Iron plays a crucial role in your child’s development. It helps our little learning-machines concentrate and is essential for growing brains. But as every parent who has scraped rejected dinners off the floor knows, kids don’t know what’s good for them!
Just getting meal into them – let alone a balanced one – can be a challenge. So we’ve come up with a few parenting hacks to help you out.
Here are 9 ways to boost your kids’ iron intake, brought to you by Care Pharmaceuticals.
1. Eat iron fortified cereals
When kids wake up in the morning their tummies are rumbling and its often the best time of the day to get them to eat a full, nutritious meal! Look for iron fortified cereals to add a mineral-rich boost to breakfast. For older kids, sprinkle their cereals with sesame or flax seeds for an extra iron kick.
2. Load up on Vitamin C
Vitamin C aids iron absorption, so make sure your kids tuck in to lots of fruits such as berries, citrus, kiwifruit, papaya and pineapple. Luckily all these fruits are super delicious! But if you have a fruit-avoider, try juicing them up and freezing your own homemade icy-poles, or whizzing berries with frozen bananas in the blender to make a healthy “ice-cream” that will fool even the most skeptical tiny food critic.
3. Supplement with FAB IRON
Sometimes it feels impossible to feed your child a balanced diet. Like when they go through a phase where they’ll only eat white food. Or cheesy pasta. Or basically nothing. They all do it at some stage (and eventually they get over it) but while you’re riding out a picky-eating phase, an iron supplement can give you peace of mind. FAB IRON liquid is an organic form of iron that’s gentle on stomachs and safe to use from age 2. It also contains vitamin C to help absorption and has a yum fruity flavour derived from apple, beetroot and cherry juice.
4. Beef it up
Meat is the ultimate source of heme iron – the form of iron most easily absorbed by the body. Liver is full of iron, but not exactly palatable for fussy eaters! Beef, turkey and chicken (dark meat) are iron-rich and much easier to dress up in kid-friendly meals. Minced meat gives you loads of options for incorporating meat into family foods: have fun assembling tacos, make cheesy quesadillas, stack up some homemade burgers, roll your own sausage rolls, or stick to the staples – a good old lasagne or a spag bol.
5. Spill the beans
If meat is off the menu, beans and pluses carry an iron punch. Put hummus and crackers in your tyke’s lunch box, use it as a sandwich spread instead of butter, or make these happy hummus faces. Dinners can be a bean fiesta too: get sneaky with hidden chickpea cheeseburgers, make your own homemade version of baked beans on toast, or conceal beans and lentils inside yummy tacos.
6. Dried fruit fun
Dried apricots, prunes, figs and sultanas contain iron and happily they made awesome on-the-go snacks! Keep some in your handbag bag to satisfy hunger cravings when out and about. They can also be rolled into bliss balls, baked into biscuits and slices, or you can DIY your own fruit leather lollipops (and win Mother of the Year in the process).
7. Sunnyside up
A good old googie egg delivers a nice little dose of iron – and a great opportunity for food creativity! Make heart-shaped egg toast, cook up funny fried egg faces, or encourage eating with cute egg cups – like these crazy-adorable cuties by Lucie Kaas.
8. Where is the green leaf?
Leafy greens such as spinach, kale and bok choy are an awesome source of iron. Unfortunately ‘green’ is not usually a colour that kids like to see on their plates! Time for some veggie deception. Whiz handfuls of spinach or kale into smoothies (berries will disguise the colour and add sweetness). Or bake your spinach into chocolate muffins. When you’re layering up burgers, use a kale leaf in place of the iceberg, or make a kale pesto to add to your pasta.
9. Recovery boost
Illnesses like gastro can deplete iron stores, so make sure you step-up the iron intake after your child has been sick. This is where supplements such as FAB IRON can really come in handy – as well as being kind to little tummies, Fab Iron contains energy boosting B group vitamins to help restore energy and overall health.
FAB IRON Liquid is formulated to assist when children aren’t getting enough iron in their diet. It contains an organic form of iron that’s gentle on their tummy and has a natural fruity flavour from a blend of apple, beetroot and cherry juices. It is preservative free, contains Vitamin C and is suitable for children from 2 years. Visit fabiron.com.au.
(this post is sponsored by FAB IRON)