Instead, go for sweeter fruits and vegetables that kids may like, such as strawberries, oranges, red bananas, blueberries, raspberries and avocados. Romain lettuce is high in iron and may go over with kids because it has a crunchy centre on each leaf. Tomatoes also have iron, and some kids like them while others don't. You can always serve tomatoes in the form of spaghetti and sauce. Using a whole wheat pasta will also increase iron intake when making spaghetti.
This may seem a little strange to include Mexican food on a list of kid-friendly, iron-rich foods, but beef, cheese, avocados, lettuce and tomatoes are all foods that are rich in iron. Beans are also high in iron. Making a burrito or taco out of beef, beans and cheese is kid friendly and has three iron-rich foods in it. Using low-fat versions of these can keep it heart healthy as well.
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