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Best Iron Rich Foods for Toddlers 2024

A pediatric dietitian and mom shares six easy and convenient iron-rich foods your toddler will love.

Best Iron Rich Foods for Toddlers 2024

Kids need iron to support healthy growth and development, especially during their early years of rapid growth. While foods like beef, chicken, beans, and iron-fortified breakfast cereals are excellent sources of iron, if you’ve got a picky eater, mealtime can feel like a battle when meats and legumes are on the menu. Luckily, iron-rich snack foods can be a fun and delicious way to help kids get the iron they need (without the dinnertime drama!).

As a pediatric dietitian and mom of three kids under five, I’m pretty well versed in the challenges of picky eating. When it comes to nutrition, some nutrients are more important than others. And Iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency in kids. To help prevent iron deficiency, offering iron-rich foods and snacks is a great way to ensure they get enough. Here are my top iron-rich foods for toddlers:

How We Chose the Best Iron-Rich Food for Toddlers

Here are key features we considered when choosing the best iron-rich foods for toddlers:

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Iron content per serving

Toddlers aged 1 to 3 years old need seven milligrams of iron per day. While it might not sound like much, reaching that amount can be a challenge. It can be particularly difficult for kids who eat small portions or have fussy eating habits.

That’s why I’ve picked foods with at least 2 mg of iron per serving. This way, parents can ensure their kids get at least 28.5 percent of their daily iron needs from just one meal or snack. And if your kiddo has two servings of these foods a day, that’s over half of their daily iron needs covered!

Nutritious ingredients

I chose foods with only wholesome, nutrient-dense ingredients to ensure your kids get a good balance of nutrition. Plus, we kept them low in added sugars to promote healthy eating habits.

Kid-friendly

Ideally, I prefer offering whole foods first like beef burgers, juicy turkey legs, or a cozy bowl of lentil soup instead of iron supplements. But with toddlers, that's not always realistic. Focus on kid-friendly sources of iron—foods they're less likely to turn down.

Safety

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We made sure to choose products with safe shapes and textures for toddlers, avoiding any foods that could pose a choking risk.

Best Iron-Rich Foods for Toddlers 2024

  • Best overall: Banza Chickpea Pasta
  • Best breakfast option: Nature’s Path Organic Superseeds and Grains Oatmeal
  • Best on-the go option: Cerebelly Pouches
  • Best for picky eaters: Seven Sundays Oat Protein Cereal
  • Best spread option: Nuttzo Organic Paleo Power Fuel Smooth Nut Butter
  • Best beverage option: Ripple Kids Plant-Based Milk

Best overall

Banza Chickpea Pasta

Best Iron Rich Foods for Toddlers 2024

Banza Chickpea Pasta is our top pick because it's incredibly versatile and boasts three grams of iron per serving. Plus, well, what kid doesn’t like pasta? Unlike traditional pasta made from wheat, this one is made from chickpeas, which is where it gets its iron content. It packs 11 grams of protein per serving, fits seamlessly into various dishes, or can stand alone as a meal or snack (buttered noodles anyone?).

With various shapes, you can enjoy everything from baked ziti and pesto pasta to lasagna and spaghetti with meatballs. With this pasta, your toddlers can savour their favourite pasta dishes while getting a healthy dose of iron—without the dinnertime drama!

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Best breakfast option

Nature’s Path Organic Superseeds and Grains Oatmeal

Best Iron Rich Foods for Toddlers 2024

If you want to boost your kids' iron intake at breakfast, this creamy, fibre-filled oatmeal is the way to go. Each serving has 2 mg of iron and is made from gluten-free oats, buckwheat, chia seeds, amaranth, hemp seeds, and quinoa. Every oatmeal packet is loaded with antioxidants, omega-3s, and wholesome whole grains – without any added sugar and salt. It's a tasty and nutritious way to fuel their morning and kick off the day with a healthy dose of iron

Best on-the-go option

Cerebelly Pouches

Best Iron Rich Foods for Toddlers 2024

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I love Cerebelly pouches because they're bursting with fruits and veggies, and each flavour delivers over two grams of iron per pouch (the spinach-apple-sweet potato packs a whopping 2.7 grams!). These pouches also pack in nutrients like vitamin D, vitamin E, selenium, and choline—nutrition you don't normally find in pouches.

These pouches are convenient and shelf-stable, making them perfect for ensuring your kiddo gets their iron whether you're on the move or travelling. Just toss a bunch in your diaper bag, and you're ready for a plane ride or a snack at the beach!

Best for picky eaters

Seven Sundays Oat Protein Cereal

Best Iron Rich Foods for Toddlers 2024

Have you ever met a picky eater who doesn’t love O's? Yeah, me neither. But this cereal isn't just any old O’s—it has 2.6 mg of iron per cup. It’s made from upcycled oats, corn, cassava, wildflower honey, coconut oil and sea salt, and unlike other store-bought cereals that are loaded with sugar, this one is refined sugar-free. So when your fussy eater asks for a second bowl, you'll almost meet their daily iron needs with just a couple of bowls of cereal.

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Best Spread

Nuttzo Natural Paleo Power Fuel Smooth Nut Butter

Best Iron Rich Foods for Toddlers 2024

If you're on the hunt for a spread or topping to amp up your toddler’s iron intake, Nuttzo’s Power Fuel nut butter is the way to go. It’s creamy, smooth, peanut-free, and has 2 mg of iron in just 2 tablespoons—so you’re getting a ton of iron in a small amount of food.

This nut butter is made with a blend of nuts and seeds including cashews, almonds, Brazil nuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, hazelnuts, and pumpkin seeds. It adds a delightful nutty flavour when spread on toast, waffles, pancakes and sandwiches and makes a great dip too.

Best beverage option

Ripple Kids Plant-Based Milk

Best Iron Rich Foods for Toddlers 2024
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We're big fans of Ripple Kids plant-based milk (made from yellow peas) because it has 2 mg of iron per serving and offers a fantastic dairy-free beverage option for kids who are lactose intolerant or following a plant-based diet. This is especially great for younger toddlers (like our one or two-year-olds) who still rely heavily on milk.

Ripple Kids milk comes in convenient shelf-stable and single-serving containers, making it perfect for packing in school lunches or taking along to the park. We love that you can enjoy it straight up, mix it with oatmeal (like Nature’s Path Organic Superseeds and Grains Oatmeal), pour it over dry cereal, or even use it in cooking.

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Dahlia Rimmon is a pediatric dietitian and freelance writer. When she’s not preparing yummy snacks for her kids, Dahlia delights in traveling and hiking with her family. She lives with her husband, children, and puppy in the Midwest.

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