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Hostesses With The Mostest => Recipe Requests => Topic started by: Vegemite Girl on October 02, 2007, 03:33:22 PM

Title: Advice needed re: vegetarian sources of iron
Post by: Vegemite Girl on October 02, 2007, 03:33:22 PM
Hi - I hope I've put this in the appropriate place (feel free to move it, if not).

I was wondering if any vegetarians out there could reccommend non-meat, iron rich food or recipes? One of my wee ones (she's almost 3 years old) is quite picky and won't eat red meat. I worry that she isn't getting enough (or any) iron. Can anyone suggest any alternatives I could try feeding her (and the rest of us for that matter!) I'm not an adventurous cook, but I'd like to learn new stuff/dishes.

Thanks heaps!

Title: Re: Advice needed re: vegetarian sources of iron
Post by: MDefarge on October 02, 2007, 03:36:13 PM
I know spinich has a ton of iron, and is easily mixed into things like Turkey burgers/loaf - adds moisture too!  Good luck!
Title: Re: Advice needed re: vegetarian sources of iron
Post by: Harriet Jones on October 02, 2007, 03:41:46 PM
I found a list here for plant-based iron: http://www.soystache.com/iron.htm

It looks like beans, nuts, and seeds are good sources.  I've heard that cooking in cast iron helps, too.

Title: Re: Advice needed re: vegetarian sources of iron
Post by: Vegemite Girl on October 02, 2007, 04:01:31 PM
Thanks guys!

I won't be cooking turkey anytime soon (it's incredible expensive here and hard to get - I think I've had it once in my entire life!) but spinach is a good one; I use that a bit.

Thanks for the table of iron sources; I had no idea there were foods with so much more iron in them than meat! In fact I have to admit my ignorance; I haven't heard of a lot of the foods mentioned (although they may be American names for things we do have here, like ground beef for mince). Good to see broccoli reccomended; I use that a fair bit.

I do use a cast iron frypan.
Title: Re: Advice needed re: vegetarian sources of iron
Post by: SkylerY on October 02, 2007, 04:07:36 PM
Check out this site about iron rich food for children - it also includes types of iron-fortified food (such as Carnation Instant Breakfast Mix, pretty much like chocolate milk!!)

http://pediatrics.about.com/od/nutrition/a/06_iron_foods.htm

~ Cristen
Title: Re: Advice needed re: vegetarian sources of iron
Post by: SkylerY on October 02, 2007, 04:10:39 PM
Also, check out this iron source comparison guide from http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/vegan.htm.  Who knew molasses could be so good for you???

Comparison of Iron Sources

Here are the iron contents of selected foods:

       ______________________________________________

            FOOD                            IRON (MG)
       ______________________________________________

       1 cup cooked soybeans                   8.8
       2 Tbsp blackstrap molasses              7.0
       1 cup cooked lentils                        6.6 
       1 cup cooked kidney beans              5.2
       1 cup cooked chickpeas                  4.7
       1 cup cooked lima beans                 4.5
       1 cup cooked Swiss chard               4.0
       1/8 medium watermelon                   1.0
       ______________________________________________


Title: Re: Advice needed re: vegetarian sources of iron
Post by: Vegemite Girl on October 02, 2007, 04:14:17 PM
Thanks. I'm not sure what iron-added products are available in New Zealand, but that's something to check next time I'm at the supermarket.

She does ok for veges, and *loves* fruit, so I guess some fortified grains and added beans should help.

