How to get enough Iron into your toddler’s diet

Why is Iron so important for your toddler? Iron is a key nutrient throughout a toddler’s development. It plays a vital role in healthy brain development — that’s right ensuring your toddler gets just 8mg a day of Iron (RDA for toddlers) could help them develop to their full potential as teenagers and adults. Maybe their dream of becoming an Astronaut or a Zoo keeper won’t seem so out of reach!

At this stage, your toddler is busy growing and developing in a number of different ways and the brain plays a vital role in this development.

Toddlers are using their brain for four key skills:

Physical development:
Good co-ordination skills are essential for any physical activity, including taking that first step in learning to walk, using a crayon to draw your first masterpiece or even playing catch with a ball.

Language development:
We all are still learning new words and phrases but it is during these first years that a child learns words for the first time. So encourage your child to talk or even sing.

Emotional and social development:
Interacting with other people and especially other children can play a role in your child’s development, helping them to learn how to interact, share and create good relationships.

Visual development:
This is a key time for toddlers to learn how to recognise objects, shapes and colours in the world around them.

There are many ways to ensure your baby is getting enough Iron in their diet. There are key foods which can contribute to your toddler’s daily iron needs. Beef is a very versatile and high in iron food — try making spaghetti bolognese, beef and vegetable stew, beef stroganoff or Italian meatballs. These use both minced beef and lean cuts and are all dinners that are suitable for your toddler that contribute to your toddler’s daily iron intake. Chicken and broccoli Bake and Bean and lentil stew are also great dinners for toddlers to ensure they are reaching their daily iron needs. Both dark green veg and beans and lentils are high in Iron. These are also cost effective so will save on the shopping bill as well as helping your toddler’s development. If your toddler is still that bit hungry, try giving them raisins or dried fruit as a high in Iron snack.

Choose fortified cereals where possible as they have added Iron.

Eggs are also a great source of Iron — ensure that they are fully cooked.

Choose wholemeal and wholegrain breads where possible.

First 1000 Days Team

Our expert team of dietitians and nutritionists have created lots of articles, tips, advice and recipes all about the importance of good nutrition to help you give your baby the healthiest possible start in life.

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