What is Iron & Why is it Important for Toddlers?

Iron is a vital component of red blood cells, contributing to the creation of hemoglobin—the part of red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body.1 Everyone needs iron, especially your growing toddler, who needs plenty of iron to support:2

  • Ensuring the body is getting enough oxygen

  • Physical growth

  • Nerve development

  • Connective tissue health

  • Metabolism

  • Cell function

  • Hormone production

There are two kinds of iron: heme iron and nonheme iron, or iron from animal products and iron from other sources.2 Heme iron is more easily absorbed 3, but both forms can contribute to an iron-rich diet.

How Much Iron Do Toddlers Need?

Between the ages of one and three, your little one needs 7 milligrams of iron per day.1 Some toddlers who’ve made the switch from formula to cow’s milk and solid foods may not get as much iron as they previously did without careful meal planning by their caregivers, putting them at risk for iron deficiency and anemia.2

What are Signs of Iron Deficiency?

Here are the telltale signs that your toddler isn’t getting enough iron:2

  • Skin is more pale than usual

  • Unusual irritability with seemingly no cause

  • Lack of appetite

  • Lethargy

  • Dizziness and headaches

  • Irregular heartbeat

  • Poor concentration

  • Susceptibility to illness and infection

  • Slowed growth rate

  • Slowed development of motor skills

Talk to your health care provider if you suspect your child may be iron deficient.

What are Iron-Rich foods for Toddlers?

When planning snacks and meals for your toddler, keep in mind these iron-rich foods:3

  • Iron-fortified cereals and grains

  • Whole grains

  • Some fish, like sardines, and oysters

  • Lean meats and

  • Poultry

  • Liver

  • Legumes and

  • Lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, and white beans

  • Dark green or leafy vegetables (like spinach and kale)

Kid-Tested Tricks for Healthy Eating

Tips for adding more Iron to Your Toddler’s Diet

Along with providing an array of iron-rich foods for your toddler, you can ensure they’re getting all the iron they need with these helpful tips:

  • Serve up plenty of vitamin C. Foods high in vitamin C (such as, tomatoes, peppers, orange juice, broccoli, cantaloupe, cauliflower and potatoes) help your toddler’s tummy absorb iron better.3

  • Consider supplementing with a toddler nutritional drink like Enfagrow A+. Including up to 2 servings a day of Enfagrow A+®, an every day toddler nutritional drink with brain-building DHA, as part of your toddler’s overall diet, may help your toddler get closer to or reach recommended levels of DHA, iron, calcium, vitamin C and proteins. Enfagrow A+ is available in milk and vanilla flavours in both powder and ready to drink formats.

    Ensuring your little one has a well-rounded diet is key to helping them grow up happy and healthy. Explore more tricks for healthy toddler eating to ensure your little one is getting enough of each of the key nutrients needed for their health.

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