Also, does anyone know - someone once told me dried apricots were a good source of iron. Is that true? They'd make a great snack (and we all like 'em; I could do with some extra iron, too).
Title: Re: Advice needed re: vegetarian sources of iron
Post by: cicero on October 03, 2007, 05:46:23 AM
you should probably work with a nutritionist who specializes in vegetarian life styles bec if you daughter is not eating meat, then she might have other nutrition deficiencies (such as the B vitamins, especially B12).

its also important to serve the iron-rich food together with vitamin C-rich food (you don't need tons of the Vit C, but it helps to absorb the iron in the blood.) - so serve together with a tomato, a few tablespoons of orange juice or a few orange segments, etc.
Title: Re: Advice needed re: vegetarian sources of iron
Post by: Nimblicity on October 03, 2007, 09:55:16 AM
My doc told me that cooking in a cast-iron pot would provide me with more than enough iron.  Not sure if that's true.  Otherwise, I think the rule of thumb with veggies is the darker green, the more iron.
Title: Re: Advice needed re: vegetarian sources of iron
Post by: Lady Vavasour on October 03, 2007, 06:45:19 PM
Chickpeas have proportionally more iron in them than steak. The iron in non-meat sources is absorbed less efficiently, though, so you do need to have more than if you were getting it from steak. Spirulina is a very good source of iron (unfortunately it tastes revolting, though).

One thing to keep in mind is that calcium inhibits iron absorption, so don't drink milk with your chickpeas :) Vitamin C (in oranges etc.) assists it, however.
Title: Re: Advice needed re: vegetarian sources of iron
Post by: Lady Vavasour on October 03, 2007, 06:50:50 PM
you should probably work with a nutritionist who specializes in vegetarian life styles bec if you daughter is not eating meat, then she might have other nutrition deficiencies (such as the B vitamins, especially B12).



She'll be fine if she's eating other kinds of meat (like chicken) but that's a very good point. B12 is in milk and other dairy products, fortified soy milk (you need to check--they have it in SoGood though) and eggs. I believe vegemite is a very good source too :) You only need a small amount of B12 but it is absolutely essential.

Like I said, though, if she's eating other kinds of meat she'll be absolutely fine.
Title: Re: Advice needed re: vegetarian sources of iron
Post by: Lady Vavasour on October 03, 2007, 06:53:02 PM

Also, does anyone know - someone once told me dried apricots were a good source of iron. Is that true? They'd make a great snack (and we all like 'em; I could do with some extra iron, too).

That's true; they are a good source of iron.
Title: Re: Advice needed re: vegetarian sources of iron
Post by: Vegemite Girl on October 04, 2007, 12:25:17 AM
you should probably work with a nutritionist who specializes in vegetarian life styles bec if you daughter is not eating meat, then she might have other nutrition deficiencies (such as the B vitamins, especially B12).



She'll be fine if she's eating other kinds of meat (like chicken) but that's a very good point. B12 is in milk and other dairy products, fortified soy milk (you need to check--they have it in SoGood though) and eggs. I believe vegemite is a very good source too :) You only need a small amount of B12 but it is absolutely essential.

Like I said, though, if she's eating other kinds of meat she'll be absolutely fine.

Hey - vegemite is the food of the Gods! (move over, ambrosia!)

She unfortunately doesn't like chicken either; it's driving me nuts, but the only meats she'll eat are fish and sausages. I didn't realise about the B vitamins; that's something else to worry about! She does like cheese, (she seems to have an allergy to egg) but often gets rashes with milk for some reason, so I'll try her with SoGood as an alternative. I didn't even think of soy products! See what kind of an ignorant meat eater I am...

 ::)

I agree about the spirulina: drank it once when I was on a diet - never again. Chickpeas are a good idea, I think i have a vegetarian lasagne recipie somewhere that uses them, I'll have to dig it out...

She's picky, Kid1, but on the plus side - she's only just starting to like sugary things (eg lollies, etc) now, and she's almost 3. So it's not all bad!
Title: Re: Advice needed re: vegetarian sources of iron
Post by: Lady Vavasour on October 04, 2007, 12:47:18 AM
you should probably work with a nutritionist who specializes in vegetarian life styles bec if you daughter is not eating meat, then she might have other nutrition deficiencies (such as the B vitamins, especially B12).



She'll be fine if she's eating other kinds of meat (like chicken) but that's a very good point. B12 is in milk and other dairy products, fortified soy milk (you need to check--they have it in SoGood though) and eggs. I believe vegemite is a very good source too :) You only need a small amount of B12 but it is absolutely essential.

