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Babies Health & Nutrition Toddlers

List of Iron-rich Food to Boost Your Child’s Iron Levels

Iron is needed to make haemoglobin found in red blood cells.

These red blood cells carry oxygen around our child’s body, to ensure that their organs, muscles, tissues and cells receive oxygen.

Iron is also essential for brain development and optimal function of their central nervous system.

 

How much iron do babies and toddlers need per day?

Health experts advise that full-term healthy babies are born with an iron reserve. During the first six month, babies obtain iron through breastmilk and/or iron-fortified infant formula milk. When they are ready to start solids, foods rich in iron can be included in their diet so they receive essential nutrients from fresh food too.

As a guide on the amount of iron essential for healthy development, babies from 7 to 12 months need 11mg of iron per day, and toddlers (1 – 3 years) require about 7mg of iron daily.

Babies who have low iron levels, or are diagnosed with anaemia or iron deficiency, may experience symptoms such as pale skin, frequent tiredness, dizziness and a slower development. It is important to seek medical advice or treatment from health experts. Doctors may prescribe multivitamins with iron for kids, or iron supplements for children to include in their diets.

 

List of Wholesome Foods Rich in Iron

Through diet, children can obtain iron from their daily meals. Eating a balanced diet is part of forming healthy eating habits in the family, to educate young children about conscious eating.

There are 2 types of iron – Heme and non-heme iron; from meat and vegetables respectively. Between both types of iron, heme sources are more easily absorbed by the body. Here is a list of iron-rich food that are great options for your babies and toddlers:

Beef up your child’s iron levels with tender beef cubes simmered in a tangy tomato broth – thumbs up for mama!

#1: Red meat

Beef, lamb, pork and duck are types of red meat that parents can prepare for children. However, due to religion or other reasons, certain red meat may be avoided. Hence, parents should look to other poultry or non-heme iron from vegetables instead.

Amount of iron your child gets: 100g beef = approx. 2.6mg iron; 100g lamb = approx. 1.9mg iron; 100g duck = approx. 2.7mg

Food ideas: Grill, stir fry, roast or bake – put together a one-pot beef stew, lamb pasta, or duck porridge. For young children, ensure that meat is fully cooked, avoiding semi-rare cooking states to reduce risk of food contamination.

These egg-cellent source of iron serves up a host of nourishment for your growing child.

#2: Eggs

Besides being touted as a brain food for its doses of DHA and Choline, eggs are high in iron too. For babies, serve them fully cooked as undercooked ones may pose a risk for food poisoning due to salmonella bacteria.

Amount of iron your child gets: 1 whole egg = approx. 1mg iron

Food ideas: One of the most versatile ingredients, eggs can be served in a variety of ways. Hard boiled eggs are great for babies and toddlers for that palate experience. Stuff omelettes, scrambled eggs and baked frittatas with added goodness from spinach and tomatoes (or other veggies!) for extra nutrients! Or simply crack an egg in your toddler’s bowl of Mee Sua – easy peasy!

 

Iron-rich lentils are usually blended, added in soup or made into a dip. A great palate experience for kids!

#3: Beans

Don’t belittle these itsy-bitsy beans! Kidney beans, lentils and chickpeas provide a rich source of iron for growing children. Vegans and vegetarian families may consume more of these beans for iron intake. What’s more, these beans add fibre to your child’s diet too, easing his bowel movements.

Amount of iron your child gets: 100g kidney beans = approx. 2.2mg iron; 100g lentils = approx. 3.3mg iron; 100g chickpeas = approx. 2.9mg iron

Food ideas: For babies, these beans may be blended and mashed to prevent choking. Try a mixed beans hummus as a deliciously healthy dip with toast or celery sticks; or perhaps a warm beans gravy to go with their iron-fortified cereal or rice. For toddlers, roasted chickpeas make tasty and healthy finger food too!

Kale juice, baked kale chips, sautéed kale and kale in salad – diverse ways to serve these greens to your kids!

#4: Kale and Spinach

These leafy greens are often added into baby’s food for good reasons. In addition to vitamins and minerals, Kale and spinach are rich in iron, and boost high nutritional goodness that support healthy development. Clearly, Popeye knew what’s good for him!

Amount of iron your child gets: 100g kale = approx. 1.5mg iron; 100g spinach = approx. 2.7mg iron

Food ideas: To retain the nutrients in spinach and kale, cook them briefly before they wilt completely. These vegetables are brilliant as is – try sautéed spinach with garlic, baked kale chips, or simply add a handful of these delectable greens into your child’s bowl of grains or noodles.

Look out for iron-fortied pasta, cereals and wholegrains to boost your child’s iron levels.

#5: Iron-fortified cereals, pastas and whole grains

Instead of white rice, consider offering iron-fortified cereals and pastas. That way, your child receives his daily dose of iron intake from his source of carbs too!

Amount of iron your child gets: Refer to individual packaging

Food ideas: Infant cereals enriched with iron are convenient food options. Serve according to the recommended way, so simply add fruits rich in Vitamin C to aid in iron absorption!

 

Seafood such as clams and oysters serve up a dish of succulent and juicy sources of iron for kids to enjoy!

