Toddlers: How much iron does a toddler need?

Could you tell me what the RDA for iron is for toddlers so that I can make sure my son is getting enough iron in his diet? Please give me some ideas for iron-rich foods.


Sue Gilbert

Sue Gilbert works as a consulting nutritionist. For many years she worked with Earth's Best Organic Baby Food, integrating nutrition and... Read more

The RDA for toddlers for iron is 10 mg.

When searching for other sources of iron, remember that iron found in animal products, called heme iron, is more readily absorbed than non-heme iron (the kind found in plants).

No matter what your iron source, its absorption is enhanced many fold by the presence of vitamin C, so try and serve a vitamin C rich food at the same time you are serving a food that contains iron.

Some non-meat foods and their iron content are:

  • 1/2 cup boiled spinach -- 3.2mg
  • 1 tbsp. blackstrap molasses -- 3.2 mg
  • baked potato with skin -- 2.75mg
  • 1/2 cup canned navy beans -- 2.4mg
  • 1 cup white enriched rice -- 1.8 mg
  • 1/2 cup prune juice -- 1.5mg
  • 1 large egg -- 1 mg
  • 1/2 cup cooked broccoli -- .9mg

I would keep trying different baby cereals in hopes of finding one that he likes. Maybe an addition of a little fruit or maple syrup would make it more appealing. Meat may be more appealing if it is moist and easy to chew, like a small moist meatball that he can pick up with his fingers to eat, or small 'fingers' of meatloaf.

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