Like I said, though, if she's eating other kinds of meat she'll be absolutely fine.

Hey - vegemite is the food of the Gods! (move over, ambrosia!)

She unfortunately doesn't like chicken either; it's driving me nuts, but the only meats she'll eat are fish and sausages. I didn't realise about the B vitamins; that's something else to worry about! She does like cheese, (she seems to have an allergy to egg) but often gets rashes with milk for some reason, so I'll try her with SoGood as an alternative. I didn't even think of soy products! See what kind of an ignorant meat eater I am...

 ::)

I agree about the spirulina: drank it once when I was on a diet - never again. Chickpeas are a good idea, I think i have a vegetarian lasagne recipie somewhere that uses them, I'll have to dig it out...

She's picky, Kid1, but on the plus side - she's only just starting to like sugary things (eg lollies, etc) now, and she's almost 3. So it's not all bad!

SoGood is great; I used to buy the purple fortified kind that I think is high is calcium as well. I wouldn't worry too much about the B12 if she is eating some meat though. You only need a very small amount.

I'm vegetarian and the only deficiencies I've ever had problems with are iron and B12. They say iron and folate deficiencies are often linked but I've never had a problem with folate, perhaps because I eat lots of green veges and wholemeal bread.
Title: Re: Advice needed re: vegetarian sources of iron
Post by: cicero on October 04, 2007, 04:38:38 AM


Hey - vegemite is the food of the Gods! (move over, ambrosia!)

She unfortunately doesn't like chicken either; it's driving me nuts, but the only meats she'll eat are fish and sausages. I didn't realise about the B vitamins; that's something else to worry about! She does like cheese, (she seems to have an allergy to egg) but often gets rashes with milk for some reason, so I'll try her with SoGood as an alternative. I didn't even think of soy products! See what kind of an ignorant meat eater I am...

 ::)

I agree about the spirulina: drank it once when I was on a diet - never again. Chickpeas are a good idea, I think i have a vegetarian lasagne recipie somewhere that uses them, I'll have to dig it out...

She's picky, Kid1, but on the plus side - she's only just starting to like sugary things (eg lollies, etc) now, and she's almost 3. So it's not all bad!

if you don't mind my butting in - you REALLY shouldn't be feeding your child sausages, they are really not heathly. i understand that age, but it's possible that she is picking up on your frustration and is acting out accordingly. if you don't have a problem serving your child flesh food, then maybe try some other way of serving it - like meat/chicken balls or patties, maybe on home made pizza, spaghetti bolognese, etc.

if she will eat soup, then make a meat/chicken based soup but strain or mash it befor you serve it so she won't 'see' the chicken.

if she likes beans: then you can try making your own hummous and give her vegetable crudites for dipping.
Title: Re: Advice needed re: vegetarian sources of iron
Post by: mechtilde on October 04, 2007, 05:06:10 AM
My elder boy doesn't eat much meat either- I think that he has had problems chewing it when he was younger because he had tongue tie, and that has put him off. He will eat sausages and fish- these are softer and easier to chew.

I don't have problems with giving children sausages myself, provided they have a high meat content. #

I'd suggest checking out the vegetarian section in your local supermarket- some of the soy sausages and burgers have gone down very well with mine.
Title: Re: Advice needed re: vegetarian sources of iron
Post by: Vegemite Girl on October 04, 2007, 12:08:11 PM
Ow.

I know sausages are bad; unfortunately they're cheap and we're on a very tight budget. We don't have them a lot, because I *know* how awful - nutritionally - they are. I usually use mince (although that too is horribly fatty, but I do drain off what fat I can). I hope I don't sound snarky, I'm not trying to be, but that touched at my insecurities and actually made me cry! (I had no idea I was so sensitive on this...) Honestly, I feed my kids well; they have little processed food (just bread and ocassionally crackers) they eat a heck of a lot of fruit, and veges, cheese, raisins, and yogurt. They drink water and milk, they don't have junk food or sugary drinks (even juice is a treat, as advocated by the 'experts' in NZ). They have lollies, etc, rarely as treats and usually only at big events.

