Hit your micronutrient goals with these yummy meals!
Looking to fit more iron into your diet but don’t know where to start? We’ve got you! Here are 18 iron-rich recipes to help you hit your micronutrient goals and be an overall healthier you. From things like rich meat and seafood to delicious plant-based options, we’ve gathered some great dishes that are packed with iron.
The Benefits of a High Iron Diet
Iron is a mineral that is in many foods as well as added to food products. It’s purpose in the body is to promote proper function of proteins that are needed to transport oxygen in the blood called hemoglobin. Iron also plays a role in a variety of other important processes in the body. It is beneficial to preserve many essential functions, including body temperature regulation, increased energy and focus, regular gut function, and immune health.
When you don’t have enough iron in your diet, it can lead to a range of serious health problems such as iron deficiency anemia which causes pale skin, fatigue, and brittle hair and nails. Currently, an estimated 10 million people in the US have been reported to have low iron levels, 5 million of which have been diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia.
Differences in Iron-Rich Foods
Iron rich foods include both animal and plant-based sources. There are two types of iron in food, either heme and non-heme. Animal foods contain heme iron, which include meat, poultry, and seafood. Animal sourced heme iron is easily absorbed by the body. Non-heme iron, which is found in plant-based iron sources, requires multiple steps to absorb the iron in the body. Some of these non-heme iron sources include beans, nuts, soy, vegetables, and fortified grains.
Absorption and Bioavailabilty
Many factors go into how well you absorb these foods, though. Factors such as the source of iron, other dietary components, gut health, medication, supplements, current iron status, and iron promoters affect iron’s bioavailability, or its ease of absorption. An iron promoter is another nutrient that supports good iron absorption, such as vitamin C. When iron and vitamin C are eaten together, iron is more bioavailable, meaning it is better absorbed. Check out some more iron rich options and some high vitamin C pairings.
- Whole Grains
- Sweet potatoes
- String beans
- Beet greens
Vitamin C Rich Foods to Pair:
- Chili Pepper
- Bell Pepper
- Citrus Fruit
18 Iron-Rich Recipes
Below you will find 18 recipes that have taken iron-rich ingredients and have paired them with foods rich in Vitamin C. Not only are they beneficial to your health, but they taste amazing, as well!
Authentic Everything Beef Tacos
First on our list of iron-rich recipes are these super tasty beef tacos! The super simple shredded beef is absolutely delicious and loaded with iron!
Try it here: Authentic Everything Beef Tacos
Easy Thai Beef Salad
When it comes to iron, beef is one of our favorite ingredients! Plus, it’s so easy to hit your goals when it tastes this good!
Try it here: Easy Thai Beef Salad
Curried Coconut Mussels
Not a huge fan of beef? If you’re more of a seafood lover, you might enjoy these flavorful, iron-rich mussels!
Try it here: Curried Coconut Mussels
Low-Carb General Tso’s Chicken
Not only does this easy meal taste amazing, but it’s good for you, too!
Try it here: Low Carb General Tso’s Chicken
Keto-Friendly Flavor-Packed Turkey Burger
These turkey burgers are lean and juicy. And in addition to being low-carb, they’re a wonderful source of iron.
Try it here: Keto-Friendly Flavor-Packed Turkey Burger
Turkey Sausage and Quinoa Pizza Bowl
The flavors in this pizza bowl alone make it worth trying, but this is another one that will provide your body with all sorts of essential nutrients, including iron.
Try it here: Turkey Sausage and Quinoa Pizza Bowl
Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice Stew
Bring on the fiber and flavor with this super easy red beans and rice stew!
Try it here: Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice Stew
White Fish with Tomato and Peas
Lean protein, fresh tomatoes, and sweet peas team up for a dish that’s healthy and delicious!
Try it here: White Fish with Tomato and Peas
Southwest Chicken Casserole with Black Beans
Get your comfort on with this yummy casserole. It’s made with healthy ingredients you can feel good about!
Try it here: Southwest Chicken Casserole with Black Beans
One Pan Mediterranean Chicken Meatballs, Tomatoes, and Chickpeas
We love one pan recipes on busy weeknights– especially this one! It’s loaded with protein, iron, and more!
Sheet-Pan Teriyaki Tofu Stir-Fry
This is one of our favorite vegan-friendly, iron-rich recipes. If you’ve never tried tofu, now’s your chance because this dish is delish!
Try it here: Sheet-Pan Teriyaki Tofu Stir-Fry
Easy Tofu Chocolate Mousse
Who knew dessert could be so healthy? Our tofu chocolate mousse is rich, velvety, and super satisfying.
Try it here: Easy Tofu Chocolate Mousse
Baked Potatoes with Clementine Butter
Tired of plain old potatoes? These baked potatoes with clementine butter offer iron and Vitamin C.
Try it here: Baked Potatoes with Clementine Butter
Asian Stir-Fry with Cashews and Chicken
Craving Asian flavors? Not only will this dish satisfy your cravings for take-out, but it will do it in a much healthier way!
Try it here: Asian Stir-Fry with Cashews and Chicken
Brussels Sprouts, Chicken, and Cashews
Full of protein and nutrients, our brussels sprouts, chicken, and cashew recipe is an excellent choice for dinner!
Try it here: Brussels Sprouts, Chicken, and Cashews
Creamy Vegan Spinach Dip
Get your dip fix while also hitting your iron needs with this creamy and scrumptious spinach dip!
Try it here: Creamy Vegan Spinach Dip
Carrot and Zucchini Whole Grain Muffins
Muffins made with carrots and zucchini? Don’t knock it until you try it. These veggie-rich muffins are super healthy and yummy!
Try it here: Carrot and Zucchini Whole Grain Muffins
Citrus Salmon Tray Bake
Citrus and salmon combine to create a dinner that is incredibly satisfying and good for you! Plus, it’s a super easy weeknight meal!
Try it here: Citrus Salmon Tray Bake