According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), toddlers ages one to three years old need 7 milligrams of iron each day. The good news is that making sure your toddler gets the recommended daily amount of iron doesn’t have to be hard.
Here are four simple steps you can take today that can make a big difference when it comes to iron intake and absorption.
- Incorporate iron-rich foods during meal and snack time.
For older kids, red meat, chicken and seafood are all great options. Getting your kids to eat meat or fish sound like an impossible task? Try leafy greens, nuts and beans. You can also find iron-fortified carbs (breads, pasta and even cereal) at virtually any grocery store that even the pickiest eaters will enjoy.
- Don’t forget the Vitamin C
To get the best bang for your buck when it comes to eating iron-rich foods, make sure you are pairing them with foods that are high in Vitamin C. Vitamin C-rich foods like oranges, kiwis, broccoli and strawberries support iron absorption.
- Limit the amount of unfortified milk.
Once your child turns one - and officially earns the ‘toddler’ title - you’ll want to limit the amount of milk they drink each day. According to the Mayo Clinic, children should have more than 24 ounces of milk a day between the ages of one and five. Drinking too much milk can make a child “fill up” and prevent the consumption of iron-rich foods, as well as lower iron absorption.
- Try iron-fortified toddler drinks.
Toddler drinks are adapted to the needs of toddlers (hence the name) and contain higher levels of vitamins and minerals compared to infant formula.
Holle’s Goat Milk Toddler Drink and Cow Milk Toddler Drink for example provides between 10-15% of a toddler’s daily iron requirements. These drinks are especially beneficial for picky eaters or toddlers who might not otherwise get the full range of nutrients, including iron, that they need during these important first few years of growth.
Parents have a lot to think about when it comes to making sure kids have a healthy, balanced diet. Hopefully, these ideas will make it easier to ensure your kids are getting the right amount of iron each day.