Iron is an important dietary mineral which is essential for the growth and development of kids- both physical and mental growth. Iron helps form hemoglobin that is found in the blood cells of the body. It has a red color pigment which gives the blood cells its color, commonly known as red blood cells. These red blood cells have hemoglobin which is responsible for carrying oxygen from lungs to different parts of the body. Hemoglobin is formed of iron containing part known as heme and protein part as globin. Without hemoglobin, the body stops producing healthy red blood cells and often shows weaker coloured cells. For iron deficiency, including some foods in your diet can really help.


The first step towards raising hemoglobin level in your kid’s body is to start including iron rich food in his/her diet. Lack of iron in children’s bodies can affect them badly as without enough iron, the child’s muscles, tissues and cell won’t get the oxygen they need. This condition of iron deficiency is most commonly known as anemia.

Newborns on breast feed can easily get required iron intake from mother’s milk for the first 6 months. But, after you switch infants to solid food, they might not be able to get enough iron, which can lead to iron deficiency in children. Our body doesn’t produce iron, so the only way to get iron is through food sources.  There are many causes responsible for iron deficiency in children. Premature born babies with low birth weight, children with chronic infections, overweight or obese kids are at high risk of iron deficiency. Teenage girls also suffer from this deficiency as their body loses iron during menstruation.

Symptoms of Iron Deficiency or Anemia in Children

  • Pale skin
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness and tiredness
  • Poor appetite
  • Craving for strange things like ice, dirt and paint
  • Slower growth and development
  • Behavioral issues
  • Frequent infection

If you notice these symptoms in your kid, you must consult a doctor. Iron supplements can only be taken under doctor’s supervision, as excess iron accumulation can cause other complications. The best way to consume any nutrient is to take it through food. That results in lesser chances of over consumption also. There are many iron containing foods in India which can help to overcome iron deficiency.

The recommended amount of iron intake depends upon the age of the kid. When a baby is born, he/ she has iron stored in their bodies after that they get iron from mother’s milk or milk supplements. Once they start eating solids, they require more iron. As per studies the recommended amount of iron in kids is:

Birth to 6 months0.27 mg (adequate)
7- 12 m11mg/ day
1-3 years7 mg/ day
4-8 years10mg/ day
9-13 years8 mg/ day
14-18 years11mg/ day (boy) 15mg/ day(girl)


What are iron foods?

Encouraging your child for a nutritious iron rich diet is the first step to prevent the problem of iron deficiency or anemia in children. Vitamin C rich food can also help, as it helps your body to absorb more iron. Cooking your food in iron cookware is a smart hack to increase iron content in the food preparations (How much iron does iron cookware add to food?)

Green vegetable

Green leafy vegetables are the best source of iron. Spinach, Kale, Fenugreek, collard greens provide approximately 2.5-5 mg of iron per cooked cup. Apart from iron, they also contain sodium and potassium in high quantities which are equally essential for the body. Some other iron rich veggies include cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, which contain 1-2 mg per cooked cup. (How to cook green veggies to not loose their nutrition?)

Dried fruits

Dried fruits are a delicious source of minerals, protein, fiber and vitamins. Raisin, prunes and apricot are good sources of iron. 100 gm of prune contains 0.93 mg of iron, while raisin contains 2.6 gm and apricot 6.3 mg. Raisins are also rich in potassium and magnesium, which helps in bone health, improves blood circulation and digestion. Apricots being high in antioxidants and vitamin A aids in visual health. Consuming these dry fruits daily is panacea for iron deficiency. (What are other foods for healthy eyesight?)


Fruits like apple, pear and pomegranate are rich sources of iron, vitamins, protein, carbs and fiber which help regulate blood count in the body. Apart from this, fruits rich in vitamin C such as orange, lime, blueberries and grapefruit also help the body to enhance iron absorption. By including these fruits in a kid’s diet you can also help them to build up a strong immune system. (What are the best fruits teenagers?)


Legumes are a powerhouse of nutrients. Most common types of legumes are beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas, and soybeans. They are a great source of iron which helps your child to meet their daily need of iron intake and save them from iron deficiency. Chickpeas and black eyed peas are the highest source of iron and can provide up to 6 mg per cooked cup. Legumes also contain B vitamins, folate, magnesium, potassium, fiber and zinc which means they keep you energetic throughout the day. (Why should lentils or legumes be soaked?)


