8 Amazing Foods That Contain More Iron Than Meat

I have had a lot of vegetarians as friends and when we are together eating, I just watch in awe at the food combination on their plates! I may not be thinking of becoming one soon, but I am really impressed with their style of dieting. To be honest, they are not missing anything, health-wise. Aside not having to stuff their face with chicken laps or any other kind of meat like we non-vegetarians do, they can still get the recommended dietary allowance each day by just consuming what they know best. Whether you’re a lifelong vegetarian or you are moving to a non-meat diet, a common concern is making sure you still consume plenty of iron as recommended per day (which for adults is 8-15 mg). Yes, the meat is often at the top of the list of recommended sources of iron, but there are still plenty of non-meat options that contain the same amount of iron or even more than the meat. 

Here are a few iron-rich foods which can be easily and cheaply gotten:

1. Spinach: Dark leafy greens, especially spinach, provide a powerhouse of iron. Three cups of spinach contain about 18 mg of iron! Which is more than an 8-ounce steak! You can meet your daily recommended dietary allowances of iron with just one hearty spinach salad. Include this in your diet and worry less about meat.

2. Swiss Chard: Just one cup of Swiss chard has 4 mg of iron, more than a 6-ounce hamburger. Swiss chard also contains valuable nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, C, and K, and B folates. You’ll definitely love the taste.

3. Baked Potato: One large baked potato contains nearly three times the amount of iron as a 3-ounce serving of chicken.  You can even top it with Greek yogurt (a high-protein substitute for sour cream), steamed broccoli, and maybe a bit of melted cheese and you well on track for your daily dose.

4. Broccoli: Not only is broccoli jam-packed with iron and other key nutrients like vitamin K and magnesium, it’s also high in vitamin C, which helps encourage iron absorption in the body. You’ll be amazed at how it even goes well with some foods.

5. Bok Choy: Whether you steam or sauté this tasty Chinese cabbage, you’ll be getting a healthy dose of vitamin A, in addition to 1.8 mg of iron per cup. It’s just the thing you’ll love.

6. Legumes: Legumes are a group of plants that include beans, peas, peanuts, and any other dry fruit that is contained in a pod or shell that can also be consumed. Legumes tend to be very high in iron, with hyacinth beans containing 5 mg of iron per ½ cup serving and winged beans containing 4 mg of iron per ½ cup serving. Green beans, white beans, and lima beans all have at least 2 mg of iron per serving. You can take them alone or with other foods and you’ll be glad you did.

7. Sesame Seeds: 

Just one tablespoon of sesame seeds contains 1.3 mg of iron. And it's super simple to incorporate them into your diet, too. Sprinkle sesame seeds over a salad for added flavour and crunch or mix them into a dressing, sauce, or salsa before pouring over a dish. It may look small, but its got a lot.

8. Lentils: Just one cup of lentils has more iron than an 8-ounce steak. Lentils are also a solid source for dietary fibre, potassium, and protein. You can add lentils to your salad, or even soup. You can even prepare and freeze up the remaining and the taste/nutrient would be intact.

The good thing is that these foods are all easy to get in your local food store, supermarket or mall. Plus they are quite affordable. So if you are a vegetarian or just not comfortable with meat on some days, any of these foods can still work for you.


  1. They are really amazing!

  2. Hmmm.. Turns out being a vegetarian is not all that bad!


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