Why minerally-rich foods are SO important for our little ones.

Why minerally-rich foods are SO important for our little ones.
Did you know that iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency in children?  Making this mineral one of the most important nutrients to include in your child’s diet. In the first 2 years of life babies and toddlers are growing at a rapid rate! It is during this stage of rapid growth when the body needs sufficient dietary iron. Although many iron-fortified products exist on the market today, the type of iron in supplements and iron-fortified foods are known to increase constipation and are much harder on a baby’s delicate digestive system than iron-rich, real iron sources.

Why do we need iron?
Iron is an essential nutrient required to make hemoglobin, a component of red blood cells, which transports oxygen throughout the body. An adequate supply of iron is necessary to ensure normal growth, healthy energy levels, brain development, and reduce the risk of anemia.

What are some factors that can contribute to iron deficiency?
Too much milk in the diet: Around 12 months of age milk or formula should become “complimentary”, with the emphasis now on eating a variety of table foods. If toddlers are still drinking large amounts of milk, this can interfere with their hunger levels at meal-time and therefore not be as interested in solid food. Milk is also high in calcium and calcium can interfere with iron absorption.

Not offering iron-rich foods: Around 6 months of age, breast-milk or formula no longer contains the amount of iron a baby needs. This perfectly coincides with a baby exhibiting signs of readiness for the introduction of solid foods. Choose iron rich foods as your baby’s first food.

What are some iron rich food sources?
Animal proteins (red meat, organ meat, poultry, seafood, shell-fish, egg yolk).
Plant-based (leafy greens, beans, legumes, nut butters and sesame seeds, sea vegetables).

What are some ways to increase iron absorption at meal-time?
Drizzle freshly squeezed lemon or orange juice over plant-based sources of iron. This increases the bioavailability of non-heme* iron sources up to 3 times!  (*iron found in plant foods like whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and leafy greens).

Which Tummy Thyme meals have a good source of iron?
There are so many!! Here are some meals that are currently available: Turkey chili, Grass-fed beef ragout with brown rice, Miso-roast chicken with root vegetables, Chicken & mushroom oregano bites, Spinach & banana pancakes, Grass-fed beef bolognese with spiral pasta, Veggie Lasagne, Baked chicken & veggie rolls, Baked lentil, Carrot & sweet potato rolls.

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