Moms and Kids Need Iron
General Nutrition Card 4
MN WIC Program
- Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
- Snack: It's Not a Bad Word
- Moms and Kids Need Iron
- Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs
- Be Food Safe
- Vitamin D
Iron-rich foods build healthy blood. Healthy blood is important for a healthy you!
What happens if you don't get enough iron?
- The amount of iron in your blood gets low. This is called iron deficiency anemia or just anemia. Some people call this low blood.
- If you are anemic, you may be weak, tired and grouchy. You may get sick and catch colds easily. You won't feel as good or look as good as you could.
- Children can be fussy and have trouble growing or learning if iron levels stay low.
- Women need extra iron during pregnancy. The unborn baby may not grow as much as he should if his mother is anemic.
How to make sure you are getting enough iron:
- Eat at least 3 meals a day with different kinds of foods. Most healthy goods have small amounts of iron, so eating foods from all the food groups will help you get enough iron.
- Cut down on foods like chips, cake, cookies, candy and pop.
- Remember to take any vitamin or iron pill your health care provider prescribes.
- Wean children from the bottle by 1 year.
- Children who keep using a bottle after one year drink too much milk. Limit milk to 2 cups a day for children. Milk is nutritious, but has almost no iron.
- Avoid drinking tea and coffee with meals. These keep your body from getting iron from foods.
Choose foods high in iron
Meats are the best source of iron and the easiest for your body to absorb.
Plants are also good sources of iron. But they need help to be well absorbed.
• Iron-fortified cereals like WIC cereals
• Cooked dry beans like pork and beans
• Dried peas, like black-eye peas
• Greens like mustard and turnip greens, spinach
• Raisins, dried apricots, prunes and prune juice
Your body will be able to use the iron from plan sources best if you east them with these foods:
- Meat, fish and poultry
- Foods rich in vitamin C:
• Oranges, orange juice, grapefruit
• Tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli
• Green peppers
• WIC juice
• Watermelon, cantaloupe and strawberries
Examples of ways to combine foods to get the lost iron from foods:
- Split pea soup (plant iron source) with a small amount of ham (meat iron source)
- Iron-fortified cereal (plant iron source) with an orange or half a grapefruit (vitamin C source)