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1,618 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dd is 10 months old and doesn't eat many solids. Her ped. says she is has low iron. (She was 11.5 and they like to see it at 12) Of course, I was given a scrip for a combo vitamin that has Vit D (and A and C), floruide and iron. I didn't have it filled. I want to try to increase her iron levels through solid foods, not vitamins.
The ped said the only foods that have iron are meats and leafy greens. I know this is not true due to research.

She prefers to feed herself finger foods. She does alright with a spoon and baby food but doesn't seem to get too much in her mouth.

She likes to eat organic baby carrots but I know she can't have them often because of the nitrates and am not sure if they are iron rich. I don't think they are. She doesn't eat meat too much. Maybe some chicken every now and then. She likes sweet potato, avacado sometimes, Cheerios. Sqished peas. Doesn't seem to like banana very much. Other fruits seem to be ok.

I don't know. I don't seem to have many ideas. Does anyone else have any ideas? TIA

5,706 Posts
There are plenty of foods that a 10-month-old can beat beside meat to get iron.

Lentils and adzuki beans are excellent, apricots, egg yolk, sea vegetables, tofu, sweet potatoes, and quinoa. Vegetarian iron sources are not absorbed as well as animal sources so it is beneficial to eat vitamin C rich foods with them. Of course, it is best to wait until your child is one year old for citrus so things like broccoli, greens, cabbage, and parsley are good. If your child doesn't like them, mince them up really fine in your food processor or make a soup and puree it in the blender. (see this link for more ways to incorporate veggies into dishes your child likes.

You might not be familiar with sea vegetables but they are extremely good sources of minerals. Hijiki and arame are high in iron. You can grind them in a blender or coffee grinder to powder and cook with rice, soup, etc. Get them at a health food store.

Also, here's a jello type dish made with agar agar which is rich in iron:


Agar Agar is a sea vegetable rich in vitamins and minerals. It is a soothing food, perfect for infants or sick children.

2 cups pure fruit juice
3 tablespoons agar agar flakes
1 cup sliced fruit (bananas, peaches, strawberries, etc.)

Place juice and agar agar in pan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes, or until flakes are dis-solved. Remove from heat and stir in fruit. Pour Un-Jello into a serving bowl or mold, or individual-size bowls. Chill 1 hour, or until firm. Serve plain, with milk, or with a dollop of yogurt.

Yield: 4 servings

Quinoa is a small grain, high in protein and iron. It is small and light and easy for infants to eat. You can get it at a health food store. Here's how you cook it.

Arame and Quinoa (you can omit the arame if you want)

Arame is rich in minerals, as well as vitamins and protein. Crumble it up, and your child will hardly notice it. Sea vegetables are especially beneficial for the child who won't eat fresh vegetables.

1 cup quinoa
2 tablespoons crushed arame
2 1/2 cups water

Place quinoa, arame, and water in pan. Cover and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low. Simmer 20 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat. Let stand covered for 5 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings

Here's a iron rich stew:

Lentil Stew

This stew is thick enough for baby to eat with her fingers.

1 cup dried lentils
1 cup brown rice
1/2 strip kombu sea vegetable (optional)
7 cups water
2 cups diced carrots, sweet potatoes, or winter squash
1 cup sliced green beans
1 cup minced kale, collards, chard, or cabbage
1 cup diced tomatoes with juice
1 tablespoon Bragg Liquid Aminos or low-sodium soy
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon miso

Place lentils, rice, kombu, and water in a large pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 25 minutes. Add carrots, potatoes or squash, and green beans. Cover and simmer 20 minutes, or until lentils are soft. Stir in remaining ingredients. Simmer 5 minutes. Top with shredded cheese, yogurt, or sour cream if desired.

Yield: 8 servings

Note: Here is a delicious way to use up leftover stew.

Lentil Bars

Let stew sit in the refrigerator overnight to thicken. Spread stew in an oiled baking pan. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes. Remove bars from oven and top with shredded cheese. Bake another 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Remove from oven. Wait 5 minutes before cutting to allow bars to set.

2,260 Posts
I was borderline anemic most of my life until I made a few dietary changes, now my iron levels are great!!

Some foods that helped me:

*dried apricots and prunes (sulpher free!!)
*dark leafy greens, such as kale, chard, spinach, etc
*organic blackstrap and sorghum molasses
*sea vegis (I love putting these in stirfries and miso, my faves are hijiki and wakame; nori is also delicious in a sushi roll!)
*quinoa (makes a great hot cereal)
*tritacale (a hybrid grain, rye/wheat)~the flour makes a nice hearty bread

I don't like eggs and don't eat red meat, I also eat very little other meat, so I know that you can boost iron levels w/out consuming a bunch of meat. Besides, the vegetarian sources are much easier digested and assimilated.

My ds has always loved steamed kale or other steamed greens w/ a bit of oriental plum sauce mixed in and sesame seeds sprinkled on top.

You could make a breakfast cereal of quinoa and toss in a bit of diced apricots or prunes, maybe even sweeten w/ sorghum molasses. A nice iron-rich way to start the day.

If she will drink a smoothie, perhaps you could add a tsp of Spirulina powder and a leaf or two of kale for a nice iron boost!

Vegi sushi rolls are easy to make and always a hit w/ my ds. I make them w/ nori, sushi rice, lightly steamed and marinated skinny carrot slices sticks, avocado, cucumber, pickled beets, etc. If you eat egg, you could add egg, or even shrimp or crab if you eat that. roll up tight w/ nori on outside and dip in tamari, tamari/wasabi, plum sauce, peanut sauce, etc.

1,618 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you cathe for all the great sounding recipes. I had never heard of sea vegatables until I came to MDC but as soon as Isabel leaves, I'll go to the health food store and get some. Cant' wait to try some of these recipes.

Thank you bebe luna for all the great ideas.

One thing I am confused about though...
Cathe said that the iron in veggies isn't absorbed as well by the body but bebe luna says it is absorbed better than meat iron!
Help! Which one is it or does it depend on the type of veggie/meat. TIA again!

5,706 Posts
I have done a lot of research on iron and there is too types heme iron from animal sources and non-heme from plant sources. Everything I have found suggests that plant sources are not assimilated as easily.

However I do agree that plant food are more easily digested than animal foods.

If you disagree, BebeLuna - I'd be interested in your sources as I am researching for my next book for pregnant woman and iron is something I am working to include in my recipes - especially vegetarian sources.
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