Pumpkin, sesame, hemp and flax seeds are seeds richest in iron and help your child to fight for iron deficiency. They contain iron around 1.2mg to 4.2 mg per two tablespoons. These seeds also contain a good amount of protein, fiber, calcium, magnesium, zinc, selenium, antioxidants and are great sources of fatty acids too, which helps in overall kid’s growth. (What is the easiest source of selenium that is good for brain?)


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Best Nuts and Seeds for Protein

The Protein Consumption in the Diet of Adult Indians Survey, a pan India survey stated that 9 out of 10 Indians consumed less than adequate proteins daily. 91% of the vegetarians and 85% of the non-vegetarians were consuming less food with protein. A typical-Indian meal served in homes of north or south or central India are most often protein deficient. Let’s see which foods are good source of protein and which are the best nuts and seeds for protein?

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What is protein?

Protein is considered the body’s building block and repair agent. It’s also integral in forming enzymes and hormones in the body. From digestion to immunity, from hair to nails, everything requires protein. The suggested intake of protein is decided at 0.8 gm per kg of body weight. For athletes or kids in active sports, few studies state that it is best to eat protein within 30 minutes of exercise. This is the period when most muscle formation or muscle repair happens, and timely protein consumption of foods with protein for kids enables that.

Also check, Easy ways to add protein to kid’s diet

Signs of low protein in the body:

One of the most common signs of low protein is swelling. This usually happens in legs, feet, hands or abdomen. Proteins circulate in blood and keep fluid from building up in tissues. In the absence of enough protein, fluid begins to collect together thereby resulting in swelling. More generally, kids who are protein deficient develop weaker bones and muscles, damaged skin, hair, nails, lower immunity and also compromised or delayed physical growth. So it’s become important to feed foods with protein for kids.

Also check, how to increase immunity in kids?

Nuts and seeds are among the best foods with protein for kids to meet the daily requirement of the body and also a rich source of protein for children’s growth. In addition, they are a good choice of protein rich food for vegetarians.

which are the best nuts and seeds for protein?

best nuts and seeds for protein
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Technically a legume, this nut is widely and easily available and affordable too. It is one of the most rich source of protein for kids. Peanuts is the nut with the most protein. Just a handful of peanuts can give 9 g of protein to the body. In addition, it is a wonder full of over 30 nutrients and hence one of the best foods for children’s growth. Read more.


The second best contender in the category with 8g of protein in just a handful of nuts is also one of the best foods with protein for children’s growth. An expensive yet easily available source of high nutrition carries highest fibre in this nut category. Read more.


A seed of a pistachio tree, this perceived nut offers 7g protein in just a handful and best to use as foods with protein for kids. This nut has the highest amount of potassium which is useful for kids to balance the negative impact of eating processed or junk food, which causes high sodium levels in the body. Potassium helps by balancing sodium levels which can otherwise impact bones, brain, digestion, muscles, and kidney.

best nuts and seeds for protein
protein rich food for vegetarians
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It is also among the best foods for children’s growth. A favourite of many, this nut has 6g of protein in just a handful. It is a quick source of high quality carbohydrates for kids with a variety of health benefits. Read more.


Despite being a little less in protein at 5g per handful, this wonder nut is loaded with good fats which are vital for the brain. Read more.


Similar to walnut in its nutrition profile, this nut also has 5g of protein per handful. Preferred by kids in chocolates and spreads, this nut is a nutritious snack with lots of essential fat.


Sunflower, Pumpkin and Melon together offer a great source of nourishment to the body and are best foods for children’s growth. 1 tablespoon of this seed mix provides 5g of protein. A spread of this can easily blend with any dish and won’t even get noticed by kids. Read more.

Soaking and consuming Almond, Peanut, Walnut enables release of phytic acid, resulting in more absorption of nutrients by the body.

Also check, What are the benefits of soaking and sprouting?

Recipe: Chia Berry cupcake with hidden herbs and nuts

Let’s make every dish tasty and nutritious by ‘hidden’ nutrition of veggies, herbs and nuts.

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Check more healthy recipes loved by kids.


It’s no SECRET that following an Ayurvedic lifestyle has numerous advantages. This unique collection of Ayurvedic spreads is an easy solution to feed daily nutrition for Immunity, Eye, Brain development, Bone strength and overall growth to kids without any fuss. To know more about kid’s ayurvedic foods – SHOP HERE.

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