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Best gift for a new mom?

Food, of course!

Meet my new friend, Makai.

Soooooo cute, right!?

My very good friend just had Baby Makai, and I could not wait to see her and meet her new bundle of joy.  I wasn’t sure what to bring her.  Recalling the early days with a newborn, I realized what helped me the most was getting home cooked meals from friends and family.  So, I thought about packing a nutrient – rich meal to bring over.  While there are a number of nutrients to watch out for when breast-feeding, one in particular came to mind- iron.

Iron deficiency anemia is one of the most common deficiencies in the world, according to the World Health Organization.  This usually happens when people don’t eat enough iron, have problems absorbing iron, or lose an excessive amount of blood.

What is iron?

Iron is a mineral with multiple functions. One of its important roles is to carry oxygen in red blood cells  in the form of hemoglobin and in muscles as myoglobin. Iron is also needed for the body to make energy.

Signs of iron-deficiency anemia 

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Lightheadedneas
  •  Short attention span
  •  Decreased performance
  •  Suppressed immune function/increased illness
  • Delayed cognitive development in infants and young kids

Who is at risk? 

Several population groups tend to be more at risk than others. These include:

  • Young children and adolescents
  • Pregnant and  breast-feeding women
  • Women with excessive mentrual blood loss
  • Athletes

Food sources 

Iron is found in both animal and vegetable food sources. However, the body absorbs the iron found from animal sources much better. Some animal sources include organ meats, beef, pork, lamb, turkey, chicken and fish.

Vegetarian sources of iron include beans such as kidney beans, soy beans, pinto beans, and lentils. Other iron-rich sources  include dark green leafy vegetables, fortified breakfast cereals, fortified rice, whole grains, dried apricots, and raisins.

You can optimize the absorption of iron by pairing iron with a source of vitamin C. Examples of food rich in vitamin C includes oranges, tomatoes, Kiwis, strawberries, melons, and dark green leafy vegetables.

The Competitors

Certain nutrients will compete with iron for absorption.  Watch out for a tannins in tea and coffee.  Tannins can decrease absorption by 50 to 60 percent.

Calcium and fiber can also  interfere with iron absorption.  I would not advise taking any iron supplements with milk or other dairy products.

The final menu

I ended up deciding on this- Beef bulgogi, brown rice, roasted broccoli and a strawberry orange smoothie. Lots of iron and well-rounded nutrition!

Beef Bulgogi

Rich in iron, try this Korean staple the next time you prepare beef. 

Course Main Course
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4


  • 1 Pound Steak Thin slices
  • 5 Tb Low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tb Sugar
  • 2 Tb Minced garlic
  • 2 Tb Sesame oil
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped green onion


  1. Put soy sauce, sugar, garlic, sesame oil and green onion in a bowl. 

  2.  Marinated beef with your mixture and refrigerate for one hour. Drain mixture. 

  3. Lightly oil your pan and stir fry beef until cooked throughout. Garnish with green onion if desired. 


Strawberry Orange Smoothie

Made with great sources of vitamin C!

Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 minute
Total Time 6 minutes
Servings 4


  • 1 Each Frozen banana
  • 8 Each Frozen strawberries
  • 1 Cup Orange juice Extra pulp


  1. Put everything in a blender and blend. Voila! 

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