I have tried, and am still trying, other ways of serving meat (wraps were working well until she began pulling the meat out). I haven't stopped cooking it, or serving it in other ways, I was just worried about her health in the meantime (she's tiny and since she spent a couple of days in hospital last month for asthma I've been really anxious - probably more than I need to be). What I was after was hints on how to keep her healthy in the meantime, while I continue to try to get her to eat meat.

Also - she's not even 3 yet - but if she makes the decision to become a vegetarian (or forces it on herself by her continual refusal to eat meat) I'm happy to change the entire family to a - largely -vegetarian diet. It's just that I was raised by carnivores and the basis of my knowledge of basic nutrition contains meat... I just wanted some advice on how to do it the other way.

Oh boy I'm sorry. I think you (unintentionally) hit a nerve I didn't know I had...
Title: Re: Advice needed re: vegetarian sources of iron
Post by: Vegemite Girl on October 04, 2007, 12:12:06 PM
My elder boy doesn't eat much meat either- I think that he has had problems chewing it when he was younger because he had tongue tie, and that has put him off. He will eat sausages and fish- these are softer and easier to chew.

I don't have problems with giving children sausages myself, provided they have a high meat content. #

I'd suggest checking out the vegetarian section in your local supermarket- some of the soy sausages and burgers have gone down very well with mine.

Thanks, I'll try that. Do they work for your boy because they're softer than usual meat? (I do wonder of the texture/'stiffness' may be part of DD's problem, too).
Title: Re: Advice needed re: vegetarian sources of iron
Post by: cicero on October 04, 2007, 12:37:20 PM
Ow.

I know sausages are bad; unfortunately they're cheap and we're on a very tight budget. We don't have them a lot, because I *know* how awful - nutritionally - they are. I usually use mince (although that too is horribly fatty, but I do drain off what fat I can). I hope I don't sound snarky, I'm not trying to be, but that touched at my insecurities and actually made me cry! (I had no idea I was so sensitive on this...) Honestly, I feed my kids well; they have little processed food (just bread and ocassionally crackers) they eat a heck of a lot of fruit, and veges, cheese, raisins, and yogurt. They drink water and milk, they don't have junk food or sugary drinks (even juice is a treat, as advocated by the 'experts' in NZ). They have lollies, etc, rarely as treats and usually only at big events.

I have tried, and am still trying, other ways of serving meat (wraps were working well until she began pulling the meat out). I haven't stopped cooking it, or serving it in other ways, I was just worried about her health in the meantime (she's tiny and since she spent a couple of days in hospital last month for asthma I've been really anxious - probably more than I need to be). What I was after was hints on how to keep her healthy in the meantime, while I continue to try to get her to eat meat.

Also - she's not even 3 yet - but if she makes the decision to become a vegetarian (or forces it on herself by her continual refusal to eat meat) I'm happy to change the entire family to a - largely -vegetarian diet. It's just that I was raised by carnivores and the basis of my knowledge of basic nutrition contains meat... I just wanted some advice on how to do it the other way.

Oh boy I'm sorry. I think you (unintentionally) hit a nerve I didn't know I had...

oh dear. i am sorry - i really had no intention of hurting you. I was trying to be helpful and I am sorry if what I said insulted you.

Please let me know if i can help in any way. I am pretty much a vegetarian and I am supporting myself on a non-existent budget - I buy very very very little processed foods, very little flesh foods (meat/chicken/fish) and mostly cook from scratch.
Title: Re: Advice needed re: vegetarian sources of iron
Post by: Vegemite Girl on October 04, 2007, 12:47:21 PM
No, it's ok, I'm sorry I reacted that way. I know you weren't being hurtful or insulting; it just touched a well of insecurity in me that I didn't know existed!  :-[

Can you reccomend any good vegetarian books for a beginner on a budget who isn't sure of how to balance the nutritional needs? I have no objection to going vege (although I may retain the of piece of meat for myself)? I do have a vegetarian cookbook but it doesn't go too far into that side of things.
Title: Re: Advice needed re: vegetarian sources of iron
Post by: cicero on October 04, 2007, 12:54:51 PM
Ok, as long as we understand each other. It's hard being a parent ---- and you know you are a good parent, because otherwise you wouldn't be here asking questions!

