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How can I make sure my toddler is getting enough iron if they don't eat meat?

Hi everyone,

I am a mother of a 2-year-old toddler who has recently become very picky with her food. She used to like meat, but now refuses to eat it. I am worried about her getting enough iron in her diet since we all know how important it is for toddlers to have the right amount of iron for proper growth and development. So I was wondering, how can I make sure my toddler is getting enough iron if she doesn't eat meat? Are there any vegetarian sources of iron that I can include in her diet? Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

All Replies


Hi there,

I have a 2-year-old son who stopped eating meat a few months ago. Since then, I have been making a conscious effort to ensure that he gets enough iron in his diet. I was amazed by the variety of vegetarian sources of iron available, and we have been incorporating them into his meals.

One of the things that have worked for us is using a multivitamin that contains iron. It can be a bit difficult to ensure that he is getting the right amount of iron, so the multivitamin provides an additional guarantee. I also offer him leafy greens like spinach and kale, which I sauté with garlic and olive oil. I add grated cheese or lemon juice to make it more appealing to him.

Beans and lentils have also been a great addition to his diet. My son loves mashed chickpeas with a pinch of cumin and lemon juice. We also make burritos with black beans, paprika, and bell peppers, which are a hit for him.

I haven't noticed any issues with his iron level, and he is generally healthy and active. So, overall, I can say that it is possible to provide children with a vegetarian diet that includes enough iron to support their growth and development. Just be creative, experiment with different options, and don't hesitate to consult with your pediatrician if you have any concerns.


Hey there!

I've also experienced this situation with my 3-year-old daughter who stopped eating meat earlier this year. As a concerned parent, I was worried about her iron level and overall nutrition. However, I didn't want to force her to eat meat as it could have worsened the situation.

After consulting with a pediatrician, I learned that toddlers require around 7-10 mg of iron in their diet each day. There are several vegetarian sources of iron that I include in my daughter's diet, such as green vegetables (spinach, broccoli, and bok choy), greek yogurt, eggs, tofu, beans, and lentils.

Additionally, I started to be mindful of how she was consuming these iron-rich foods. For instance, I pair the green vegetable with a source of vitamin C, like oranges or strawberries, as this can help her body in absorbing iron better.

Lastly, I involve her in meal preparation such as letting her participate in making her smoothies, adding nut butter, and using a blender. These methods have gone a long way in helping her to consume nutritious food.

So, to conclude, vegetarian sources of iron can effectively supplement the iron in meat products. Nonetheless, I'd suggest seeing a pediatrician for a proper diet plan because it varies according to each child's nutritional needs.



I was in the same position as you a few months ago. My 2-year-old son also stopped eating meat and I was worried about his iron levels. However, after consulting with his pediatrician and doing some research, I found out that there are plenty of vegetarian sources of iron that can be incorporated into his diet.

Some of the iron-rich foods that I give my son include leafy greens like spinach and kale, lentils, chickpeas, tofu, fortified cereals, and beans. I also make sure to pair these foods with foods that contain vitamin C, such as oranges, strawberries, and bell peppers, as vitamin C helps the body absorb iron better.

Another thing I do is cook in cast iron pans as they can increase the iron content of the food.

Finally, I give my son an iron supplement once a day to ensure he's getting enough iron. Make sure to consult with your pediatrician before giving any supplements to your child.

Hope this helps!


Hello everyone,

As a vegetarian family, we've always been extra mindful of our toddler's nutrient intake, including iron. We make sure to offer iron-rich foods at every meal, from green vegetables and legumes to fortified grains and cereals.

We also prioritize diverse protein sources like eggs, tofu, and yogurt as they're high in iron but often get overlooked by meat-eaters. Another great way to ensure your toddler is getting enough iron is to include iron-rich foods in snacks, such as dried fruits like raisins, dates, and apricots.

When it comes to making sure our daughter's body is consuming the iron from food effectively, we don't hesitate to top her meals with vitamin-C rich foods like diced red peppers, berries or have a glass of citrus juice. Along with that, we also prepare our meals in cast-iron cookwear, another way to add iron in our diets.

While it can be more challenging to follow a vegetarian diet for the little one, and it's essential to introduce new foods regularly and be patient, it's worth it for their overall health and well-being. So, I reassure you that you won't have to struggle with making sure your child has enough iron intake if they are vegetarians.

Please make sure to consult with your child's pediatrician if you feel like iron supplements are necessary for the situation.



I had a similar experience with my daughter who is a vegetarian and doesn't eat meat. It's important to note that vegetarian sources of iron sometimes are harder for our bodies to absorb. One important tip that has helped us is pairing these iron-rich foods with Vitamin C. Citrus fruits, such as orange or grapefruit, are rich in Vitamin C, along with red peppers and kiwi.

Additionally, when using non-meat sources of iron, it is beneficial to be mindful of phytates in the diet. Phytates can be found in high concentrations in whole grains, seeds, and legumes. These compounds bind to minerals like iron, making them difficult for the body to absorb. Nonetheless, there are strategies we can use to minimize the effect of phytates, such as soaking and sprouting grains and legumes.

Lastly, Iron supplements can be another option to ensure our toddlers get the right amount of iron. However, it is essential to work closely with our toddlers' healthcare provider to make sure of the correct amount per day.

I hope you find this helpful, and it's great to have alternatives to traditional meat products to offer our children.


Hi everyone,

I have a nearly 3-year-old daughter who has been a vegetarian since we started introducing solids. As vegetarians, we aimed to provide a balanced diet to our daughter as we understand the importance of iron to support healthy growth and development.

Including dark leafy greens, beans, and fortified cereals into her meals are some of the ways we ensure she gets iron. I also add chia seeds to her food to boost her iron levels; they're loaded with iron and omega-3 fatty acids. Also, considering how crucial protein sources are, we make sure to incorporate hummus, yogurt, and tofu.

However, despite making the effort, I found out our daughter was still borderline anemic in her last blood test. So, I took an alternative approach with my husband's advice, giving my daughter the appropriate supplement after consulting with the pediatrician to ensure she's getting the appropriate dosage.

But as an important note for everyone, I urge you to not take your child's iron levels for granted, and if you suspect your child has an iron deficiency, consult with your pediatrician or healthcare provider. Giving more of iron-rich foods doesn't guarantee that your child will get sufficient iron intake.

Thank you!


Hi there,

I have a 4-year-old son who is a picky eater and has never been a fan of meat since he started eating solid foods. As you mentioned, it's important to ensure our little ones get enough iron for their growth and development, but it doesn't always have to come from meat.

One of the best sources of iron for toddlers are green leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli, and kale. We incorporate spinach into his morning smoothies, sautéed with garlic and butter into his mac and cheese and stir fry meals. One of his favorites is a spinach banana smoothie made with just spinach, banana, almond milk and he doesn't even realize he's getting a dose of iron.

Another great iron-rich food for toddlers are legumes, including lentils and chickpeas. We make a batch of lentil soup every week or toss chickpeas in his salads or wrap meals.

And when in doubt, we make use of iron-fortified foods, like cereals that are labeled with "25% iron" on the packaging.

Lastly, I agree with others in suggesting you talk to your child's pediatrician, who can recommend an appropriate iron supplement or offering guidance on the child's diet.

Hope this helps!

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