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9 Best Iron-Rich Foods for Babies

When little ones start eating solid food, iron is essential to help their brains grow. Here the best iron-rich foods for babies that are happy and healthy!

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Baby foodSyda Productions/Shutterstock

 

Infants are typically born with enough stored-up iron to see them through the first few months of life—plus they get iron from breast milk or formula. As they begin to rely more on solid foods, though, it’s easy to become deficient. But growing babies need iron!

It’s what helps their bodies make hemoglobin, which sends oxygen to cells throughout important organs and muscles. It’s also what helps their brains develop normally.

Are you concerned your baby’s iron levels are low? Curious about how to boost iron through diet? Here’s a closer look at our recommended iron-rich foods for babies.

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Baby spinach leaves in a bowl on dark backgroundcolnihko/Shutterstock

Dark Greens

Leafy greens such as kale and spinach are great sources of iron for your wee one. You can saute them in oil and puree them with other cooked vegetables or meats to enhance taste. You can also throw them into fruit smoothies. Bonus: The vitamin C in fruits such as oranges or strawberries enhances iron absorption.

Here’s how to cook kale—and make it delicious—for the whole family.

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Lentils and spoon in a wooden bowl close up on an old table.SMarina/Shutterstock

Lentils

There’s a good reason lentils are beloved by vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. They’re not only versatile and delicious, but they’re also one of the best plant-based sources of iron available. Use cooked lentils in a wide range of purees to give baby an iron boost.

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Close-up view of raw chicken eggs in egg box on white wooden backgroundLightField Studios/Shutterstock

Eggs

The yolk of an egg is naturally high in iron. It’s also fairly simple to cook and serve to your child. Offer it alongside some orange juice to give your child a boost of vitamin C as well as small taste of adult-style breakfasts to come.

Want another reason to give your baby eggs? Check out this research that suggests eggs are baby brain food!

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Beef meat stew. Overhead view braised beef meat stew with vegetables in pot.; Shutterstock ID 496497469; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): Taste of Homecasanisa/Shutterstock

Beef

When most people think about foods rich in iron, they think of meat. Just 3.5 ounces contain 15% of an adult’s recommended daily intake. To make beef a baby-friendly food, try cooking some until soft and pureeing with a little water to make it blend smoothly. Serve with one of these homemade baby food recipes.

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Composition with cooked quinoa in bowl and wooden spoon on tableNew Africa/Shutterstock

Quinoa

Certain grains are good sources of iron, including quinoa, a gluten-free seed that can be cooked like rice. Adding cooked quinoa to purees is a great way to get a little more iron in your baby’s routine. Just one cup contains 2.8 milligrams of iron! The rest of the family will love these healthy quinoa recipes.

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boiled white beans in ceramic bowl on a rustic chicken table backgrounddenio109/Shutterstock

White Beans

Like other legumes, white beans are an excellent source of iron and, thanks to their mild taste, an easy sell to most babies. Cook them until soft, and puree solo or with other foods to create iron-rich baby food for your little one.

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Pieces of fried beef liver in frying pannadi555/Shutterstock

Liver

Hear us out: Of any type of meat, beef liver offers the highest amount of iron per serving, making it a perfect choice for boosting iron intake efficiently. Because the idea of liver may not be as naturally appealing as other foods, try combining it with other ingredients or flavors for a more palatable taste.

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Raw broccoli on wooden backgroundMarkoBr/Shutterstock

Broccoli

The cruciferous vegetable broccoli is more than a good source of folate, fiber and vitamins C and K. It’s also another whole food that naturally contains iron. Whether you steam, saute or roast this vegetable, pureeing it makes it a great iron-rich food to try for your baby.

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Organic sweet potato puree on blue backgroundAmallia Eka/Shutterstock

Sweet Potatoes


What’s great about sweet potatoes is that they not only contain iron, but also vitamin C, which makes all that iron easier for baby’s body to absorb. Even better, pureed sweet potatoes are usually appealing to babies thanks to their natural sweetness.

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