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USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine

 
   

   


How much iron do children need?

Here's a simple chart to help you track your child's daily iron needs:

 

Age

Iron (mg)

Infants

0 - 6 months

6

6 - 12 months

11

Children

1-3 years

7

4-8 years

10

Boys

9-13 years

8

  14-18 11

Girls

9-13 years

8

  14-18 15

Iron is found in many foods, including lean meats, poultry, fish, iron-fortified whole-grain breads, cereals and pasta, soy products, nuts and seeds, dried beans, dried fruits, and dark green leafy vegetables.

What are the best dietary sources of iron?

The best sources are listed below.  But, keep in mind that the iron from animal foods is much better absorbed than that from plant sources.  

Iron-rich Foods Serving Size Iron (milligrams)

Beef liver

3 oz

5.8

Lean beef      

3 oz

2.0-2.9

Tuna, canned

3 oz

1.3

Lean chicken and pork

3 oz

1.0

Salmon, canned with bone

3 oz

0.7

Egg, large whole

each

0.7

Fortified  breakfast cereal

1 c.

4.5 -18*

Tofu set with calcium sulfate

c.            

6.6*

Canned soybeans or soybean nuts

c.  

4.4 - 4.0*

Dried beans, cooked

1 c.

3.6 - 5.2*

Instant oatmeal

1 c.

   8.3*

Edible seeds (pumpkin, squash, sesame)

1 oz.

4.1 -  4.2*

Spinach, cooked

c.

   3.2*

Figs

5

2.0*

Soy milk

1 c. 

1.4*

Almonds

1 oz.

1.3*

Enriched egg noodles

  c. 

1.2*

Wheat germ, toasted

1 oz.

1.1*

Prunes

5

1.1*

Whole-wheat bread

slice

0.9*

Enriched rice

  c.  

0.9*

Apricot halves

5

0.8*

Broccoli or Kale chopped, cooked

c.

 0.6*

Raisins

1 oz.

0.6*

*The iron from plant foods is less well absorbed than that from animal sources.
Source: USDA Database for Standard Reference, Release 13 (November, 1999)

Also see:
How can I get more iron from foods?

Consumer News-- Facts and Answers

 

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