I don't really know of any good books ----- maybe your local library would have something useful. or try a website - i usually try the US government web sites (I don't live in the US but I find their sites useful).

I also wanted to say that my son (he is 21) used to eat tons of the processed vegetarian patties but i stopped that. they are expensive and I really think they are not healthy. (read the labels! they have a high  fat content ). so I started making my own - very cheap and he likes them (he is also quite picky). I just cook red lentils with other vegs till it all gets mushy. if you want i can give you the recipe. I also make a 'fake meat loaf' with mushrooms and nuts.
Title: Re: Advice needed re: vegetarian sources of iron
Post by: Vegemite Girl on October 04, 2007, 01:07:30 PM
Thank you - I'd love the recipe!
Title: Re: Advice needed re: vegetarian sources of iron
Post by: Harriet Jones on October 04, 2007, 01:08:19 PM
Hillbilly Housewife has a couple of weekly menus (with recipes) for households on a tight budget:

http://hillbillyhousewife.com/40dollarmenu.htm
http://hillbillyhousewife.com/70dollarmenu.htm

They're not specifically vegetarian, but they are fairly low in meat.
Title: Re: Advice needed re: vegetarian sources of iron
Post by: cicero on October 04, 2007, 01:26:55 PM
vegetarian patties /loaf
===================
please bear in mind that i am a 'little bit of this, little bit of that' type of cook.

take one cup of red lentils, pick over, wash, and let them soak while you prepare the rest of the recipe.

meanwhile: fry one onion in a small amount of oil (i grate the onion bec some people are such babies about onions...)
if your dd likes other vegetables you can add them to the onion (celery, mushroom, carrot).
let them fry for about 10 minutes, stirring occassionally, on med. flame. then add 2 cups of water, spices (black pepper, garlic, cumin, but no salt) and bring to a boil. add the lentils plus one grated sweet potato. bring to second boil , lower flame, and then cover and let it cook till most of the water is absorbed (takes about 20-30 minutes). the mixture will turn a brownish-orange color. let it cool, then add some bread crumbs. at this point i usually refrigerate till the next day. the mixture should be stiff.

for patties: beat one egg in one bowl. pour about 1/2 cup of bread crumbs and 1/2 cup of cornmeal into another bowl (or just cornmeal or just bread crumbs). make patties, dip in egg then bread crumbs and then fry or bake on oiled pan till golden. you can freeze these.

for loaf: add one egg to mixture and turn into oiled bread pan, sprinkle cornmeal on top (optional), and  bake for about 40 -60 minutes till golden. slice. can also be frozen.



mushroom loaf
=============
finely chop the following veg:
1-2 onions, 1/4- 1/2 kilo of mushrooms, 2-3 celery stalks, 1-2 carrots. heat 1 tablespoon of oil and add the veg, cook for about 10 minutes, stirring. let cool. add 2 eggs, and about 1 cup of finely chopped almonds (you should check with your doctor if it's ok to give your child nuts - in israel we can buy very finely chopped nuts that are like flour). add salt, pepper, bread crumbs. pour into greased pan and bake. freezes well. can serve hot or cold.
Title: Re: Advice needed re: vegetarian sources of iron
Post by: Vegemite Girl on October 04, 2007, 01:37:08 PM
Yum, they sound great! I might give the patties a go for dinner tonight.

Thanks!
Title: Re: Advice needed re: vegetarian sources of iron
Post by: Lady Vavasour on October 04, 2007, 02:24:47 PM
Alison and Simon Holst's Very Easy Vegetarian is fantastic. I use recipes from this a lot.