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HOw to get more iron into a pescetarian 6 year old?

(18 Posts)
AlfalfaMum Wed 08-Jun-11 11:51:23

I've just got DD2's blood results, along with a prescription for an iron suppplement becuase her levels are low.

She's a great little eater generally, but dislikes all fruit except strawberries and raspberries (she even hates mango shock, which my other two would live on if allowed).
She has just recently taken a liking to the occasional orange juice, previously only drinking water or milk.
I suspect her low iron could be due to her low vitamin c intake, although she loves pretty much all vegetables. Hates tomatoes though hmm

We eat mostly vegetarian dinners, with fish 2/3 times a week.

I will get her the iron supplement anyway, but I think some adjustments to her diet would be good in the long term... anyone have any advice?
She doesn't want to eat meat, not currently anyway.

AlfalfaMum Wed 08-Jun-11 11:51:46


CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 08-Jun-11 12:46:45

Vegetables contain Vitamin C, don't worry. Orange juice is good, obviously. If you can try out some fruit smoothies that's another route. Presumably you're matching the iron supplement with a vitamin c supplement?

Iron sources... Obviously liver is top of the shop & red meat has the best bang for buck. White meat isn't bad either... so persevere with those. Freshly made chicken liver pate might be palatable. Then there are wholemeal/wholegrain foods like bread, pasta, wholegrain crispbreads. Fortified breakfast cereals and fortified porridge mixes are particularly good. Egg yolks, dark green vegetables. Beans, chickpeas and other pulses are another source. All seeds and nuts. Molasses, raisins and dried apricots.

MrsTittleMouse Wed 08-Jun-11 12:52:04

This might be useful, it's the Vegetarian Society page on getting enough iron.

AlfalfaMum Wed 08-Jun-11 17:35:01

Thanks both of you that's really helpful smile
I'd forgotten that lentils are high in iron, and didn't know chickpeas and nuts were a good source smile she loves boiled egg and soldiers, and houmous is one of her favourite foods of all time. She also eats lots of broccoli and spinach. In fact, I'm slightly thinking the problem might be that she's not absorbing iron from her food, because she has a very good diet confused

She gets a vitamin/mineral supplement, which has iron and vitamin c in it, but that's just once a day. I'm going to get her to have a small amount of orange juice with each meal and hope that helps with the absorption.

msbuggywinkle Wed 08-Jun-11 19:21:58

Cooking in a cast iron pan would be my first thought. It will bump up the iron content of everything and is an easy thing to do.

colditz Wed 08-Jun-11 19:24:10

msbuggywinkle, is that true, or did you make it up for fun?

colditz Wed 08-Jun-11 19:25:12

Have googled, it's true, that is AWESOME information!

You could make her porridge with milk that has had nails boiled in it!

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 08-Jun-11 19:26:18

Kiwifruit are a particularly good fruit for helping with absorption of iron. Kiwifruit better than Vitamin C tablets article Blended into a smoothie with some OJ or cranberry juice and a banana, they'd really help.

Non-heme sources of iron are good but tend to be a lot lower than the meat sources. So you have to eat quite a lot of eggs, nuts, green veggies etc., to get the equivalent of a piece of beef. Try the fortified breakfast cereals as the iron is artificially added and tends to be fairly high.

colditz Wed 08-Jun-11 19:36:52

check out this list about cooking with iron pans!!!!!

AlfalfaMum Wed 08-Jun-11 20:07:13

Wow, going to have to get some iron pans!

Me and my 3 DDs are all allergic to kiwifruit - bummer sad
I willl check the iron content of our breakfast cereals in case we can do better.

Thanks smile

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 09-Jun-11 07:39:25

Another thought.... reduce the fibre content of the child's diet - ease back on fruit, veggies etc. Fibre is good in moderation but too much fibre will cause food to rush through the gut a little too fast for some of the nutrition to be absorbed. A lower fibre diet means everything sticks around rather longer and they get the full benefit. Increase the fat and simple starch content, for example.... but increase fluid consumption as iron tablets can cause constipation. Caffeine also limits the absoption of iron so reduce access to tea, coffee and cola drinks.

msbuggywinkle Thu 09-Jun-11 09:31:06

Yep, iron pans are ace. I only knew because a le cruset iron pan has been passed on to me now I'm pg, it does the rounds of my friends!

differentnameforthis Thu 09-Jun-11 10:25:49

Doesn't milk hinder iron absorption?

AlfalfaMum Fri 10-Jun-11 12:04:22

Oh crap, I think you're right diferentname, I seem to recall reading that on a Spatone packet in the distant past. She bloody loves milk sad she has been drinking less the last few days though at least, because I've been giving her oj with meals instead. We'll have to keep it that way I guess.

differentnameforthis Fri 10-Jun-11 15:21:13

Must be difficult! I loved to have milk in my pregnancy, couldn't understand why I was so lacking in iron though. Until a friend (a nurse) told me that milk inhibits iron absorption! I hadn't known before!

I hope things improve for you both!

AlfalfaMum Fri 10-Jun-11 16:19:25

Thanks, so do I smile

Actually they kind of have already: I got the rest of her blood results today which contained good news. The main reason for bloods was to check her immunity to mumps, measles and rubella and see if she actually needed the MMR booster (she had a severe reaction to the first MMR). It turns out she still has immunity to all three, so we don't have to worry about giving her the booster for a few more years at least grin

differentnameforthis Sat 11-Jun-11 00:39:22

That's great news!

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