We have teamed up with nutritionist Jules, from @wholesomelyhungry, who shares her bub’s day on a plate (in a Catchy) and highlights one of the most important nutrients she considers with each meal for our babies/toddlers/kids… IRON!
Iron is often overlooked, but did you know that it is one of the most important nutrients to consider when feeding babies-toddlers-kiddies?!
Iron is essential for the growth and development of our bubs, especially their little brains! Insufficient iron can lead to iron deficiency and anaemia, affecting their energy levels, immune response and leading to a range of neurological symptoms.
Our bubs are born with stored iron that carries them through the first 6 months of life. However, from 7 months old these stores are depleted, making it crucial to get sufficient iron through their diets. Up until 2 years old our bubs need as much daily iron as adults, therefore iron is absolutely worth becoming more mindful around when preparing their meals and always considering, is there iron in this meal?
One of the biggest misconceptions is that you have to be eating red meat to meet your iron requirements. Whilst iron is better absorbed from animal products, there are other great iron-rich sources through your vegetables and legumes! I always say, variety is best (for their little guts) so mix it up as much as you can!
Below are some of the foods highest in iron and some ways you can incorporate these into your bubs diet:
Plant sources (Non-heme iron):
+ oats (porridge, smoothies, muffins, overnight oats)
+ spinach, broccoli, kale (smoothies, omelettes, pasta sauces, steamed, baked kale chippies)
+ Tofu & tempeh- (pan fried with ghee)
+ Chickpeas & kidney/black beans (fritters, stews, hummus, use chickpea flour in fritters, patties or cookies)
+ Quinoa (adding into pattie’s, stews, curries, savoury muffins)
+ Lentils (curries, pattie’s, lentil shepherd's pie)
+ Nuts (add nut butter onto sandwiches, into smoothies, mixed through yoghurt, porridge, grind and add into baking such as muffins)
+ Seeds: Chia seeds (chia pudding, chia jam, smoothies), Hemp seeds & flaxseeds (smoothies, yoghurt, omelettes, drizzle the oils onto their meals)
Animal products (Heme iron):
+ Chicken liver (fry up & serve or grate into meals)
+ Beef (bolognese, stews, burger patties, lasagne)
+ Lamb (slow cooked)
+ Wild caught salmon- if you can’t find fresh, tinned wild salmon is a great alternative (bpa free tins if possible) - great to make salmon patties
+ Chicken - tenderloins, thighs, breasts, minced chicken burgers/patties
+ Pasture-raised eggs- omelettes, boiled egg, add cooked eggs into smoothies (they can’t taste it!).
Bonus tip: When feeding your bub iron rich food, always serve it alongside something with vitamin C to enhance the absorption (e.g. spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, sauerkraut, berries, etc.)
By contrast, calcium can inhibit the absorption of iron, so it’s best to serve dairy products like yoghourt, cheese & milk away from iron rich meals (small quantities are shown to be okay).
Recipes with @wholesomelyhungry are coming soon to our blog, so stay tuned!
Jules (AKA @wholesomelyhungry) is a Nutritionist, mama to Georgey ( the cute bub in the picture above) and very passionate foodie. Jules lives by the philosophy of 'Food as Medicine', a way to nourish and fuel our bodies with whole foods, replacing the beliefs of diets and deprivation with a sustainable and holistic approach to health and wellbeing.