It’s Meatless Monday! (although some of us wish it was Mother-In-Law-less Monday)

When it comes to raising kids everyone has an opinion, and unfortunately most people are not shy in sharing.  When new mothers are at their most vulnerable (and sleep deprived) “advice” from family and even strangers can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.  My advice is relax.

The other day my vegan client, who wants to raise her kids vegan, called me in tears.  Her mother-in-law was attacking her choice and told her that her kid not only needed iron, but that not giving her child meat was child abuse.  First off, yes iron is important.  Secondly, consider moving in the middle of the night without a forwarding address.

Actually, the most common nutritional deficiency among babies is lack of iron, which causes anemia.  Babies are born with a store of iron that lasts around 6 months and after this they need to get iron through food.  For babies the best sources of iron is breast milk, iron-fortified formula, iron fortified baby cereals or prune puree.  For bigger kids and adults there are many vegan ways to get it.

Some iron rich foods for vegans are swiss chard, lima beans, tempeh, enriched bagel or cereal, tofu, quinoa, spinach, lentils, blackstrap molasses, soybeans and dried apricots.

Also be sure to eat foods rich in Vitamin C to better absorb iron.  And did you know that food cooked in a cast-iron skillet (especially acidic foods like tomato sauce) has an increased iron content?  Sometimes even 20 times more!  Also, giving milk separately from meals also promotes iron absorption.

Here’s a super easy and convenient way for kids and adults to get iron on the go.  As in when you’re walking away from a know-it-all, blowhard mother-in-law.

½ cup of walnuts

½ cup peanuts

½ cup of dried apricots

½ cup of raisins

¼ cup of chopped dates

Just mix and go.

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