Iron is among the most important nutrients that a child needs during the growing years. It plays a key role in the production of haemoglobin, which in turn helps red blood cells to transport oxygen to all parts of the body. So naturally, if there isn’t enough iron in your child’s body, the number of red blood cells might reduce and it can affect the efficient transportation of oxygenated blood. And in extreme cases, this can lead to iron deficiency anaemia.
Now, the deficiency of iron in the body can affect the normal growth and development of a child, and also lead to behavioural problems and problems with learning.
So, let us have a look at some iron-rich recipes that can help your child bag enough iron through his diet.
Chickpea and jaggery laddoo
To make this mouth-watering snack, you will need half a cup of chickpea flour/besan, a quarter cup of ghee, and half a cup of grated jaggery. You need to know that chickpeas and jaggery are rich sources of iron. You can also add some raisins to the recipe as they are iron-rich.
- Heat the ghee in a pan and add the chickpea flour/besan to it.
- Roast it on medium heat until it gives out a roasted fragrance.
- Add the jaggery and allow it to melt while stirring continuously.
- Mix it all together and turn off the flame.
- Allow the mixture to cool down slightly, and then grease your hands and roll the mixture into laddoos.
This traditional recipe can be served to toddlers with a twist. Rice flakes, which are the main ingredient in this recipe, are a rich source of iron. Other iron-rich ingredients that can be added to this recipe are lentils and spinach. To make poha cutlets, you will need two cups of rice flakes, quarter cup of yellow moong dal, quarter cup of chopped spinach, two teaspoons of lemon juice, one teaspoon of sugar (optional) and salt to taste. Make sure that the rice flakes are washed and drained, while the moong dal is soaked in water for at least an hour.
- Grind the rice flakes and moong dal to make a coarse paste.
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the coarse paste and mix well.
- Take a spoonful of the mixture and shape it into a cutlet, and then grease a pan with a teaspoon of oil, and grill the cutlets.
- Serve the cutlets with a homemade dip of your choice. This makes for a healthy snack item that children would enjoy.
A dry fruit milkshake is a power-packed snack that is nutritionally dense and can help incorporate essential nutrients in your child’s diet. Dates are excellent sources of iron, and when combined with cashew nuts and raisins, can pack in quite a punch!
- Soak some raisins, 6-7 dates, a few cashew nuts, and any other nuts or dried fruits of your child’s choice.
- Soak these in hot water for at least 15 minutes.
- Add all the ingredients to a blender, and add a teaspoon of honey, and 2 cups of milk.
- Blend the mixture to get a thick and healthy milkshake.
- Serve with slivers of almond.
Chickpea crispy crackers
Here’s another iron-rich recipe for you little munchkins to munch on. To prepare this, you will need 200g of boiled chickpeas, ½ cup rolled oats, 1 clove garlic, 1-2 teaspoons lemon juice and salt for seasoning.
- Blend the chickpeas well in a processor, until it achieves a play-dough consistency.
- Next, add the rolled oats, garlic, lemon juice, and salt.
- You can even add some dried herbs for extra taste.
- Blend well until the oats are mixed well with the chickpeas.
- Blitz the food processor and slowly add olive oil until the entire mixture comes together as a ball (you can use up to 30 ml oil).
- Line a baking tray with baking paper, and transfer the dough.
- Using a second piece of baking paper on top of the dough, flatten with a rolling pin.
- Cut into desired shapes and prick the centre of each cracker using a fork. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 40-50mins until you see a golden colour. Allow the crackers to cool.
So, as you can see, the above recipes are sure to help your child get sufficient iron from his daily diet. Also, meat, eggs and poultry are good non-vegetarian sources of iron and easy for the body to absorb. But if your child is a vegetarian, try and serve iron-rich foods with items that contain vitamin C, for better absorption.