Natural Food Sources High in Iron for Children

Iron deficiency is still a problem in some children. Especially children who are picky eaters, drink mostly milk, and lack foods high in iron. In fact, iron is very important for the body. Therefore, eating iron-rich foods for children should not be missed. Children should consume at least 2-3 portions of food sources of iron, but where are the sources?

Why is iron important for children?

Iron is a mineral found in animals and some plants. Iron is an essential component of hemoglobin in our body. Hemoglobin is part of red blood cells as oxygen-carrying protein from the lungs to the rest of the body.

Iron will give hemoglobin the power to carry or bind oxygen in the blood so that oxygen can reach the body cells that need it. Without iron, the body can't make hemoglobin and can't produce enough red blood cells. This means the cells in the body will not get enough oxygen.

If you have this, iron deficiency anemia can occur. This condition will make the child lack oxygen-rich blood so that he is not energized when playing, does not focus while studying, and so on. Iron deficiency can also inhibit children's growth and development.

Therefore, iron for children must be fulfilled in order to support their needs for activity, growth and development.

How much iron is needed in children?

Everyone, both children and adults, need iron to help increase the amount of hemoglobin so that anemia (lack of blood) occurs. However, of course, iron needs vary for each age group and gender. According to the Nutritional Adequacy Rate published by the Ministry of Health, the following nutritional needs must be met:

  • Children 4-6 years of age need 9 mg of iron every day.
  • Children 7-9 years of age need 10 mg of iron every day.

As for adolescents, iron needs are determined based on the sex of the child. Here are the details:


  • Ages 10-12 years need 13 mg of iron every day.
  • Ages 13-15 need 19 mg of iron every day.
  • Ages 16-18 years old need 15 mg of iron every day.


  • Ages 10-12 years need 20 mg of iron every day.
  • Ages 13-15 need 26 mg of iron every day.
  • Age 16-18 years old need 26 mg of iron every day.

What iron-rich foods are suitable for children?

There are many foods that can help increase the amount of iron for your child, both natural foods and processed foods. Natural foods that contain iron such as:

  • Beef or chicken liver.
  • Lean red meat such as beef, mutton and lamb.
  • Seafood such as shellfish, tuna, salmon and shrimp.
  • Legumes such as kidney beans, white beans, soybeans, or black beans.
  • Green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and kale
  • Tofu
  • Chicken meat
  • Egg yolk
  • Dried fruit such as raisins and dates

In addition to iron found in foods naturally, several food or beverage products are now enriched with iron, such as:

  • Oatmeal
  • Cereals
  • Milk
  • Pasta
  • Iron fortified wheat product

Tips for meeting iron needs for children

In addition to consuming nutrient-rich food sources, don't forget to meet the needs of vitamin C. Because vitamin C helps digest the iron that enters the body. Especially for food sources rich in non-heme types of iron (derived from vegetables), vitamin C is needed to help absorb iron.

Limit the amount of liquid milk to 473-710 ml a day, and should not be taken with food because it can inhibit iron absorption optimally.

Add foods high in iron to cooking for children. For example, you are cooking macaroni, give it a topping containing pieces of meat and broccoli which are high in iron. Choose cereals for children that are fortified with iron.

Create a meal plan that includes iron-rich foods from animal, plant-based, and vitamin C sources.

Before you give natural foods that are high in iron for the above children, consult your doctor first. The doctor will explain the safe steps that you can apply.

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