#6: Seafood

Clams and oysters are ocean-fresh sources of iron-rich foods to add to your child’s diet. However, do be careful with the first introduction of seafood to your little ones, especially if there’s a seafood allergy in the family.

Amount of iron your child gets: 100g cooked clams = approx. 28mg; 100g cooked oyster (farmed) = approx. 7.8mg iron

Food ideas: Clams are commonly added into porridge or soup-based meals for their natural seafood sweetness! If your child enjoys fresh seafood, try a clam and oyster pasta dish or a Spanish cuisine like paella – ensure seafood is thoroughly cooked before serving your tot.

Besides regular diet, children may consume iron-fortified formula to meet their daily nutritional requirements and support optimal development.

To improve iron absorption, offer foods or drinks rich in vitamin C to enhance iron absorption. Freshly squeezed juices usually score with the kids! All in a bid to raise healthy and happy world-ready children!

 

Are you including iron rich food in your children’s meals? Do share them too!

Categories
Health & Nutrition Toddlers

Recipe: 3 Healthy and Nutritious Chinese Soups Your Kids Will Love

Nothing quite beats a comforting bowl of hot nutritious soup to end the day.

For the Chinese, soups are often a part of their daily meals. Bowls of nutritious goodness are served up over generations and they make a delicious dish on its own, or as a perfect complement to rice and dishes.

Healthy broths are easy to prepare, and they pack a punch of flavour and taste to tease the palates. Families can easily enjoy soups by cooking them over the stove, or simply putting the ingredients into a slow cooker in the morning, and return home to soup that has been simmered for hours.

Using readily available ingredients, we share 3 popular Chinese soup recipes to delight soup lovers, while nourishing your family’s health. For children under one, some parents prefer to serve soups sans salt, so salt to taste is optional. Feel free to substitute pork with chicken according to your family’s preference. Bowls up and enjoy!

Lotus Root Pork Ribs Soup Recipe

 


Lotus Root Pork Ribs Soup Recipe

Serves: 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 2 litres water
  • 300g pork ribs, or, chicken bones and/or breast
  • 250g lotus root, peeled and sliced
  • 5 red dates, washed and slit
  • 2 honey dates, washed and slit
  • 1 can braised peanuts, or peanuts from the dried goods section (optional, or if child has peanut allergy)
  • Dried scallops (optional, or if child has seafood allergy)
  • Salt to taste

Steps:

  1. Clean pork ribs and blanch in boiling water to remove scum. Remove and set aside.
  2. In a pot, add water, honey dates, red dates, lotus root, blanched pork ribs and bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce flame to low fire and simmer for about 1.5 – 2 hours.
  3. Add peanuts and salt, and serve.

Nutritional Benefits:
Lotus roots are loaded with essential minerals such as iron, fibre, Vitamin B and Vitamin C. They are believed to improve immunity and digestion, helps in constipation and boosts energy levels.

 

Spinach Egg Drop Soup Recipe

 


Spinach Egg Drop Soup Recipe

Serves: 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 2 litres water
  • 50g ikan bilis (dried anchovies)
  • 200g baby spinach
  • 3 well beaten eggs
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1tbsp wolfberries (optional)
  • Salt to taste

Steps:

  1. Bring water to boil and add ikan bilis to prepare broth. Boil and simmer for 30-45mins, and remove ikan bilis.
  2. Add spinach, garlic and wolfberries and cook until the spinach begins to wilt.
  3. Stir the mixture and allow broth to swirl, then carefully pour in the eggs, while stirring the broth. The eggs will cook upon contact with the broth and create ribbons. Season to taste with salt, if necessary.

Nutritional Benefits:
Ikan bilis are high in calcium and proteins which are needed for strong bones, teeth and healthy cellular functions. These little fish also boost iron and healthy polyunsaturated fats (omega-3 fatty acids) which are essential for healthy red blood cells, as well as brain and eye development. In addition to iron and proteins, Popeye’s favourite spinach is packed with niacin, zinc and Vitamins A, C, E and K, important nutrients to support heart health and promote healthy skin and hair.

 

Corn Carrot Potato Soup Recipe

 


Corn Carrot Potato Soup Recipe

Serves: 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 250 grams pork ribs, or, chicken bones and/or breast
  • 2 litres water
  • 2 corn cobs, cut to chunks
  • 2-3 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and cut to chunks
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut to chunks
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced thinly
  • 1 tomato, sliced to wedges
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • Salt, to taste

Steps:

  1. Clean pork ribs and blanch in boiling water to remove scum. Remove and set aside.
  2. In a pot, add water and all ingredients (except salt) and bring to boil. Once boiling, simmer over low fire for another 40-50 mins. Season to taste with salt.

Nutritional Benefits:
Corn, carrots, potatoes, celery and tomatoes are brimming with flavonoids, antioxidants, and are excellent sources of Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, potassium and fibre. They help to protect our body from infections, support our nervous system and keep our metabolism healthy.

These homemade Chinese soup recipes are favourites with many families for their quick and easy preparation methods, and hearty nutritional benefits especially for children. Soups are also a brilliant way of meeting the day’s fluid intake as we raise healthy, world-ready children by eating well.

What are some of your family’s favourite soups? Do share them too!